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Journal > Volumes > 45 (2014) / 3 (Autumn)
Religion, Household-State Authority, and the Defense of “Collapsed Ladies” in Early Jacobean England
Christine Peters
The Queen’s College, University of Oxford

This article argues that specific features among the early Jacobean Catholic community enabled a reevaluation of the obedience owed by wives to their hus- bands and of the household-state analogy. At the forefront of this development was a new category of Catholic “collapsed ladies” who actively rejected state Protestantism. Such women were potentially disruptive in a period in which the stability of the household-state analogy was being tested by recusancy and by scrupulous interpretations of the Oath of Allegiance. From a loyalist perspective, and building on Catholic understandings of reason, conscience, and humanist education, it was possible in 1609 for a female-voiced manuscript to corrode the idea that a man’s status in the state depended on how he governed his wife, and that a wife was subject to her husband in matters of conscience. The manuscript writer’s assumed location in St .-Omer suggests a possible connection with Mary Ward and her circle. 

Pages: 631 - 657