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'Truth is immortal': Balthasar Hubmaier (c.1480-1528) and the church fathers

Klager, Andrew P. (2011) 'Truth is immortal': Balthasar Hubmaier (c.1480-1528) and the church fathers. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Hubmaier's appeal to the fathers was inspired by humanist principles, especially ad fontes, restitutionism, and rejection of scholastic syllogism and glosses in favour of full, humanist editions of the fathers based on an improved focus on grammar and philology. However, Hubmaier confessionalized Humanism by commandeering its disciplines, principles, and accomplishments to advance a reforming program that centred around credobaptism and freedom of the will. This confessionalization of Humanism is reflected also in the way Hubmaier exploited a perceived Nicodemism in the disparity between Erasmus' private and public statements on baptism and appropriated his endorsement of the docete–baptizantes–docentes baptismal sequence in Mt. 28:19 and defence of free will. Further, Hubmaier's Catholic, nominalist, and humanist academic background ensured that study of the fathers was an intuitive activity as his Anabaptist convictions developed. His nominalist education under the mentorship of Johann Eck also seems to have factored into his moderate Augustinianism and use of the African bishop in defence of free will against the hyper-Augustinianism of Luther. Hubmaier used carefully selected, amenable patristic theologians and historical witnesses to verify that credobaptism was preserved by the fathers in continuity with the practice of the apostolic era, while infant baptism was introduced only later and gradually accepted in the second to fifth centuries until definitively ratified by Augustine and universally embraced by the Catholic, papal "particular church." This increasing confusion during the patristic era was thought by Hubmaier to reflect the hesitant acceptance of paedobaptism in his own day especially by Zwingli and Erasmus, which inspired his desire for a new ecumenical council to decide the correct form of baptism on the basis of Scripture and supporting patristic exegesis. Ultimately, Hubmaier not only cognitively accepted the teachings of the fathers on baptism and free will, but embraced them as co-affiliates with himself in the one, holy, apostolic ecclesia universalis in protest against the errant papal ecclesia particularis as per the composition of his ecclesiology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Anabaptism, Balthasar Hubmaier, Reception of the Church Fathers during the Reformation, Humanism, Patristics
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Hazlett, Prof. W. Ian P.
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Dr. Andrew P. Klager
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2485
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:55
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2485

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