The Stripping of the Altars Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 Second Edition Eamon Duffy

Publication date:
10 May 2005
Yale University Press
700 pages: 235 x 159mm
141 b-w illus.


This profoundly influential book re-examines events leading up to the Reformation in England and illuminates our understanding of the period. A prize-winning account, it recreates lay people's experience of the religion of the pre-Reformation church showing that late-medieval Catholicism was neither decadent nor decayed, but was a strong and vigorous tradition, and that the Reformation represented a violent rupture from a popular and theologically respectable religious system.

For this edition, Duffy has written a substantial new introduction, including a discussion of the Lollards and reflecting on recent developments in Reformation studies.

Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity, Cambridge University, and fellow and former president of Magdalene College. He is the author of many prizewinning books, among them Fires of Faith, Marking the Hours, and Saints and Sinners, all available from Yale University Press.

In 2002 Duffy won the Hawthornden Prize for literature for his book The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village. From 22 October to 2 November 2007, he presented the BBC Radio 4 series 10 Popes Who Shook the World which has since been published as a book by Yale University Press. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

"A mighty and momentous book... which reorders one's thinking about much of England's religious past." Jack Scarisbrick, The Tablet

"Duffy wants to show the vitality and appeal of late medieval Catholicism and to prove that it exerted a diverse and vigorous hold over the imagination and loyalty of the people up to the very moment of the Reformation. He succeeds triumphantly." Susan Bridgen, London Review of Books

"A magnificent scholarly achievement, a compelling read, and not a page too long." Patricia Morrison, Financial Times

"A landmark book in the history of the Reformation." Ann Eljenholm Nichols, Sixteenth Century Journal

"This book will afford enjoyment and enlightenment to layman and specialist alike. Duffy sweeps the reader along... by his lively and absorbing detail, his piercing insights, patient analysis, and his vigour in debates." Peter Heath, Times Literary Supplement

"Sensitively written and beautifully produced, this book represents a major contribution to the Reformation debate." Norman Tanner, The Times

"Deeply imaginative, movingly written, and splendidly illustrated." Maurice Keen, The New York Review of Books