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Henrician Rhetoric and Godly Josiah: Obedience and Edward VI (1547–1553)

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Chapter Summary

Recent historiography has emphasised the role of the Royal Supremacy in Edward VI's reign. After 1547, evangelicals wrote extensively on obedience and non-resistance. This renewed rhetoric of obedience can be attributed to the sudden turn of events that occurred in Henry's final months, as an evangelical establishment took control of the council and imposed its will on England. This chapter examines the obedience rhetoric under Edward in the light of these recent claims. It argues that resistance theory hunters have confused the doctrine of 'limited obedience' with actual resistance theory, and thereby assumed that disobedience or criticism of government served as a first step towards rebellion. In fact, these themes were part of the vocabulary used by Edwardine establishment, making obedience theory a vital part of the council's attempt to move England in a Protestant direction.

Keywords: Edward VI's reign; Edwardine; England; Godly Josiah; Henrician church; Henry VIII; Royal Supremacy



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