Oaths and the English Reformation

Oaths and the English Reformation

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The practice of swearing oaths was at the centre of the English Reformation. On the one hand, oaths were the medium through which the Henrician regime implemented its ideology and secured loyalty among the people. On the other, they were the tool by which the English people embraced, resisted and manipulated royal policy. Jonathan Michael Gray argues that since the Reformation was negotiated through oaths, their precise significance and function are central to understanding it fully. Oaths and the English Reformation sheds new light on the motivation of Henry VIII, the enforcement of and resistance to reform and the extent of popular participation and negotiation in the political process. Placing oaths at the heart of the narrative, this book argues that the English Reformation was determined as much by its method of implementation and response as it was by the theology or political theory it transmitted.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 113978644X
  • 9781139786447

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Notes on the text; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. The theoretical basis of swearing oaths; 2. Oaths, subscriptions, and the implementation of the Parliamentary reforms of 1534; 3. The origin and motivation of the Henrician professions; 4. Responses to the oaths of succession and supremacy; 5. Oaths and the pilgrimage of grace; 6. Oaths, evangelicals, and heresy prosecution; Conclusion; Appendix A. The oaths of a bishop-elect to the Pope; Appendix B. The oaths of a bishop-elect to the King in restitution for their temporalities; Appendix C. The promise of the bishops to renounce the Pope and his bulls; Appendix D. The oaths of succession; Appendix E. Instructions for the visitation of the friars, their profession, and the profession of other clerical institutions in 1534; Appendix F. The professions of bishops and universities in 1535; Appendix G. Post-1535 Henrician oaths of supremacy; Bibliography; Index.show more

Review quote

'... adds much detail, texture, and thoughtful analysis, and all students of the topic should welcome it.' Peter Marshall, Sixteenth Century Journal 'This extremely well-researched and methodologically sophisticated monograph reminds us how central the use of oaths was in a society that had relatively few means of coercion available to it ... an extremely successful transition from dissertation to monograph - a far-from-easy thing to accomplish nowadays, especially in the context of the ridiculous time pressure to publish that bedevils the university system. The reconstruction of the verbal mechanisms of Henrician coercion, which remind one, in fact, of the passive-aggressive but still really malicious workings of some of the both worst- and overregulated university departments, is a major addition to the literature on the 1530s.' Michael Corrie Questier, Renaissance Quarterly 'The central thesis of this carefully written and precisely annotated book is that the primary accomplishment of the English Reformation is to be found in the texts of the many and varied oaths that were forced upon English citizens by the Crown at that time as well as in the measure of the resistance with which they were met. To know what the Reformation in that country was about at that period we need not turn primarily to an assessment of the cult of images at various shrines or to popular treatises or to the composition of new prayers or devotional manuals.' J. Robert Wright, Anglican and Episcopal Historyshow more

About Jonathan Michael Gray

Jonathan Michael Gray is Assistant Professor of Church History at Virginia Theological Seminary.show more

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