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Reformation Worlds

Antecedents and Legacies in the Anglican Tradition

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Sean A. Otto and Thomas P. Power

A reassessment of the precedents, course, and legacy of the Reformation has occurred in the present generation of academic writing. This collection of essays brings together research by established and new scholars on themes of the Reformation with a particular focus on its antecedents and legacies in the Anglican tradition. Utilizing a diversity of topics, approaches, and methods, this book adds measurably to our knowledge of the place of the Reformation in Britain and Ireland as well as its European, North American, and African particularities.
Exploring a variety of themes, this collection examines the Reformation in relation to key aspects of church organization, belief, sacrament, conversion, relationships with other denominations, theological education, church and state, worship, and issues of resilience and decline. While these themes are pursued broadly, there is a particular focus on the context of the Anglican tradition in terms of Reformation preoccupations and concerns. This collection’s thematic content, chronological span, and geographical range will also challenge accepted views, deepen understanding, and highlight new areas of enquiry, bringing new research and insights to bear on established observations.
Academics will find this book of particular interest for courses on the Reformation, Early Modern Europe, and the history of Christianity.
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Introduction

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ANDREW ADKINS, SEAN A. OTTO AND THOMAS P. POWER

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses on the church door of Wittenberg, inaugurating the Protestant Reformation. This anniversary provides the occasion for a reassessment of the Reformation. Specifically, this volume of essays examines features of the Reformation as manifested in the Anglican tradition in terms of the notable antecedent figures of Christianity in Britain and Ireland before the dawn of the Reformation, and the subsequent legacies evident there and throughout the world in the half-millennium that has followed.

Crucial to a reassessment of the Reformation is an estimation of its legacy in terms of contemporary contexts and preoccupations. Ephraim Radner observes that the laity of the various denominations resulting from the Reformation often submit confessional commitments to greater priorities of familial and communal integration or of solidarity in persecution. In sympathy with lay weariness of social disintegration and isolation, he recommends that the many separated institutions must—and can—transcend separatism in the mutual recognition of baptism. For in a world where even children are killed for Christ, Radner supposes, even Baptists might accept infant baptism as an identity marker. Increasing secularisation in the West and increasingly deadly persecution, for Radner, must press those who look to Jesus Christ for salvation to recognize that the world around them has already defined who and what a Christian is: someone who self-identifies in baptism and whose baptism now...

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