Bellarmine and the Oath of Allegiance

Stefania Tutino

in Empire of Souls

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199740536
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894765 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

Bellarmine and the Oath of Allegiance

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This chapter examines the impact of Bellarmine’s theory in the debate over the Oath of Allegiance, promulgated by James Stuart in 1606. James’s attempt to shift the boundaries of the sovereign’s authority beyond simple civil obedience hit the heart of Bellarmine’s doctrine of the indirecta potestas, which was introduced precisely to shift the boundaries of the Pope’s spiritual jurisdiction beyond simple spiritual authority, and indirectly into political matters. This chapter shows the theoretical and political impact of Bellarmine’s theory in early Stuart England by following closely the debate between Bellarmine, James and William Barclay. This chapter, thus, offers important elements not only to understand the significance of the Jesuit’s theories but also to gain a more accurate and historically nuanced explanation of James’s absolutism and its theoretical roots.

Keywords: Oath of Allegiance; James Stuart; Barclay; political authority; religious authority; absolutism

Chapter.  20345 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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