Thomas More, Thomas Cranmer and the King’s Great Matter
The determination of King Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon began a campaign that would culminate in the England’s jurisdictional separation from the Pope and the Catholic Church. The catalyst for this determination was Henry’s desire to secure the Tudor dynasty by producing a legitimate male heir to the throne, and while Henry’s quest for an annulment may not have begun as an intentional challenge to papal authority, it was not long before it became an essential aspect of the annulment campaign. This thesis assesses the contrasting responses of Thomas More and Thomas Cranmer to that campaign and analyses the extent to which their responses were shaped by their respective theologies. More and Cranmer had different paradigms of where authority lay within the church, which was a major factor in shaping their responses to the annulment campaign and the challenge to papal authority it entailed. More believed that papal authority was an essential aspect of the church and that kingly authority was not above the Pope’s. Conversely, Cranmer believed that the Pope was an aspect of the corrupt nature of the Catholic Church and that the jurisdiction of Kingly authority included the spiritual as well as the temporal.
Advisor: Cooper, Tim
Degree Name: Master of Theology
Degree Discipline: Theology and Religion
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Thomas More; Thomas Cranmer; Henry VIII; English Reformation
Research Type: Thesis