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Debating the SacramentsPrint and Authority in the Early Reformation$
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Amy Nelson Burnett

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190921187

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190921187.001.0001

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Print and the Reformation Crisis of Authority

Print and the Reformation Crisis of Authority

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Print and the Reformation Crisis of Authority
Source:
Debating the Sacraments
Author(s):

Amy Nelson Burnett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190921187.003.0001

Traditional narratives that distinguish between the Eucharistic controversy and the origins of Anabaptism have obscured the underlying connection between the two debates. The Lord’s Supper was the topic of almost 20 percent of all works printed in Germany between 1525 and 1529, and by 1529, almost two-thirds of these imprints also discussed baptism or the sacraments more generally. The controversy pitted the exegetical authority of Martin Luther against that of Erasmus, and participants used all the techniques of dialectic and rhetoric to persuade their readers. To understand the issues debated in the 1520s, one must pay careful attention to terminology. Calling Luther’s opponents “Zwinglians” obscures the significant contribution of other figures to the debate, and the phrase “real presence” is anachronistic and inaccurate in describing the debate. The debate in the 1520s concerned Christ’s corporeal or substantial presence in the bread and wine.

Keywords:   sacrament, printing, Martin Luther, Zwinglian, real presence

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