"The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland" by Margo Todd

The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland Margo Todd

Publication date:
26 Mar 2013
Yale University Press
480 pages: 235 x 156mm
32 b-w illus.


The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century brought a radical shift from a profoundly sensual and ceremonial experience of religion to the dominance of the word through the Book and sermon. In Scotland, the revolution assumed proportions unequaled by any other national Calvinist Reformation. This book explores how such a dramatic shift was accomplished and what effect it had on the masses of people in the pew or in the alehouse.

Margo Todd draws on source material from the operations of “kirk sessions,” the most local of the Calvinist church courts, which give details of varied aspects of daily life: baptism, marriage, and burial, poor relief and education, fasts and feasts, sexual offense, and doctrinal error. She shows how the kirk sessions balanced the exercise of discipline with social service to produce a distinctively Scottish Reformed culture in which traditional ritual and drama, propitiatory devices, and even imagery were not discarded but reconstructed in Protestant guise.

Margo Todd is associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University.

Winner of the 2004 History Book Award given by the Saltire Society in recognition of an outstanding book on the topic of Scottish history