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Title: England and the general councils, 1409 - 1563
Author: Russell, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0003 6671 966X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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My doctoral thesis examines the intellectual and political relationship between England and the general councils of the Church from the Council of Pisa until the Council of Trent. It illuminates the hitherto unexplored features of the revolution that was the end of universal papal authority. With the transfer of spiritual authority to Henry VIII, the heads of England’s Protestant regimes inherited the papacy’s distrust of the general council, which had the potential to interfere with the course of the reformation in England. At the same time, the thesis examines the changing nature of public commitment to universal decision-making in the Church in the face of resistance by hierarchs (papal or royal). It finds a widespread support for the general council over the period, but also a plurality of views about how conciliar government could be reconciled with monarchical rule in the Church. In the fifteenth century, conciliarism had to contend with the suspicions of those who wished to shore up the Church hierarchy against Wycliffite attacks. In the sixteenth century, there was still competition between the establishment’s defence of an hierarchical Church, directed by the monarchy, and theories which stressed the importance of conciliar government. These arguments took different shapes when used by popular rebels in favour of traditional religion grounded on conciliar consent, or by Protestants in favour of synodal government by the godly. But they were both outcomes of enduring instabilities in the ideology of Church government, which had their roots in the fifteenth century.
Supervisor: Heal, Felicity ; Forrest, Ian Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of Britain and Europe ; Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Intellectual History ; history of political thought ; ecclesiology ; ecclesiastical assemblies