Thomas More's concept of kingship
In this study, More's concept of kingship is discussed in terms of the Christian humanist views of authority and of the views developed by such Henricians as Thomas Cromwell and Christopher Saint Germain. There is no attempt to disprove or to prove the consistency of More's political thought at various points in his life and experiences. Undoubtedly, More learned many of his basic political attitudes from such humanist friends as Erasmus as well as from his humanistic and legal studies. These humanistic influences were particularly important in the formulation of those views which More expressed in his earlier works. More's later expressions of political ideas, particularly those in his works of controversy, reflected his practical experience in public life and his concern with the radical drift of Henrician affairs in the early 1530's. With the questioning of papal authority and of the laws concerning heretics, the political realities faced by More the civil servant, the lawyer, the defender of orthodoxy in the Church pushed him to retreat from the relatively liberal interpretations of papal power and tolerance of heretics which he had expressed in earlier times to a more precise and dogmatic definition of views which the new events and developments in political and religious thought appeared to demand. In the early 1530's, to preserve and defend a stable and valid authority was uppermost in More's mind. Consequently, more strongly than ever, More reasserted that the papal office was a divine institution and that traditional laws against heretics must be retained, that the attacks on these were synonymous with an attack on the traditional order and the good government of Christendom as a whole. Excerpt from page 12.