Once in London's Shoreditch neighborhood, Shakespeare would have passed churches whose reformist patrons sponsored preachers and weekly sermons, some deriding Shakespeare's profession, others aiming invective at conformist prelates.
Kaufmans meticulous archival research into church records, sermons, and early printed devotional works (Catholic, conformist, and reformed) provides a lively--and useful--picture of the religious "circumstance" in which Shakespeare and his dramatic contemporaries worked.
In his final chapter, Prior discusses the conflicts that arose between the Church of England and the Scottish Kirk; these conflicts further illustrate the great divide between conformists and reformists.
Conformist authors answered that those practices were aids to "edification," and that they developed over time out of particular social contexts and local practices--and so had validity.
Such labels, then, are less precise confessional categories than ideological tendencies, so that while there certainly were divines wh ose theological itineraries suggest a stable middle road embracing both Puritan and ceremonialist inclinations, such "Anglo-Catholics" or Puritan moderates or Calvinist conformists were not immune to the controversies that occupied their more openly polemical contemporaries.
Though episcopacy by divine right was initially advanced by the more rigidly Calvinist conformists as a way of asserting their autonomy against the crown's own jure divino claims, Puritan reservation increased proportional to the doctrine's association with the sacerdotal policies and practices of the more avant-garde divines (Milton, 454-56).
Indeed, Doerksen's study itself characterizes the conformist mainstream of the early Stuart church as predominantly and therefore institutionally Calvinist.
Prior to this time, conformist and non-conformist alike shared a doctrinally Calvinist heritage, so that the majority of conformist divines, whether inclining to a sacrament-centred ministry or one which emphasized preaching and a private lay piety, may be called "Calvinist episcopalians" (1995, 68).
It may surprise to hear both Herbert and Donne referred to as "Old Conformist
, harking back to the church views of Elizabethan (and .
Only after the 1623 trip to Madrid did Charles begin "his rejection of an entrenched household tradition of conformist Calvinism" (209).
While Maltby insists that "claims" of "superiority" of prayer book spirituality are "outside the historian's remit" (19), they are not beyond the pastor's, and her book, historically meticulous, is also a quietly impassioned defence of conformist religion from the attacks of papists and puritans, along with their la tter-day students and apologists.
Certainly, Ferrell's interrogation of the nuances of conformist anti-puritan polemic reveals energies that might usefully be reconsidered as more exclusionary, less compromising and tolerant than current revisionist orthodoxy allows.
The same can be said of the enlightening discussion of "Blanco Alfani," where Martines perceives "the lineaments of a conformist
society" in the story, and observes that nonconformists "submitted themselves to the dangers of being ritually cut away from the civic community" (137).