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This blast of the Protestant trumpet was in fact aimed not at women as a whole but at the Catholic Mary Tudor Queen of England , and was published while Knox was a refugee abroad.

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John Knox c. He was associated with Thomas Cranmer and the Reformation in England, and when Mary Tudor acceded to the throne in mid he fled to the Continent, thus escaping the Catholic backlash. Leading Protestant priests and bishops—among them some of Knox's close friends and associates—were arrested, thrown into prison, and burned at the stake. At first only the leaders were targeted, but over the course of about three years, Mary's government burned approximately three hundred people from all walks of life—including uneducated peasants and artisans, women and men, elderly and teenagers.

Knox and other English Protestant exiles heard of these events with growing despair. Knox saw this brutal persecution of Protestants as the result of women's power. In Scotland, Mary of Guise 's government had ordered Wishart's death. But the suffering was much worse in England, where Mary I was relentlessly persecuting Protestants and sentencing them to be burned at the stake.

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women - Wikipedia

The root of this evil, then, was women's rule. In Knox's view, women had seized authority that, according to the natural order of things, should belong to men.

John Knox--The Trumpet Blast of the Reformation

He considered it his duty not only to expose this terrible wrong, but also to urge his followers to correct the situation. In it he denounced the rule of women as against the natural order of the world. He used strong language to describe women as foolish, vain, sinful, weak, cruel, and irrational. He conveyed profound disgust at the idea that such "creatures" should be given authority to govern.

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The pamphlet specifically targeted Queen Mary, and called on the English to overthrow her. He stated that Mary's rule was England's punishment for having allowed her to take the throne, and he warned that the English must prove their repentance by removing her from power.


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At a time when the authority of legitimate rulers was unquestioned by the common people, Knox shocked Catholics and Protestants by urging nothing less than revolution. To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion [control], or empire above any realm, nation, or city is repugnant to nature, contumely to God, a thing most contrarious [contrary] to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and, finally, it is the subversion [ruin] of good order, of all equity and justice…. And first, where that I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God by the order of his creation hath spoiled woman of authority and dominion, but also that man hath seen, proved, and pronounced just [fair] causes why that it so should be.

Man, I say, in many other cases blind, doth in this behalf see very clearly, for the causes be so manifest that they cannot be hid. For who can deny but it repugneth [opposes] to nature that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see, that the weak, the sick and impotent persons, shall nourish and keep the whole and strong, and, finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discrete and give counsel to such as be sober of mind?

And such be all women compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness, their counsel foolishness, and judgment frenzy, if it be rightly considered. I except such as God, by singular privilege and for certain causes known only to himself, hath exempted from the common rank of women, and do speak of women as nature and experience do this day declare them. Nature, I say, doth paint them forth to be weak, frail, impatient, feeble, and foolish, and experience hath declared them to be unconstant, variable, cruel, and lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment.

And these notable faults have men in all ages espied in that kind, for the which not only they have removed women from rule and authority, but also some have thought that men subject to the counsel or empire of their wives were unworthy of all public office…. Would to God the examples were not so manifest. To the further declaration of the imperfections of women, of their natural weakness and inordinate appetites, I might adduce histories proving some women to have died for sudden joy, some for unpatience to have murdered themselves; some to have burned with such inordinate lust that, for the quenching of the same, they have betrayed to strangers their country and city; and some to have been so desirous of dominion that, for the obtaining of the same, they have murdered the children of their own sons.

Yea, and some have killed with cruelty their own husbands and children. But to me it is sufficient because this part of nature is not my most sure foundation to have proved that men, illuminated only by the light of nature, have seen and have determined that it is a thing most repugnant to nature that women rule and govern over men.

For those that will not permit a woman to have power over her own sons will not permit her, I am assured, to have rule over a realm; and those that will not suffer her to speak in defense of those that be accused, neither that will admit her accusation intended against man, will not approve her that she shall sit in judgment, crowned with royal crown, usurping [siezing] authority in the midst of men. But now to the second part of nature, in the which I include the revealed will and perfect ordinance of God; and against this part of nature, I say that it doth manifestly repugn [oppose] that any woman shall reign or bear dominion over man.

For God, first by the order of his creation and after by the curse and malediction [curse] pronounced against the woman by the reason of her rebellion, hath pronounced the contrary. First, I say that woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man, not to rule and command him. As St. Paul doth reason in these words: "Man is not of the woman but the woman of the man.

And man was not created for the cause of the woman, but the woman for the cause of man, and therefore ought the woman to have a power upon her head" that is, a coverture [covering] in sign of subjection. Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item.

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Part 3: American Vision’s “John Knox’s blast of monstrous pagan chauvinism”

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