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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 Religious Culture of Lying

The Religious Culture of Lying

(p.115) 3 The Religious Culture of Lying
Lying in Early Modern English Culture

Andrew Hadfield

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 explores the varieties of religious belief and religious debates about the nature of lying, in particular whether there was a need to declare religious belief to hostile authorities or whether it was possible to equivocate or practise ‘mental reservation’ even if one could not actually lie. The chapter explores discourses of martyrdom and arguments about the limits of testifying one’s faith, as well as how authorities were to be obeyed or disobeyed. It outlines the implications of the beliefs of a variety of diverse religious groups such as the Jesuits, varieties of Protestants, and those whom Calvin labelled ‘Nicodemites’. The chapter comments on the vitriolic debate between Thomas More and William Tyndale; John Donne’s major treatise Pseudo-Martyr; Nathaniel Woodes’s strange play The Conflict of Conscience; Calvin and Foxe and other Reformation writers.

Keywords:   More, Tyndale, Nicodemism, Foxe, Jesuits, Donne, conscience, papacy

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