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Lying in Early Modern English CultureFrom the Oath of Supremacy to the Oath of Allegiance$
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Andrew Hadfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198789468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198789468.001.0001

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The Oath of Supremacy

The Oath of Supremacy

(p.37) 1 The Oath of Supremacy
Lying in Early Modern English Culture

Andrew Hadfield

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 explores the impact of the Oath of Supremacy, looking at two trials, those of Thomas More and Anne Boleyn, which resulted from the astonishing changes precipitated by Henry’s decision to divorce Catherine of Aragon, forcing English men and women to wonder how honest they could be about their loyalties and precipitating a crisis concerning the nature of speech and language in public culture. The chapter explores these two important trials in terms of the Reformation, showing how arguments about truth and lying became particularly significant as the King assumed the right to rule the Church as well as the state. Uncovering the truth of each trial may be less important than understanding that they are about truth and whose right it is to declare what is truth and what lies.

Keywords:   Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, Reformation, perjury, trial, Act of Supremacy, oaths

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