Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.


Durham Research Online
You are in:

'Protestantism' as a historical category.

Ryrie, Alec (2016) ''Protestantism' as a historical category.', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society., 26 . pp. 59-77.

Abstract

The term ‘Protestant’ itself is a historical accident, but the category of western Christians who have separated from Rome since 1517 remains a useful one. The confessionalisation thesis, which has dominated recent Reformation historiography, instead posits the two major Protestant confessions and Tridentine Catholicism as its categories, but this can produce a false parallelism in which the nature of the relationship between the confessions is oversimplified. Instead, this paper proposes we think of a Protestant ecosystem consisting of self-consciously confessional Lutheranism, a broad Calvinism which imagined itself as normative, and a collection of radical currents much more intimately connected to the ‘magisterial’ confessions than any of the participants wished to acknowledge. The magisterial / radical division was maintained only with constant vigilance and exemplary violence, with Calvinism in particular constantly threatening to bleed into radicalism. What gives this quarrelsome family of ‘Protestants’ analytical coherence is neither simple genealogy nor, as has been suggested, mere adherence to the Bible: since in practice both ‘radical’ and ‘magisterial’ Protestants have been more flexible and ‘spiritual’ in their use of Scripture than is generally allowed. It is, rather, the devotional experience underpinning that ‘spiritual’ use of the Bible, of an unmediated encounter with grace.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
(231Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0080440116000050
Publisher statement:© Copyright Royal Historical Society 2016. This paper has been published in a revised form, subsequent to editorial input by Cambridge University Press, in 'Transactions of the Royal Historical Society' (26 (2016) 59-77) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=RHT
Date accepted:14 July 2016
Date deposited:19 July 2016
Date of first online publication:29 September 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Export:
Export
Look up in GoogleScholar