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Order And Will In Tudor Thought

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Chapter Summary

The worldview of the Tudor Protestants was, for the most part, ambiguous. This chapter surveys the transition from strong views on fixed cosmic and social order to an ambivalent accommodation of traditional fixity with a strong emphasis on God's will as the determining principle behind all order. It is in the writings of the Protestant divines that we witness a shift in paradigms from cosmic necessity to world as will. The medieval concept of order and hierarchy was largely impersonal and apprehended by reason and observation. Edwardian England retained the concept of social rank and station. Within the early part of this book is a justification for social stratification on the grounds of a rational order in nature. The preference for divine will over impersonal order was characteristic of practically the whole Protestant tradition and Puritans and Separatists generally ignored the medieval metaphysic altogether for a method of biblical proofs.

Keywords: Edwardian England; Protestant tradition; Puritanism; separatism; Tudor England

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