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Catechizing at home, 1740-1870: Instruction, communication, denomination

Catechizing at home, 1740-1870: Instruction, communication, denomination

Martin, Mary Clare ORCID: 0000-0002-3568-6423 (2019) Catechizing at home, 1740-1870: Instruction, communication, denomination. Studies in Church History, 55. pp. 256-273. ISSN 0424-2084 (Print), 2059-0644 (Online) (doi:

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Catechizing played an important part in domestic religious education in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as in the better documented early modern period. However, its significance has been neglected in comparison with family prayers (often deemed to be an expression of patriarchy), Sunday observance or even private prayers. The article analyses the incidence of catechizing within religious denominations, from 1740 to 1870, and within selected overseas missionary families which had local connections. Drawing on a wide range of personal memoirs, the article analyses the range of contexts and relationships within which catechizing could occur. These included not only household worship (which could be conducted by women) but also relationships between siblings. It demonstrates that catechizing could provide opportunities for asking questions and spending ‘quality time’ with parents and / or children, rather than embodying an alienating form of rote-learning. The article therefore challenges many stereotypes relating to family domestic education, relating to themes such as patriarchy, denominational difference and adult-child interaction.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article was presented at the Ecclesiastical History Society annual conference, "The Churches and Education", at the University of Exeter, July 2017, the Education in the Long Eighteenth Century seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London, November 2017, and at the European Social Science Historical Conference in Belfast, April 2018.
Uncontrolled Keywords: catechizing, catechism, home, family, children
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology > BV1460 Religious Education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > History Research Group (HRG)
Last Modified: 11 May 2020 13:42

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