Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Book review

Originally uploaded by ChrisLaning.

My most recent rosary research foray has been into _Beads of Faith_, by Gray Henry and Susannah Marriott. This was recommended to me by a correspondent who researches the history of Islamic religion, although prayer beads (the *tasbih*) are not his specialty.

When I mention that Gray Henry was a student of Joseph Campbell, that Susannah's most recent book is _The Good Karma Guide_, and that the book has no bibliography and only the most rudimentary photo credits, you'll know what I think of its reliability.

It appears to be the book-ization of a video, and admittedly the photography is gorgeous. :)

However, based on what I _do_ know from better sources, they seem to me to be stretching to make a lot of connections that may not actually be there.



Blogger Laren said...


Just checking but are you involved in the SCA?

Either way, welcome to the blogosphere and I will read your blog with interest.

One question you might be able to address in a future post? Did the use of Paternosters continue after the Reformation in England? I'm asking because my persona in the SCA is Elizabethan and I'm interested in making a Paternoster for my persona.

Laren (Jane Stockton - Kingdom of Lochac)

9:13 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Did paternosters remain popular in England after the Reformation?

As far as I know, only if you were Catholic. Or maybe sort-of, half-heartedly Protestant but went to the local parish church anyway. Which actually wasn't that uncommon, especially in the north of England or the southwestern peninsulas (Devon, Cornwall, etc.)

There were quite a few families in the gentry and nobility who remained stoutly Catholic all through Elizabeth's reign. And we do have evidence that Catholics continued to use rosaries and paternosters -- Mary Queen of Scots wore a solid gold rosary to her execution.

My SCA persona, Christian de Holacombe, is a canoness in the city of Exeter in the late 1200s, so of course she is Catholic. It's a bit early for a rosary as such, but she does have an use a paternoster. My Renaissance Faire persona, Christian Ashley, has a father who is a quiet country gentleman who just happens to be sufficiently lame that he has a hard time getting to the parish church very often (grin). However, Christian works for a stoutly Anglican mistress, so what she _really_ thinks is anyone's guess.

If you decide your character is Catholic or "crypto-Catholic," 16th century rosaries have a few differences from modern ones, and you've prompted me to write a FAQ file on the subject since a lot of Faire people ask me about this.

We do also have evidence in the 16th century for the men's short 'tenner" type of paternoster (ten large beads plus a cross, and often other decorative elements), which remained popular in Catholic circles. There is a surviving one that belonged to Henry VIII, actually, and I'm hoping a good photo of it turns up in a book I have on order. Stay tuned!

7:06 PM  

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