Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations: Semper Reformanda

Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations: Semper Reformanda

Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations: Semper Reformanda

Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations: Semper Reformanda


Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) was one of the early members of the abortive Italian reform movement as well as one of the formative shapers of Reformed Protestantism. Through its focus on Vermigli, these essays illuminate new dimensions to the various Reformations in sixteenth-century Europe, both Catholic and Protestant. Vermiglis work is considered under three rubrics: his relationship to other Reformers, an analysis of his more provocative theological ideas and his contributions to church reform. Particularly notable is the breadth of his interests, which ranged from his view of women, prophecy and papal power, to the early church fathers and his revision of ecclesiastical laws in the Church of England. Each of these depicts a vital aspect of Vermiglis contribution to the European Reformations.Contributors include: Scott Amos, Emidio Campi, John Patrick Donnelly, John Farthing, Don Fuller, Richard Gamble, John F. Jackson, Gary Jenkins, Torrance Kirby, Norman Klassen, Peter A. Lillback, Joseph C. McLelland, Douglas H. Shantz, Dan Shute, and John Thompson.


Several years ago, the late Heiko A. Oberman, wrote to me:

Your intention to place Peter Martyr Vermigli in the wider context
of the Reformation movements racing through sixteenth-century Europe
makes your volume the ideal candidate for inclusion in the series Studies
in the History of Christian Thought.

Oberman’s professional judgment certainly comports with the original purpose of this volume. In 1999, there were several international celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Vermigli—in Padua, Zurich and St. Louis at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference. Most of the essays included in this volume arose out of the celebrations in St. Louis. Additional essays were subsequently invited to form this particular collection. What makes this volume so fascinating is that it explores new avenues of research in Vermigli’s thought, which in turn illuminate new aspects of the European Reformations. This collection of articles is divided under three rubrics: community among Reformers, biblical and theological reflections and church reform. Each of these depicts a vital aspect of Vermigli’s life commitments as well as demonstrate something of his contribution to the European Reformations. But for Vermigli, the Bible was not merely the repository for theological knowledge, but was also the touchstone for a wide variety of issues—societal, political as well as theological. His theological insights (or thoughts generated from his biblical studies) range from his views on dancing, happiness, suicide, friendship, combat, the treatment of war captives, canon law and the role of women. We have tried to capture some of that immense variety in this collection of essays.

I want to extend special thanks to my graduate assistants, Ryan Reeves and Lori Ginn, for their kind assistance in completing this project. Both Lori and Ryan display superb academic instincts and are already scholars in their own right.

Personal letter from Professor Oberman, 25 July 2000.

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