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

John Witte, Jr., George Hunston Williams, THE CONTENTIOUS TRIANGLE: CHURCH STATE AND UNIVERSITY - A Festschrift in Honor of Professor George Huntston Williams, Vol. LI, pp. 243-259, Calvin Peter, Rodney Petersen, eds., 1999

22 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2011  

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

This essay - dedicated to Professor Williams for his pathbreaking work on the Reformation - explores one small part of this story. My subject is the new Anglican theology and law of marriage that emerged in the wake of King Henry VIII’s great battle with Pope Clement V over the annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. Henry's battle, from 1527 to 1534, was the catalyst of the English Reformation in general and of the English reformation of marriage in particular. It triggered an explosion of new Protestant literature in England both on marriage and its dissolution and on the canon law of marriage and its reformation. Some of this literature was indigenous, building on a two-century tradition of English antipapalism and anticanonicalism inaugurated by John Wycliff, William of Ockham, and others. Some of this literature was of Continental origin. Both genres of literature are reflected in the writings of three figures active from 1525 to 1565 - Thomas Becon, Heinrich Bullinger, and Martin Bucer. These three figures do not figure prominently in conventional accounts of Tudor marriage doctrine and law. Yet, taken together, their writings provided a fertile seedbed out of which would grow many of the distinctive features of Anglican theology.

Keywords: Anglican, theology, law, marriage, Reformation, Bacon, Bullinger, Bucer

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Anglican Marriage Law in the Making: Becon, Bullinger, and Bucer (1999). John Witte, Jr., George Hunston Williams, THE CONTENTIOUS TRIANGLE: CHURCH STATE AND UNIVERSITY - A Festschrift in Honor of Professor George Huntston Williams, Vol. LI, pp. 243-259, Calvin Peter, Rodney Petersen, eds., 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1863585

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
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