Clerical Marriage and the English Reformation: Precedent, Policy and Practice

Clerical Marriage and the English Reformation: Precedent, Policy and Practice

by H. L. Harper
     
 

ISBN-10: 0754600386

ISBN-13: 9780754600381

Pub. Date: 08/01/2000

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited

This volume is an examination of the debate over clerical marriage in Reformation polemic, and of its impact on the English clergy in the second half of the sixteenth century. Clerical celibacy was more than an abstract theological concept; it was a central image of mediaeval Catholicism which was shattered by the doctrinal iconoclasm of Protestant reformers. This

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Overview

This volume is an examination of the debate over clerical marriage in Reformation polemic, and of its impact on the English clergy in the second half of the sixteenth century. Clerical celibacy was more than an abstract theological concept; it was a central image of mediaeval Catholicism which was shattered by the doctrinal iconoclasm of Protestant reformers. This study sets the debate over clerical marriage within the context of the key debates of the Reformation, offering insights into the nature of the reformers' attempts to break with the Catholic past, and illustrating the relationship between English polemicists and their continental counterparts. The debate was not without practical consequences, and the author sets this study of polemical arguments alongside an analysis of the response of clergy in several English dioceses to the legalisation of clerical marriage in 1549. Conclusions are based upon the evidence of wills, visitation records, and the proceedings of the ecclesiastical courts. Despite the printed rhetoric, dogmatic certainties were often beyond the reach of the majority, and the author's conclusions highlight the chasm which could exist between polemical ideal and practical reality during the turmoil of the Reformation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780754600381
Publisher:
Ashgate Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
08/01/2000
Series:
St Andrews Studies in Reformation History
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.49(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; ‘This act is in this country a monster': clerical marriage in England during the Reformation; Celibate priesthood or married ministry?: the testimony of the Bible; ‘Good and holy men': clerical marriage and the example of the Early Church; ‘Disunity and innovation': the example of the mediaeval Church; Clerical celibacy as a mark of the Antichrist in English Reformation polemic; ‘A compulsion from which they should be set free': vows of celibacy and the English Reformation; ‘Massinge and that cannot agre together': clerical marriage and the Eucharist in English Reformation polemic; ‘That they might better attend to the ministration of the gospel': clerical marriage in England, 1549-70; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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