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Sir Thomas More and Religious Liberty

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  1. Sir Thomas Moreand Religious Liberty Gary B. Doxey International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU June 13, 2012

  2. Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535

  3. The Medieval World

  4. The Renaissance—a Rebirth of Learning Inspired by Greece and Rome

  5. The Medieval Skyline

  6. Medieval Reformers Waldo of Lyon (1140-1218) Jan Hus (1369-1415) John Wycliffe (1328-1384)

  7. Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536

  8. The Praise of Folly, 1511

  9. Martin Luther, 1483-1546 “Erasmus laid an egg, and Luther hatched it.” --Popular saying of the day

  10. The Division of Christendom

  11. 1530-1648—A Century of War

  12. Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536

  13. Rise of Nation State • Emergence of strong rulers in 15th and 16th centuries • “National churches” • Economic prosperity and new royal revenues • Standing armies not dependent on feudal nobility • Bureaucratic government institutions

  14. Henry VIII, 1509-1547

  15. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, 1473-1530

  16. More’s Life and Career • Born in London, 1478 • Studied classics at Oxford, 1492-1494 (age 15) • Clerk at New Inn and later Lincoln’s Inn • Called to bar, 1502 (age 24) • Elected to Parliament, 1504 • Joined Privy Council, 1514

  17. Utopia, 1516

  18. Thomas More, the Religious Man

  19. William Tyndale, 1492-1536

  20. “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”

  21. John Foxe, 1517-1587

  22. Foxe’s Acts and Monuments akaFoxe’s Book of Martyrs, 1563

  23. The Context--Summary • Renaissance—the new learning of humanism • Reformation—conflict and schism, a danger to the powers who ruled the status quo • Rise of modern nation state—stronger, more centralized government

  24. Context Continued • More was at the center of all these developments as a high governmental officer and confidant of the king; one of his special assignments was to bend his considerable intellectual and legal authority to put down Protestant subversives and insurgents who threatened the king’s stability

  25. An Additional ElementDynastic Problems

  26. Wars of the Roses, 1455-1485

  27. Anne Boleyn

  28. Clement VII, 1523-1534

  29. Thomas Cromwell, 1485-1540

  30. Thomas Cranmer, 1489-1556

  31. Key Events in his Later Life • 1527—Henry first expresses doubts about his marriage • 1529—Wolsey falls from grace and Henry appoints More as Lord Chancellor • 1531– Convocation of Canterbury grants Henry title of Supreme Head of the English Church “as far as the law of Christ allows.” • 1532—More resigns as Lord Chancellor

  32. Key Events in his Later Life • 1533—More refuses to attend coronation of Anne Bolyn • 1534—More refuses to affirm the oath of succession. He is placed in custody. • 1535—More is tried and executed for treason

  33. Tower Hill, July 6, 1535

  34. William Roper

  35. “He spoke little before his execution. Only he asked the bystanders to pray for him in this world, and he would pray for them elsewhere. He then begged them earnestly to pray for the King, that it might please God to give him good counsel, protesting that he died the King’s good servant but God’s first.” -- Paris Newsletter, July 1535

  36. “Had we been master of such a servant, we would rather have lost the best city of our dominions than such a worthy counselor.” --Charles V, HRE “…more pure than any snow…such as England never had and never again will have.” --Erasmus

  37. A Man for All Purposes?

  38. The Religious Freedom Legacy? • Perception is reality? A martyr for conscience • Whose conscience? A deeper debate than meets the eye • Practical reality: an example of the painful nature of Europe’s conflict with pluralism and the practical accommodations that eventually led to begrudging toleration.