John Knox and womankind: a reappraisal


By Maureen M Meikle, published 31st August 2003

To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion or empire above any realm, nation, or city is repugnant to nature, contumely to God, a thing most contrarious to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and all equity and justice. John Knox, The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women, 1558. John Knox’s infamous remarks about the ‘monstrous regiment’ are frequently repeated in modern day media, but few people today realise that the target of his wrath was not womenkind in general.1 To call all sixteenth-century women, or any women for that matter, a ‘monstrous regiment’ is to portray them in entirely the wrong light. When John Knox was writing his notorious First Blast his intended targets were the powerful ruling Catholic queens of mid-sixteenth century Britain and Europe who were thwarting the spread of Calvinism...

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