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Problems of Authority in the Reformation Debates

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During the Reformation period many of the fiercest debates centered on the nature of authority. These covered every aspect of Christian faith and life. The authority of scripture; the authority on which disputed points of faith and order could be decided; the authorizing of ministry in the Church; the efficacy of the sacraments, were all contested. Such issues are shown by the author of this study to remain ecumenically significant, both because it proved impossible at the time to resolve them to everyone's satisfaction, and because they continued to represent the focus of mutual hostility among the separated churches.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Athough this book represents something of a departure from Evans' earlier works, which focused primarily on medieval thought, readers familiar with her writings will recognize the mastery of sources, finely-honed analysis, and engaging prose that we have come to expect from Evans." Glenn S. Sunshine, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Evans' mastery and sophisticated handling of the sources, her expertise in the medieval context, and her effort to make sense of the sixteenth-century conflicts by a sympathetic 'intellectual fellowship' with the combatants, results in a finely-tuned historical study in which the ecumenical implications are suggested with delicacy and moderation....For Reformation scholars committed to ecumenical dialogue, Evans has produced a thesis that will stimulate reflection and discussion." Craig S. Farmer, Pro Ecclesia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521416863
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Principal collections of articles and theses mentioned in the text
Introduction 1
i The agenda 2
ii The instruments of Christian scholarship 14
Pt. I Authority the Truth of the Faith 35
1 The authority of the text 37
2 Authoritative testimony 70
3 Authoritative proof 86
Pt. II Saving Authority 113
4 Powerlessness before sin 115
5 Justification 119
6 The empowering of the will for good 137
Pt. III Authority in the Church to Reconcile 141
7 The living power of the sacraments 143
8 The penitential system and 'power to bind and loose' 147
9 The Eucharist and authority to forgive 167
Pt. IV Authority in the Visible Community 197
10 Visible and invisible 199
11 The two swords and the political analogy 205
12 Making ministers 216
13 Higher Authority 227
Pt. V The Authority of Common Sense 239
14 A decision-making body 241
15 Decision-making in a divided Church 260
Conclusion: the unity we seek 285
Select bibliography 293
Index 313
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