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3. Views on Post-Mortem Existence in the Early ReformationPeriod

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Chapter Summary

This chapter starts with Wessel Gansfort's views on post-mortem existence. In his theology, an evolution can be detected from the defence of Catholic teaching to the profession of a more Protestant point of view. The positions taken by Martin Luther, Andreas Karlstadt, Gerhard Westerburg, Philipp Melanchthon, Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Bucer, Bartholomäus Westheimer, Heinrich Bullinger, Simon Fish, William Tracy, John Frith, and William Roye are then discussed. Of the reactions by Catholic apologists to the Protestant propositions, only the views of Thomas More and John Fisher are reviewed in some detail (together with a summary of a number of Catholic books defending Purgatory), as these were relevant to the Tyndale-Joye debate. A short summary of the theology of the Anabaptists is presented. The group of radical Reformers is discussed finally due to the fact that they were treated by their contemporaries as outsiders from mainstream Christianity.

Keywords: Anabaptists; Catholic apologists; Catholic teaching; Christianity; Martin Luther; Tyndale-Joye debate; Wessel Gansfort



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