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Twentieth Annual Margaret Mann Phillips Lecture: Point and Counter-Point: Erasmus' Debate with Martin Bucer

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This article explores the 1529–1530 debate between Erasmus and Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer, which has received little attention in comparison with the debate between Erasmus and Luther. Erasmus' initial attack, Epistola contra pseudevangelicos, appears to be a list of personal grievances against individual reformers, and yet embedded in this critique is an effort at providing his readers with the means to discern who are the true followers of the gospels. He calls for a resolution to religious controversy through a council that will bring all parties together in pious dialogue. Bucer's response, Episotla Apologetica, is a detailed defense of his party's conduct and doctrine, as well as a counterattack on the beliefs and conduct of the Roman church and its clergy. Erasmus' reply, Epistola ad fratres Germaniae Inferioris, shows a level of bitterness and despair that appears to abandon all hope for reconciliation. The article examines four points of engagement: comparisons between the Protestant reformers and Catholic clergy regarding their personal conduct, matters of doctrine, Erasmus' call for a resolution and Bucer's response, and imputations of disunity on both sides.


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