The Search for Salvation is an innovative and interdisciplinary study of lay faith in Scotland in the later Middle Ages, examining both the religious ideas and practices of the people, and the ways in which these were shaped by images in literature, art, and church writings. Contrary to traditional views, which portray the late medieval Scottish church as weak and corrupt, the book argues for the vitality and flourishing of lay piety in the later fifteenth and first half of the sixteenth century. It thus sheds new light on the coming of the Protestant Reformation, as well as revealing the ruchness of the world of medieval Scottish religious imagery.
Each chapter examines one aspect of faith and the lay responses to it. The first part of the book discusses three central concepts in people’s understanding of death and salvation: the Day of Judgement, Heaven and Hell, and Purgatory. The second part looks at the way in which people perceived of and related to three central figures of Christianity: God, Mary and Jesus. In examining such a wide variety of beliefs, the book goes beyond the study of religion to provide an understanding of the nature and functioning of medieval society as a whole.
Editorial work to bring this book to publication has been carried out by Professor Elizabeth Ewan, University of Guelph.
excerpt from Birlinn Ltd. website. Publishers of John Donald imprints.
Elizabeth Ewan is University Research Chair and Professor of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph. She received her degrees from Queen's University, Kingston, and University of Edinburgh. She works in the areas of gender, crime, and urban history of medieval and early modern Scotland. Her publications include the edited volumes Women in Scotland c.1100-c.1750 (1999), The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women (2006), Finding the Family in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (2008), Search for Salvation: lay faith in Scotland, 1480-1560 (2009), and Shaping of Scottish Identities: family, nation, and the worlds beyond (2011).