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Revisiting the Scottish Reformation Webinar

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Michael Lynch presents 'Revisiting the Scottish Reformation: a Search for Answers or for the Right Questions?', an online seminar

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The Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies is delighted to present 'Revisiting the Scottish Reformation: a Search for Answers or for the Right Question?', a seminar by Professor Michael Lynch, as part of the Durkan lecture series. We are pleased to invite all interested parties to attend.

Attendees will be given the Zoom meeting link to the event immediately after registering.

Abstract

One of John Durkan’s memorable one liners was: ‘History is not about the right answers; it is about asking the right questions.’ With this in mind, what fresh questions might be asked of the real nature of the religious revolution of the sixteenth century? The standard proposition is that history can help us learn from the successes, failures and mistakes of the past. What if the question was turned on its head? Is there any movement, any process which has happened in recent times which may shed light on a revolution in ideas, an apparent sharp break with the past, an unexpected turn of events and a very different future? What if the process was unexpected, fractious and divisive? What if different brands of revolution were paraded, from a soft solution to a clean break? Were there different varieties of revolutionaries, ranging from the luke-warm to outright fundamentalists? Were the revolutionaries clearer on what they wanted or what they did not want? Was there a clear reform programme or only populist slogans, such as freeing the country from the ‘thralldom of strangers’? But what did bringing back control really mean?

Speaker Profile

Michael Lynch is Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and a leading historian of the Scottish Reformation and Renaissance, and early modern Scottish urbanisation. He moved to Edinburgh from University College, Bangor, in 1979, and was promoted to the Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography in 1993, retiring in 2005. His published books include Edinburgh and the Reformation (1981) and Scotland: A New History (1991). Edited works include The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (2001). In 1994, along with Alasdair MacDonald and Ian Cowan, he edited John Durkan’s festschrift under the title The Renaissance in Scotland: studies in literature, religion, history and culture offered to John Durkan.

Professor Lynch served as chair of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland (1996-2002), president of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1996-9) and trustee of the National Museums of Scotland (2002-8).

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