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Elizabethan theological polemics

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Chapter Summary

Queen Elizabeth I was widely hailed on her accession in 1558 as the Protestant Saviour of England, after several years of Roman Catholic rule under Queen Mary I and Philip of Spain. But the shape and direction of the English Church was a matter of intense discussion for several decades. Polemical theology was the order of the day, even though arguably what the English Church most needed was systematic, constructive theological writing that could serve as the framework for the Church?s teaching, preaching, and conduct of public services. The Elizabethan Settlement of religion helped to define the limits of religious change in the Queen?s reign with the result that the Royal Supremacy, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles became the bedrocks of the established Church. Theologically, the age of Elizabeth had been stormier and more vitriolic than any previous period in English history.

Keywords: English Church; polemical theology; Protestant Saviour; Queen Elizabeth I; Roman Catholic rule; Royal Supremacy



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