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The Search for Salvation
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John Donald
Publication Date
01 November 2009
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Search for Salvation

Lay Faith in Scotland 1480–1560
by Audrey-Beth Fitch - Find out more about the author

'Beautiful to look at, the text is highly accessible and the illustrations go far to unravel the mysteries of the medieval mind," - Scots Magazine

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.

Audrey-Beth Fitch graduated with a BA in History from the University of Toronto in 1986, a BEd from the University of Calgary in 1987 and a PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1997. She was Associate Professor of History at the California University of Pennsylvania, and Director of Studies there from 2003 until her death in 2005. The Audrey-Beth Fitch Women’s Studies Conference is named in her memory. Editorial work to bring this book to publication has been carried out by Professor Elizabeth Ewan, University of Guelph.