The restoration of the episcopate and the English Reformation

Harmes, Marcus (2012) The restoration of the episcopate and the English Reformation. International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, 12 (1). pp. 27-43. ISSN 1474-225X


While puritan displeasure at bishops as being a so-called 'Popish Dreg' is much discussed in modern scholarly writing, attempts by defenders of the office to align this authority with reformed doctrines is an under-examined aspect of English ecclesiastical history. Analysing the period when the suppression of episcopacy under the Commonwealth was coming to an end, this article questions one particular scholarly reading of English episcopal authority, in that the doctrinal and ecclesiastical positions of the Laudian Church shaped the reconstruction of the episcopal hierarchy up to and beyond 1660, especially the theories of jure divino episcopacy. Detailed analysis of John Gauden's The Loosing of St Peters Bands will demonstrate how the restored episcopate could appeal to its immediate context in order to justify its authority as reformed. Gauden looked to reformed churches in Europe and Scotland to illuminate the reformed features of English episcopacy. Paradoxically, the reformed confessions which had no bishops provided his evidence for how reformers revered episcopacy. His ideas were a reaction to many decades of anti-episcopal Protestant polemic in England. In this context, appeals to reformed authorities were the most compelling way to defend English episcopacy.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - No Department
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2012 04:49
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2015 22:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: episcopacy; jure divino church government; Ussherian reduction; Puritanism; dissent; English Reformation
Fields of Research : 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: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/1474225X.2012.628815

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