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Creating A Protestant Constantine: Martin Bucer's De Regno Christi And The Foundations Of English Imperial Political Theology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that a careful analysis of Martin Bucer's, dejected leader of the Reformation in Strasbourg, text reveals that the German reformer, drawing upon the full range of his mature classical, patristic, and biblical learning, developed a political theology for the English monarchy that imitated all others the political theology of the Byzantine church of Constantine and Justinian. In seeking out a historical precedent that allowed for a dominant monarchical role vis-à-vis the Church and state supremacy over the Church, Bucer pointed to the example of Constantine as the role model for the young king Edward VI. As potentially useful and influential as De Regno Christi was as guide for the young King Edward, Bucer's death in 1551 and the king's death shortly thereafter in 1553 meant that the early impact of the text was limited at best.

Keywords: Byzantine church; Constantine; De Regno Christi; English monarchy; Martin Bucer; political theology; Strasbourg



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