John Knox and the Monstrous Regiment of Women

Research, Scotland, UK History

John Knox and the Monstrous Regiment of Women | Presbyterian Historical Society

Hmm…So John Knox had some issues.

Before John Knox returned home from exile to become a hero of the Scottish Reformation, he penned a shocking polemic against women in roles of authority: The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. The diatribe, which he planned to follow with a second and third blast, set the stage for a tumultuous relationship with four ruling queens: Mary of Guise (1515-1560), Mary Tudor (1516-1558), Mary Stuart (1542-1587), and Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603).

Knox used “monstrous” and “regiment” in an archaic sense to mean “unnatural” and “rule,” arguing that female dominion over men was against God and nature. He lamented that the future of the Protestant faith lay solely in the hands of a female monarchy largely hostile to its precepts. Echoing the era’s widespread assumption that women were inferior to men, capable only of domestic acts such as bearing children, Knox placed blame on the “abominable empire of wicked women” for the trials and tribulations of the Reformation.

John Knox and the Monstrous Regiment of Women | Presbyterian Historical Society.

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J.L. JARVIS