Christian liberty and female rule
Exegesis and political controversy in the 1550s
in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
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This chapter considers two questions what is Christian liberty and is it compatible with female rule, as they were debated in early modern Europe. It also considers the work of a number of English and Scottish Protestant political theologians during the 1550s. As Constance Jordan writes about the political and spiritual status of early modern women: 'In the language of Renaissance political thought, she is a persona mixta: her natural and political self balanced by her spiritual self '. The chapter argues that in each man's discussion of female rule in the Bible, the authority of women is regularly deprecated at a patriarchal level. Biblical exegesis and contemporary reality become intertwined: thraldom and slavery are the antonyms of Christian liberty. Mary Tudor, and her biblical antecedents like Jezebel, stand as wilful deniers of Christian liberty in the secular realm.

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