The Church of Scotland and the English apocalyptic imagination, 1630-1650

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    Abstract

    This article explores the evolution of the eschatological identity of the Church of Scotland within the framework of English puritan apocalyptic thought in the period 1630–50. From the beginnings of reformation, English protestant theologians constructed an elaborate series of readings of Biblical apocalyptic texts through which they attempted to understand contemporary events. By the 1630s, English puritan exegetes had begun to identify within the Biblical text a distinctive role for Scottish Presbyterianism. The Scottish church, which, in the opinion of many English puritans, moved towards a more rigorously reformed ecclesiology as the 1630s progressed, was identified as a harbinger of the millennial glory that English puritans would shortly share. But as the relationship between Parliament and Presbytery turned sour, English puritans increasingly identified the Scottish church as the apocalyptic menace that stood in the way of their millennial fulfilment – a feeling made vivid in the rhetoric of the Cromwellian invasion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-56
    Number of pages23
    JournalScottish Historical Review
    Volume88
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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