• Anglican Marriage in the Making: Becon, Bullinger, and Bucer

    John Witte, Jr. (see profile)
    Law, Religion, History
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Anglicanism, Thomas Becon, Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, Church Courts, Marriage
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    The sixteenth-century Anglican reformation of marriage was born of Henry VIII’s abrupt break with Rome over his desire to end his marriage with Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. While initially experimenting with a variety of new Protestant teachings, the Anglican Church soon settled on a commonwealth model of marriage, which viewed marriage as a created institution that was at once a gracious symbol of the divine, a social unit of the earthly kingdom, and a solemn covenant with one's spouse. But the essential cause, condition, and calling of the family was that it served and symbolized the common good of the couple, the children, the church, and the state all at once. Marriage was “a little commonwealth” created to foster the mutual love, service, and security of husband and wife, parent and child, and their blood kin. It was also a “seedbed and seminary” of the broader commonwealth to teach church, state, and society the essential moral norms and habits need for the community to flourish. This Article analyzes this understanding of the private and public goods of marriage as expounded by three key sixteenth-century theologians – Thomas Becon, Heinrich Bullinger, and Martin Bucer. The three of them offered a range of approaches based on the Bible, the Church Fathers, and the medieval Catholic tradition, and even more the Lutheran and Calvinist teachings on the Continent.
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    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
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