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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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Heresy and Hermeneutics

Heresy and Hermeneutics

The Background to the Controversy

Chapter:
(p.50) 3 Heresy and Hermeneutics
Source:
Debating the Sacraments
Author(s):

Amy Nelson Burnett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190921187.003.0003

The two most important factors for the development of the Eucharistic controversy were medieval heresy and the application of humanist biblical hermeneutics to passages concerning the sacraments. John Wyclif’s criticisms of transubstantiation were further developed by Hussite theologians in the fifteenth century and spread into Germany in the early 1520s. The inner-evangelical debate over the sacraments grew from the different understandings of the sacraments expressed in Erasmus’s devotional and exegetical works and in Martin Luther’s alternative to the medieval sacramental system. A comparison of the exegetical works of Erasmus with Philipp Melanchthon shows that the former emphasized affective piety and the Christian life, while the Wittenbergers highlighted justification by faith and the assurance to consciences given by the sacraments. By 1524, both Johannes Oecolampadius and Ulrich Zwingli had rejected belief in Christ’s corporeal presence.

Keywords:   heresy, John Wyclif, Hussite, Erasmus, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Johannes Oecolampadius, Ulrich Zwingli

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