'The Churching of Women' as an Anglican service is officially called 'The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, Commonly Called the Churching of Women' (since the 1552 edition), but in 1549 the official title was 'The Purification of Women.' The content of the service did not change when the name change took place.
Purification, Thanksgiving & The Churching of Women in Post-Reformation England.
The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth Commonly called the Churching of Women. Section three: Perspectives for a Re-Consideration, reproduced by CTI Textual Studies, University of Oxford: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~mikef/church2.html consulted 31/05/2006.
The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth Commonly called the Churching of Women. Section One: Development & Historical background of the Rite.
The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth Commonly called the Churching of Women. Section Two: The Rite Itself, reproduced by CTI Textual Studies, University of Oxford, April 1995: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~mikef/church2.html consulted 31/05/2006.
The service for the churching of women, a practice carried over from the medieval church, was derived from the Old Testament laws of purification for women after childbirth, as specified in Leviticus 12.
Churching of women after childbirthe, smelleth of Jewishe purification: theyr other rytes and customes in their lying in, & coming to church, is foolishe and superstitious, as it is used.
(7) Jeremy Boulton, Neighborhood and Society (Cambridge, 1987), 278; and William Coster, 'Purity, Profanity, and Puritanism: The Churching of Women, 1500-1700', Women in the Church, W.J.
(27) 'Backsliding at Ephesus: Shakespeare's Diana and the Churching of Women', Pericles: Critical Essays, David Skeele (ed) (New York and London, 2000), 215.
The benefits and drawbacks of these essays can be most fruitfully highlighted by looking in tandem at their respective discussions of Donne's sermons on the Anglican rite of the Churching of Women. As befits their principal intellectual framework, both provide quite ample historical introductions to the development and function of this rite in Reformation England.
Rather it is that each leaves out that article written from a disciplinary side of the subject that is seemingly not relevant to the author's specific intellectual framework (in the case of Hodgson's more anthropological persuasion, the article by William Coster, "Purity, Profanity, and Puritanism: The Churching of Women, 1500-1700," in Women in the Church ; in the case of Johnson's more theological persuasion, the essay by Cressy).
This is not the place to learn about the contested meaning and conduct of baptism, controversies about the churching of women
, ambiguities in the making of marriage, or post-Reformation arguments about the bodies and souls of the dead.