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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Reformation had a profound impact on European thinking about political obedience. This chapter explores the way in which the Reformation “mood” embraced theories of absolute authority, but also led to a questioning of authority. It explores the development of resistance theory and ideas of popular sovereignty, and of toleration, all of which cast significant limits on the authority of secular rulers. Reformation impulses also inspired some to genuinely revolutionary attempts to transform the social and political order, and these revolutionary ideas are explored too. The approach taken is to avoid narrative, and to explore particular moments at which the implication of Reformation ideas becomes apparent.

Keywords: political thought, state (theory of), resistance theory, absolutism, revolution, toleration

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