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The Elizabethan Puritan Movement$
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Patrick Collinson

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198222989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198222989.001.0001

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Discipline and the Eldership

Discipline and the Eldership

(p.346) 2 Discipline and the Eldership
The Elizabethan Puritan Movement

Patrick Collinson

Oxford University Press

Where there was common fame of scandalous conduct in a member of the congregation, the puritan minister who was worth his salt would attempt on his own authority to apply what he conceived to be the evangelical remedy. John Johnson of Northampton was to describe in the Star Chamber how his fellow-townsman Edmund Snape had dealt with a parishioner suspected of incontinence. The performance of public penance for sexual misdemeanours was a familiar part of Elizabethan parish life: the offender, arrayed in a white sheet, stood before the congregation and made his or her public confession at an appropriate point in the service, often spoiling the solemnity of the proceedings by some revelation of a far from penitent spirit. But only the bishop or the archdeacon had the legal power to apply this kind of discipline.

Keywords:   scandalous conduct, congregation, puritan minister, evangelical remedy, John Johnson, Star Chamber, Edmund Snape, sexual misdemeanours, parish life, confession, penitent spirit

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