Elizabeth I: An Old Testament King

  • Susan Doran
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


Representations of Elizabeth as the Old Testament heroines, Deborah, Esther, Jael, and Judith, have been widely explored, thanks to the pioneering work of Professor John King.1 It is now well understood how these biblical figures were used both to counter attacks on the legitimacy of female rule and to provide exemplars of godly conduct to a Protestant queen. Much less fully appreciated, I think, is the extent and variety of associations made between Elizabeth and a long line of male prophets, judges, and kings in the Hebrew Bible: David, Gideon, Elias, Hezekiah, Joseph, Joshua, Josiah, Moses, Saul, Solomon, and more besides.2 Scholars, moreover, seem not to have noticed that while biblical women tended to drop out of the contemporary literature after Thomas Bentley’s Monument of Matrones in 1582, Protestant writers, preachers, and politicians continued to draw between Elizabeth I and male biblical parallels between Elizabeth I and male biblical figures—especially David and Solomon—until the queen’s death.3


Succession Issue Henry VIII Supreme Authority True Religion Prayer Book 
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© Anna Whitelock and Alice Hunt 2010

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  • Susan Doran

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