The reformation of the episcopate: bishops in England 1630-1690

Harmes, Marcus (2009) The reformation of the episcopate: bishops in England 1630-1690. In: 7th Biennial International Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Alter Orbis (ANZAMEMS 2008), 2-6 Dec 2008, Hobart, Australia.

Abstract

This paper investigates the purpose and the power of the reformed episcopate in seventeenth-century England. It takes issue with one particular interpretation of episcopacy in the Stuart period, namely the notion that the Reformation of the Tudor period created a crisis for English bishops. Scholars who propound this view, including R.B. Manning and Andrew Foster, argue that reformist impulses and principles fatally undercut both the authority and the purpose of episcopacy. Historians who pinpoint a crisis in the English episcopacy also locate at least some attempt by bishops to defend their order by recourse to jure divino theories of episcopacy, meaning that bishops underpinned their order by asserting its divine origins. This paper cuts across both ideas. It instead argues that members of the Stuart episcopate pinpointed the distinctively reformed attributes of bishops and that the episcopate staked a claim to a distinctively reformed identity, one not indebted to 'jure divino' ideas and one which complicates modern scholarly perceptions of a reformist crisis in the episcopacy. These points do not necessarily argue away dissent from episcopal authority nor does this paper ignore compelling evidence of the difficulties English bishops faced in enforcing their authority. After all, even if bishops could delineate their reformed characteristics, it did not mean that they were necessarily listened to. The significance of this paper, by contrast, is that it reconstructs the intellectual offerings of the English episcopate and gives meaning to the idea of reformed episcopacy. Studying the little-examined writings of Sir Arthur Duck and John Gauden, this work examines their interpretation of episcopal authority which was distinctively reformed in its origins and functioning.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: ANZAMEMS: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Abstract only is available.
Depositing User: Dr Marcus Harmes
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - No Department
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 07:05
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: John Gauden; Arthur Duck; episcopacy; english reformation
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210305 British History
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/20040

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