The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century

By Jill P. Raitt | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

The late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in Europe may fairly be called an age of confessionalism. It was a period in which the leaders of society spent a great amount of time and energy developing and defending confessions--precise definitions of exactly what they believed to be the essence of the Christian faith. The process began in 1530, with the Augsburg Confession, a carefully crafted summary of Christian belief, drafted for presentation at a meeting of the Reichstag, the legislative branch of the imperial government that then ruled most of Germany. It was presented to that Reichstag by the chancellor of the state of electoral Saxony, Gregory Brück, on behalf of a coalition of "protesting" estates, to demonstrate to that assemblage and to the world that the ideas maintained among those states were true Christian beliefs that did not merit the label "heresy" and thus the persecution proposed by the imperial government. It had been drafted in large part by Philip Melanchthon, Luther's chief assistant in the growing Reformation movement.

This process continued at the ecumenical Council of Trent, in which an assembly of bishops, meeting off and on between 1545 and 1563 under the leadership of papal legates, drafted a series of dogmatic decrees defining with greater precision than ever before the doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Those decrees, once ratified by popes, were then presented to governments all over the Western world, as a guide to determining which of the competing religious groups were truly Catholic and obedient to the teaching authority of the Roman see.

The process was carried a step further by the "Reformed" churches that looked to Calvin as the most prominent of several leaders. They prepared a series of national confessions of faith, to persuade hostile sovereigns both at home and abroad that they were indeed responsible believers in true Christian doctrine. The best known of these Reformed confessions are the Gallic Confession of 1559, prepared on behalf of a movement led by a group of great French aristocrats of whom the most prominent were members of the Bourbon family; the Scotch Confession of 1560, prepared for the Scottish Lords of the Congregation to help justify their overthrow of the Catholic regency of Mary of Guise; the Belgic Confession of 1561, prepared on behalf of a Dutch movement against Spanish rule that came to be led by William of Orange and the Estates General of the Netherlands; and the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England of 1563, adopted by Parliament to justify the religious position advocated by the government of Elizabeth I.

In every case the new confession epitomized the ideas of a religious com-

-ix-

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The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - Ancient Liberties and Evangelical Reform 11
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - The Political Background 45
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - The Lord's Supper 73
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - The Person of Christ 110
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Images, Baptism, and Predestination 134
  • 6 - Aftermath (1): Polemics and Politics 160
  • Notes 176
  • 7 - Aftermath (2): The Larger Scene 187
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix 1 Appendix: in Which Is Taught, What Was Done, Regarding the Communication and Protest of the French Exiles After the Colloquy of Montbéliard 197
  • Notes 201
  • Appendix 2 - Instrument 203
  • Appendix 3 207
  • Note 210
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 211
  • Index 221
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