Martin Bucer and Early Seventeenth-Century Scottish Irenicism

Nicholas Thompson

in The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264683
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734878 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Martin Bucer and Early Seventeenth-Century Scottish Irenicism

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The call for religious unification was part of a polemical project itself. Irenic concerns nonetheless represent another use of reception for reformation study: the hermeneutic of ecumenism. Scottish reception of the Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer is a case in point. Bucer’s mediation between continental reformers and his prominent role in English Reformation history is more often noted than his appeal to Scottish divines in the seventeenth century. This chapter highlights the changing religious milieu of the Scottish Kirk as both Presbyterians and Jesuits alike appealed to Bucer’s writing. Bucer became a favourite of the Arminian Bishop and Royalist from Aberdeen, William Forbes. The chapter finds particular potency in Bucer’s ecumenical hermeneutic, which Forbes adopted as a means of bridging confessional divisions and even searching for agreement with moderate Catholics.

Keywords: Scottish Kirk; Presbyterians; Jesuits; Martin Bucer; William Forbes; ecumenism; English Reformation

Chapter.  11594 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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