‘Judaising’ in the Period of the English Reformation ?The Case of Richard Bruern

Mr. Christopher Hill has recently noted a tendency among some sections of Puritan opinion to declare for the full Jewish Sabbath, and a parallel tendency in their opponents to impute to them Judaising motives. He com? ments :

‘Many Puritans regarded themselves as the chosen people, and their reliance upon Old Testament texts is notorious. “Judaising” meant, among other things, looking back to the customs and traditions of a tribal society, still relatively egalitarian and democratic; its standards and myths could be used for destruc? tive criticism of the institutions that had been built up in medieval society.51

Throughout his book, Mr. Hill notes many instances of connections between Puritanism and its earlier forebears in England,2 and this particular instance of ‘Judaising’ can also be traced in earlier periods, where it shows even more clearly the uncertainties and eccentricities of a faith based on the individual’s interpreta? tion of Scripture.

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