The 'problem of authority' was not an invention of the Protestant Reformation, but, as the essays contained in this volume demonstrate, its discussion, in ever greater complexity, was one of the ramifications (if not causes) of the deepening divisions within the Christian church in the sixteenth century. Any optimism that the principle of sola scriptura might provide a vehicle for unity and concord in the post-Reformation church was soon to be dented by a growing uncertainty and division, evident even in early evangelical writing and preaching. Representing a new approach to an important subject this volume of essays widens the understanding and interpretation of authority in the debates of the Reformation. The fruits of original and recent research, each essay builds with careful scholarship on solid historiographical foundations, ensuring that the content and ultimate conclusions do much to challenge long-standing assumptions about perceptions of authority in the aftermath of the Reformation. Rather than dealing with individual sources of authority in isolation, the volume examines the juxtapositions of and negotiations between elements of the authoritative synthesis, and thereby throws new light on the nature of authority in early-modern Europe as a whole. This volume is thus an ideal vehicle with which to bring high quality, new, and significant research into the public domain for the first time, whilst adding substantially to the existing corpus of Reformation scholarship.
'This anthology provides readers with a detailed, nuanced understanding of the searching questions and debate regarding the nature of authority occasioned by the Reformation implementation of the principle of sola scriptura.' Lutheran Quarterly