Oaths and the English Reformation by Jonathan Michael Gray

By Jonathan Michael Gray

The perform of swearing oaths was once on the centre of the English Reformation. at the one hand, oaths have been the medium by which the Henrician regime applied its ideology and secured loyalty one of the humans. at the different, they have been the software wherein the English humans embraced, resisted and manipulated royal coverage. Jonathan Michael grey argues that because the Reformation was once negotiated via oaths, their specified value and serve as are important to knowing it absolutely. Oaths and the English Reformation sheds new gentle at the motivation of Henry VIII, the enforcement of and resistance to reform and the level of renowned participation and negotiation within the political method. putting oaths on the middle of the narrative, this ebook argues that the English Reformation was resolute as a lot via its approach to implementation and reaction because it was once through the theology or political idea it transmitted.

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39, fol. 39r . Alexander Carpenter defined perjury as ‘veritatis abnegatio fraudulenta cum diuine attestationis acceptione’; Carpenter, Destructorium viciorum, sig. g3v . Downame defined perjury as ‘nothing else but false swearing. Or more fullie, It is a knowne or imagined vntruth, confirmed by oath, ioyned with deceit, which was either purposed and intended before the oath was made, or resolued on afterwards’; Downame, Foure treatises, 47. Bale, however, used the more general definition of perjury, saying it was simply ‘to abuse the name of God’; Bale, Christen exhortacion, sig.

The majority of solemn oaths in medieval and early modern England were sworn on the Gospels. 40 Oaths of 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Hill, Songs, Carols, and Other Miscellaneous Poems, 42. Wymond, however, denied the accusations made against him; NA sp1/113, fol. 90r (LP, xi 1424). Richard More admitted this, but repented of his heresy. 140r (LP, xxi (i) 836). BL Cotton MS Vespasian c vii, fol. 23r . Reynes, Commonplace Book of Robert Reynes, 143–4. LPL Warham’s Register, fol. 2v . This is Archbishop Warham’s oath of canonical obedience to the Pope, but virtually every oath by a bishop, prior, abbot, or simple parish priest ends in a similar – if not identical – form, as can be seen in any medieval episcopal register.

4 Such a base theory is possible because the differences between Catholics and Protestants were minor when it came to oaths. Both Catholics and Protestants, whether medieval or early modern, centred their theories of oath-taking around the idea that oaths were a vital gateway through which human society was able to experience God. An oath was a kind of ark whereby human beings gained access to God’s power and could harness 4 I am aware that it is historiographically unfashionable to write of English ‘Protestants’ during the reign of Henry VIII.

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