Reviews - What do customers think about Local Religion in Sixteenth-Century Spain?
Strong use of a good source Apr 13, 2003
William Christian takes the long-overlooked results of a survey of local religous practice by Philip II, and draws an interesting picture of 16th c. popular religion in Castile.
The study of 'popular religion' is fairly new, and not usually well-done. Christian shies away from Natalie Davis-style revisionism, though, and sticks to the sources. It's fascinating work on a couple of levels. First of all, popular piety in Renaissance Spain was as diverse, earthy, and practical as one might expect, given the difficult conditions of folks living in recently-conquered Castile. Second of all, the tension between popular religion and the filtering down of Tridentine reforms is illustrated quite well by Christian later in the book.
This is a fairly well-focused monograph, but the general reader as well as the specialist will find it a good companion to his other treatment of Spanish popular religion, 'Apparitions'.