Dr Gašper Jakovac: Charity and Catholic Identity in The History of Purgatory
The History of Purgatory is a unique example of Catholic vernacular drama from the early seventeenth-century Britain. It survives in a manuscript copy now kept by the British Library among the writings of Robert Owen, a recusant of Shrewsbury, who is also the likely author of the play. An allegorical drama about soul’s journey after death, The History of Purgatory might have been staged privately in a Catholic household as part of Christmas entertainment. After briefly considering the play’s authorship and its source material, I will discuss how the text develops themes of charity and hospitality, which play fundamental role in the author’s construction of Catholic identity, both socially and theologically. The significance of charity for Catholic self-understanding in post-Reformation England helps us fully comprehend why celebrating Christmas in purgatory was not such an outlandish idea after all.
Please click HERE to go to the online talk.