By Prof Evelyn B. Tribble;Dr Nicholas Keene
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Additional resources for Cognitive Ecologies and the History of Remembering: Religion, Education and Memory in Early Modern England
Yet in the final instance the picture is not so clear-cut, and both gesture and voice become a crucial means of exciting ‘fervency,’ and managing attention: ‘Moreover, as the gesture of the body[,] so much more the voyce of the tongue doth serve both to stirre up the affections of the heart and also to contein the cogitations from wandring about other matters’ (118). In other words, God may not need to see gestures or hear words, but for an act to count as prayer the outward articulation of both body and voice provides a nearly indispensable means of managing the complex online demands of prayer.
Reformers painted a vivid picture of practices of worship that involved only a superficial engagement, generally characterized by mindless physical action: mumbling, kneeling, gazing, telling beads, rote memorization, repetition without understanding, and the like. As will be explored more fully in the following chapter, in this account, physical objects, ritual practices, and customary habits block true engagement and lead to an externalized, mindless practice that is at base material rather than spiritual.
And therfore another hath so little feeling of the common prayer, that he bringeth a booke of his owne, and though he sitte when they sitte, stand when they stand, kneele when they kneele, he may pause sometime also, but moste of all he intendeth his owne booke, is this praying? (Frere and Douglas 1572/1907: 115) This portrayal is strikingly similar to Cranmer’s own description of the diffused nature of Catholic worship discussed above. A purportedly public and communal form of worship is instead comprised of nearrandom movements and gestures.