For nearly five centuries readers of history have been treated to a one sided view of the late midieval English Church, and that narrow, negative vision has been permitted to stand for the whole. Most of the misconceptions about the clerical controbution to the tutor dynasty's formative years stem from criticisms of clerical worldliness composed by More, Erasmus, Colet, and others. The Polytyque Churche is Kaufman's attempt to restore the reputation of the late medieval English church and its position in political culture.
At the core of the book, Kaufman analyzes these deceptive accusations against the church. He prefaces his discussion with an illuminating chronicle of the continuing deception-a history of the history of earliest Tutor political culture. Kaufman's fresh perspectives on the religious dimensions of public service and on the political character and consequences of ecclesiastical administration are fully crystallized in his presentation of scenes from clerical life that illustrate his central theme-the interpretation of religion and political culture. Kaufman maps that interpenetration by examining four points of contact: allegedly "secular" pageants, ecclesiastical measures against late medieval crime, the church's immunities, and parish life. From this analysis emerges a partial recovery of the "the polytyque churche" in a presentation that coaxes students, scholars, and other readers to reconsider the whole issue of the relationships between church and state, religion and politics.
Peter Iver Kaufman retired from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was professor in the departments of history and religious studies to accept an appointment as the Modlin Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.