Marriage and Divorce in the Thought of Martin Bucer

Herman J. Selderhuis; John Vriend & Lyle D. Bierma, trans.

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This book is a revealing and stimulating description of the sixteenth-century reformer and his theory and practice of marriage and divorce. (SCE&S 48)

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Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, Vol. 48

Marriage and Divorce in the Thought of Martin Bucer is a revealing and stimulating description of the sixteenth-century reformer and his theory and practice of marriage and divorce. Readers will find that Bucer’s sixteenth-century ideas are relevant for both church and society at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Scholars have often ignored what Bucer wrote about marriage and focused exclusively on his ideas about divorce. Selderhuis looks at both issues in light of Bucer’s biography and theology to understand his overall view.

 

Contents

Abbreviations

Introduction

Part 1: Background
The Theory and Practice of Marriage on the Eve of the Reformation
Marriage in Canon Law
Grounds That Invalidate a Marriage (Diriment Impediments)
Grounds That Prohibit Marriage (Prohibitive Impediments)
Divorce
The Practice of Marriage
The Reformation and Marriage: Mapping Out New Ways
The Overall Situation
Erasmus
Heinrich Bullinger

Part 2: Biography
A Concise Biography of Martin Bucer
Youth and Education (1491–1521)
Wanderings and Marriage (1521–1523)
A Reformer in Strasbourg (1523–1529)
Organizer of the Church of Strasbourg (1529–1539)
Contender for Unity of the Church (1529–1548)
Reformer Outside of Strasbourg (1531–1543)
Conflict and Departure (1538–1549)
Life and Death in England (1549–1551)
Bucer and the Practice of Marriage
Bucer’s Own Marriages
Bucer and the Marriages of Others

Part 3: Survey of Bucer’s Views on Marriage and Divorce
Marriage
Marriage As Instituted by God
The Path to Marriage
Divorce
Divorce and the Indissolubility of Marriage
Grounds for Divorce
Consequences of Divorce
Celibacy
Bucer on Celibacy
Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7
Prohibition of Second Marriages
The Problem of Vows
Polemic against Gardiner
Conclusion

Part 4: Conclusion
Evaluation and Reception
Reactions to Bucer’s Ideas
Impact of Bucer’s Ideas

Selected Bibliography

Scripture References

General Index

Authors

Reviews

Selderhuis is to be congratulated on a superb study, greatly enhancing our understanding of the revolutionary thought of the too often neglected work of Martin Bucer. The translation is first-rate and very readable.

Sixteenth Century Journal

This is a fine analysis of the most provocative thinker on marriage in the Reformation era. Selderhuis shows that Bucer’s views on matrimony owed much to Roman law, in addition to church fathers and scripture.

Religious Studies Review

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