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Chapter 5 - The End of Episcopalian Reformation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2021

Anthony Milton
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

Chapter 5 analyses the different forces working against the ‘abortive reformation’ discussed in Chapter 4. It begins with the Scottish commissioners, seeing their significance less in propelling a Presbyterian agenda than in their more circumspect undermining of the calls for reduced episcopacy. The chapter then discusses the various parliamentary forces working against episcopacy, along with the role played by more radicalizing religious discourses beyond Parliament’s immediate control. To explain why more marginal ideas were able to gain traction in public discourse about religious change, attention turns to the prestige of anti-Laudian martyrs and the disproportionate public importance of prominent Congregationalists, the format and distribution of the tracts themselves, but also the ways in which the language of religious change was also developing in this period, which opened up areas of ambiguity in which radical solutions could flourish. Here discussion centres on the languages of reformation, anti-Laudianism, apocalypse, eschatology and covenant, with detailed attention to the role played by the 1641 Protestation in particular in polarizing religious opinion. Importance is also attached to the conservative backlash that this radicalization provoked, which undermined conformist support for further reform and empowered more conservative and even Laudian figures.

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Chapter
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England's Second Reformation
The Battle for the Church of England 1625–1662
, pp. 144 - 180
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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