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Chapter 1 - An Unresolved Reformation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2021

Anthony Milton
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

Challenging the assumption that the Elizabethan religious settlement was clear in its content and meaning to contemporaries, Chapter 1 explores the many areas of confusion and ambiguity surrounding the settlement’s formularies. It emphasizes the contested authority of a range of official and semi-official formularies and commentaries, and of past doctrinal and liturgical forms, which potentially pointed in very different theological and ecclesiastical directions. A number of unresolved issues are highlighted relating to church government, liturgy and ceremonies, doctrine, ministerial maintenance, and ecclesiastical law. As a result, the Church of England’s position was inevitably subject to continual negotiation and debate, and to countless proposals for further reform and clarification. It is argued that, as a result, a very broad range of English religious thinkers and activists – from militant high-churchmen to staunchly Calvinist and incipiently Presbyterian puritans – could in the ensuing years seize on some of these threads and claim with some legitimacy to be accomplishing the final clarification and consummation – and indeed the apotheosis – of the earlier Reformations. The Laudian movement would thus constitute just one contested reading of this haphazard corpus of ambiguous ecclesiastical and doctrinal formulations.

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Chapter
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England's Second Reformation
The Battle for the Church of England 1625–1662
, pp. 12 - 33
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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