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James UssherTheology, History, and Politics in Early-Modern Ireland and England$
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Alan Ford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274444.001.0001

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Ussher and the Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology

Ussher and the Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology

(p.57) 3 Ussher and the Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology
James Ussher

Alan Ford (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

During the James' reign, Ussher and his fellow Irish protestants set out to domesticate European Calvinism and, in particular, Calvinist anti-Catholicism. The latter formed the main, almost the sole focus of research in the new university. Whole sets of lectures were devoted to refuting the chief enemy, Bellarmine. The errors of the Rhemist translation of the bible were demonstrated. The consonance between protestant beliefs and those of the early church was exhaustively and exhaustingly ‘proved’ through extensive patristic research, culminating in Ussher's first publication: Gravissimae quaestionis, de Christianarum ecclesiarum... continua successione & statu, historica explicatio (1613). The legitimacy of the protestant line of descent was traced through the mediaeval heretics, the pope's real antichristian identity was exposed, and the whole historical and theological edifice was underpinned and explained by God operating in history in a pattern which was foretold in the apocalyptic books of the bible. The Irish protestant theologians promulgated and popularized this fiercely anti-Catholic religious polemic through print, manuscript, and teaching.

Keywords:   Calvinism, Bellarmine, bible, patristics, legitimacy, apocalyptic, religious polemic

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