Defining the Jacobean Church : the politics of religious by Charles W. A. Prior

By Charles W. A. Prior

This booklet proposes a brand new version for knowing non secular debates within the church buildings of britain and Scotland among 1603 and 1625. It argues that rival interpretations of scripture, pagan, and civil background and the resources relevant to the Christian culture lay on the middle of disputes among contrasting ecclesiological visions.

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The work begins by examining the intellectual foundations of Jacobean conformity, and concentrates on four related issues: that the stability of Church and commonwealth was predicated upon religious uniformity; that this uniformity was justified owing to the organic conjunction of those bodies; that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Crown was ancient; and finally that the Church itself was both ancient and reformed – which made it unique among Protestant churches. The next chapter examines the printed literature that emerged in the early years of James’ reign, and explores a number of tensions that emerged in the wake of the Canons of 1604.

One does not find that writers made programmatic statements about why they chose the sources they did; most often, one presumes, the choice was governed by the needs of a given argument. At other times, claims for the accuracy or reliability of historical sources were expressed in negative terms, by way of calling into question their use by an opponent. Instead, I wish simply to show that when matters of doctrine and ecclesiology were in dispute – as they were without interruption in the period the book treats – writers of all stripes appealed to the authority of history in pressing their claims.

Faulkner, Richard Hooker and the politics of a Christian England (Berkeley, 1981); and Nigel Atkinson, Richard Hooker and the authority of scripture, tradition, and reason: reformed theologian of the Church of England? (Carlisle, 1997). 24 Defining the Jacobean Church However, since the Church of England intersected so clearly with the institutions of magisterial authority, it was likely that a dispute over the nature of this intersection would blend political, religious, and historical precept.

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