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Re-Envisioning Christian HumanismEducation and the Restoration of Humanity$
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Jens Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778783

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198778783.001.0001

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Erasmian Humanism and the Elizabethan Hermeneutics of the Eucharist

Erasmian Humanism and the Elizabethan Hermeneutics of the Eucharist

(p.95) 5 Erasmian Humanism and the Elizabethan Hermeneutics of the Eucharist
Re-Envisioning Christian Humanism

Torrance Kirby

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates the impact of Christian humanism on wider culture. It focuses on a shift from medieval to Reformational sacramentalism, which profoundly impacted the understanding of signs as conveyors of meaning. It considers the English Reformer, John Jewel, who advocated a decisive reform of England’s religious identity based upon an Erasmian-inspired critique of the central cognitive premise of medieval ‘sacramental culture’, namely its theological assertion of the fusion of sign and thing signified as epitomized by the Tridentine dogma concerning transubstantiation. Jewel’s apologetic purpose aims to define religious identity within a reconstituted liturgical and institutional order, wherein the external and visible signs of sacrament and polity are linked to supernatural and invisible mysteries through the medium of the conscience, modelled upon his revision of the theology of sacramental presence. In effect, Jewel’s Christian humanism contributes to a distinctively early modern attempt to reinterpret the fundamental assumptions of cognition.

Keywords:   Christian humanism, cultural studies, Reformation, John Jewel, Erasmus, transubstantiation, Richard Hooker, hermeneutics, epistemology

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