Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the deeply fraught issue of authority, and particularly the difficult relations between its secular and religious forms. From the New Testament to Augustine, through the Middle Ages, and well into the Reformation and early modern era, political and transcendent structures of authority are both problematic in themselves and contentiously at odds with each other. The Reformation was a watershed event in these struggles, as it helped to cement the worldly ascendancy of sociopolitical authority over that of the Church—but it also initiated an even deeper and more consequential tension of authority by relocating spiritual (and to a lesser degree political) authority from the institutional Church to the individual believer, thus setting up the basic terms for the subsequent development of modern liberal democracy.

Keywords: authority, religion, state, Shakespeare, Tyndale, Hooker, Donne, Milton, Hobbes

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.