History, Department of


Date of this Version



2014 Author(s)


Renaissance Quarterly Sep 2014, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp. 1032 - 1033


The Protestant Reformation may have begun with a controversy over indulgences, but as the sixteenth century wore on, it was disagreement over the Eucharist that made divisions among Christians most visible. This volume provides an introduction to competing understandings of the Eucharist and the consequences for liturgical practice and the arts extending into the eighteenth century. It is self-consciously interdisciplinary, with contributions by theologians, historians, art historians, musicologists, and literary scholars. The volume invites comparison among the Christian traditions, with articles devoted not only to the Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, but also to Anglicans and Anabaptists.

The most traditional part of the book is the first section, devoted to theology. Gary Macy ably sums up the medieval inheritance, while John D. Rempel, James F. Turrell, and Robert J. Daly, SJ, describe Anabaptist, Anglican, and Catholic theologies, respectively. Because they discuss a number of thinkers, these authors can convey the variation within each confessional position. In contrast, the Lutheran Church is represented only by an essay on Martin Luther (Volker Leppin); there is no mention of Philipp Melanchthon or of the struggles among Lutherans as they tried to reconcile the theological legacy of the two Wittenbergers and that eventually led to the confessional position contained in the Book of Concord. The Reformed church is more fully represented by essays on Zwingli and Bullinger (Carrie Euler), Martin Bucer (Nicholas Thompson), and John Calvin (Nicholas Wolterstorff), but aside from a few references to the Consensus Tigurinus and the Second Helvetic Confession, there is also little sense of how a relatively unified Reformed position was articulated in polemical debate with Lutherans and Catholics through the later sixteenth century.

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