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Hanging up kings: The Political Bible in Early Modern England

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Publication details

JournalJournal of History of Ideas
DatePublished - Oct 2011
Issue number4
Volume72
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)549-570
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

While “religion” as an ecclesiastical, institutional, and doctrinal phenomenon in seventeenth-century England has been subject to intensive scrutiny, the language of scriptural thinking remains a blind-spot to scholarship. One example of the inattention to the Bible as a working currency of political thought in the seventeenth century is the widespread notion of the English regicide as unprecedented and unthinkable in the early modern mind before it actually occurred, surprising most right-thinking opponents of the king. This essay will look first at the vast repertoire of regicidal instances in the Bible, which were so embedded in English historical memory, and second, will explore the ways in which these biblical instances were woven into constitutional arguments about the abolition of monarchy.

    Research areas

  • Politics, Early Modern, History of ideas, Bible, Civil war, Regicide

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