Good Friday, 1513

Simon Barker

in War and Nation in the Theatre of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748627653
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652228 | DOI:
Good Friday, 1513

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This chapter presents an incident reported by Desiderius Erasmus when Henry VIII of England challenged John Colet for preaching an antiwar sermon just as troops were about to embark on an expedition to France. Henry was disturbed by Colet's anti-war tone and especially his pronouncements against those inspiring figures from the past who were models in a long chain of military leaders that led finally to his own person. Colet's sermon had been a narrative of damnation or salvation, evoking the competing figures of Christ (peace) and the Devil (war). The military writing produced in the years between Colet's sermon at St Paul's and the outbreak of war between Charles Stuart and Parliament offered a complex theological, political and philosophical argument that secured the concept of the just war and pushed to the margins any residual notions of pacifism.

Keywords: John Colet; Desiderius Erasmus; Henry VIII; antiwar sermon; Christ; Devil; Good Friday; Charles Stuart; Parliament

Chapter.  11608 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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