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The PuritansA Transatlantic History$
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David D. Hall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151397

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151397.001.0001

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A Movement Emerges

A Movement Emerges

(p.40) Chapter Two A Movement Emerges
The Puritans

David D. Hall

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how reformation unfolded in England. A tiny number of people acted on the imperative to quit the state church. Why did others who wanted reform or reformation not follow their example? As often happened in early modern Europe, outbursts of radicalism prompted a reaction in favor of more moderate or even conservative principles or goals. The first of these was the ambition to take over and refashion a state church with the help of the civil magistrate. In 1558, hopes ran high for Elizabeth to play this role. In the eyes of English and Scottish Presbyterians, magisterial Protestantism—that is, church and state working together to impose and protect a certain version of Protestantism—was justified by biblical precept and political theology. Moreover, this kind of Protestantism preserved a strong role for the clergy over against the “Brownistical” or “democratic” implications of Separatism. At a moment when the rhetorical strategy of anti-puritans such as Bancroft was to emphasize the “Anabaptisticall” aspects of the movement, a third goal was political, to deflect the force of that rhetoric by insisting on the benefits of a national church and some version of the royal supremacy.

Keywords:   reformation, England, state church, radicalism, civil magistrate, Elizabeth, Presbyterians, magisterial Protestantism, Protestantism, national church

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