Authority in the Reformation

Annual Conference of the Society for Reformation Studies,Westminster College, Cambridge, 3-5 April 2013

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The Reformation represented a crisis of authority on many levels.  In an age which was heir to Aristotelian and Neoplatonist accounts of hierarchy, and which regarded anarchy as the gravest social ill, it was inevitable that questions of power and legitimacy would assume a dominant role in contemporary controversies.  The conflicts between Scripture and Tradition as theological authorities, and between Scripture and the Papacy (or councils), or between the Pope and the monarch (or consistory), as authorities in church government, were reflected in numerous more local debates and frictions.  The Reformation and questions of authority are therefore inextricably linked.

We invite papers (25 minutes maximum) addressing different aspects of this rich and varied theme.  What views of power and legitimacy underlay different conceptions of authority in this period? How was authority displayed, asserted, and exercised?  Under what circumstances might authority be challenged or obedience withheld?  What constituted warranties for truth-claims? To what extent were personal sanctity, erudition, or mere strength of numbers regarded as conferring authority? These and many other questions are raised by the theme of Authority in the Reformation.

Leading us in the consideration of these issues will be Professor Gillian R. Evans (University of Cambridge), Professor Susan E. Schreiner (University of Chicago), and Dr J. Patrick Hornbeck II (Fordham University).

As always, papers which reflect the current work of participants, regardless of their relevance to the theme, are also very welcome.

Further informaton on the Society for Reformation Studies and its conferences can be obtained by emailing Dr Charlotte or Dr Aaron Clay

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