By Jonathan Michael Gray

The perform of swearing oaths used to be on the centre of the English Reformation. at the one hand, oaths have been the medium wherein the Henrician regime applied its ideology and secured loyalty one of the humans. at the different, they have been the instrument in which the English humans embraced, resisted and manipulated royal coverage. Jonathan Michael grey argues that because the Reformation used to be negotiated via oaths, their exact value and serve as are crucial to realizing it absolutely. Oaths and the English Reformation sheds new gentle at the motivation of Henry VIII, the enforcement of and resistance to reform and the level of renowned participation and negotiation within the political technique. putting oaths on the middle of the narrative, this publication argues that the English Reformation was resolute as a lot by means of its approach to implementation and reaction because it used to be by way of the theology or political thought it transmitted.

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Thomas Becon, for example, wrote: ‘O wyckednesse, more than can be expressed. O shameful synne worthy [of] all kynd of punyshment. 94 Clearly, lying under oath was not to be taken lightly. 95 This idea sprang from the Augustinian theory of lying. 96 Although all lying was wrong, the actual false nature of the statement mattered less than the intention of the mind. 99 The Book of Vices and Virtues condemned swearing ‘bi art, or bi sophymme [sophistry]’, while an anonymous fifteenth-century 90 92 94 95 96 97 98 99 91 CIC, c.

Bray (ed. ), Tudor Church Reform, 550–1. Bale, Christen exhortacion, sig. a8v ; Hooper, Early Writings, 477. 106 Thus, for both Catholics and Protestants, to swear in truth meant to swear truly without equivocation, dissimulation, or guile. The second condition of a lawful oath was that the oath must be sworn in judgement. Oaths could be sworn outside judgement in multiple ways, but the most common way was to swear an oath in a trivial situation when it was not necessary. Clerical writers referred to these oaths as vain oaths and further described them as customable, idle, frivolous, light, trifling, rash, of sport, for nought, or without necessity.

Surrounding this piet`a scene are seven fashionably dressed men (gentlemen are often cited in medieval writings as blasphemous swearers) and their demons with little caption boxes above the men’s heads. Although most of the text has faded, the bit that is still legible reads ‘ones’, and it is likely that the full box contained the phrase ‘by God’s bones’. 57 Finally, the most common and forceful examples of the belief that blasphemous oaths actually dismembered Christ are contained 54 55 56 57 Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS 750, fol.

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