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Insular ChristianityAlternative models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570–c.1700$
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Robert Armstrong and Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086984

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086984.001.0001

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‘Genevan Jesuits’: crypto-Presbyterianism in England1

‘Genevan Jesuits’: crypto-Presbyterianism in England1

(p.49) Chapter 3 ‘Genevan Jesuits’: crypto-Presbyterianism in England1
Insular Christianity

Polly Ha

Manchester University Press

English Presbyterianism was an alternative to the Elizabethan religious settlement which was based on an episcopally organised hierarchy that depended on the crown as supreme governor. From their first appearance, Presbyterians challenged that hierarchy by seeking to establish equality among ministers and the inclusion of lay elders in the oversight of particular congregations. Episcopal apologists argued that Presbyterianism was a Genevan invention that would inevitably result in political sedition. At the same time, they likened it to a Jesuitical plot that sought to overturn the monarchy by asserting clerical autonomy. Elaborating on this conspiracy theory, anti-Presbyterian propagandists outlined the Presbyterians’ calculated plans to overtake the Church of England. Yet, this chapter concludes that it was precisely the adaptation of English Presbyterians to their suppression by the crown that further distinguished them from English Catholics.

Keywords:   Presbyterianism, Church of England, Jesuits, Lay elders

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