Sunday, May 11, 2014

Of Cranmer, Eucharistic Sacrifice, Problems in the Mass, and Students Writing Papers cont.

OK—let’s move on to Thomas Cranmer’s theology of the Eucharist—in particular his ideas  of Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  As I mentioned two postings ago, I had several requests from a student who has to do a paper and wanted leads on the topic of Eucharistic Sacrifice.  In my last two postings I gave resources that deal with the Catholic understanding—and misunderstanding—of Eucharistic Sacrifice at the time of the English Reformation.  What help can we give regarding Thomas Cranmer—the Archbishop of Canterbury who moved the Church of England from a Catholic Church to a strongly Protestant Church (I can’t say Calvinist because Cranmer would obviously go much further to the left than Jean Calvin ever went in his Eucharistic theology).   
One problem we have to face is that Cranmer was not an original theologian but more a liturgical composer whose theology moved from a Lutheran position in the 1520’s and early 30’s through Calvin’s theology to a far more Zwinglian position by the time he composed his Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552 outlining the Anglican Liturgy.  Cranmer, unlike Calvin, did not leave much in the way of systematic theological works.  His ideas are found primarily in his liturgical writing.  But among his personal papers one would want to check Cranmer’s correspondence with the Strasbourg Reformer, Martin Bucer, who seems to have been the chief channel of continental Protestant thought to Cranmer.  Bucer spent three years in England—1549-1551—the definitive years of the Reformed English Liturgy.  One might also want to take a look at the writings of John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester—one of the more extreme reformers of the Church of England, and Nicholas Ridley who replaced Edmund Bonner as Bishop of London when Bonner would not abandon the old liturgy and accept the Prayer Book Liturgy in 1549.  Hooper, in particular, was the theologian among the Anglican Bishops of the reign of King Edward VI and those who went along with the reformed rites did so under his influence.  (Not all Bishops did go along, as we shall see, and those who did not were deprived of their sees and replaced by new bishops who were amenable to the Protestant ideas of Cranmer and his associates. 
As I said in an earlier posting, I won’t do people’s research for them, but I do have a bibliography on Cranmer and his Eucharistic theology and I am happy to pass that on to any who want to do further research—or who, like our student who wrote me—need to do further research, like it or not.  Let me express my regrets that not all entries have their full bibliographical detail, but again any one interested needs do his or her own research and the works are easy enough to track down. 


John E. Booty: The Book of Common Prayer, 1559

Frank Edward Brightman, “The English Rite”

P.N. Brooks, Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist: An Essay on Historical Development,” 2nd Edition (MacMillan, 1992)

C. Buchannan, “What Did Cranmer Think He Was Doing?”

W.D. Cargill Thompson, “Who Wrote ‘The Supper of the Lord’,”  Studies in the Reformation, Luther to Hooker 

Church of England, The Book of Common Prayer[1]

Church of England, The First Book of Common Prayer of Edward VI: And, the Ordinal of 1549 Together with The Order of the Communion, 1548 

P. Collinson, “The Reformer and the Archbishop: Martin Bucer and an English Bucerian,” Journal of Religious History (6), 1971

Gregory Dix: The Shape of the Liturgy

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580

C.W. Dugmore: The Mass and the English Reformers

A.H. Courtain: The Holy Communion 1549,” Church Quarterly Review 1963

A.H. Courtain: The Service of Holy Communion 1552-1662,” Church Quarterly Review 1962

Francis (Aidan) Gasquet and E. Bishop, Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer

B.A. Gerrish, “Sign and Reality, The Lord’s Supper in the Reformed confessions,” The Old Protestantism and the New

B.A. Gerrish, Grace and Gratitude: The Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin

B. Hall, “The Colloquies between Catholics and Protestants 1539-1541,” Councils and Assemblies, ed by G.J. Cuming and D. Baker

Joseph Hooper Maude, The History of the Book of Common Prayer

C. Hopf, ‘’Bishop Hookers ‘Notes’ To the King’s Council,” Journal of Theological Studies, 44 (1943)

C. Hopf, Martin Bucer and the English Reformation

G. Jeanes, “A Reformation Treatise on the Sacraments,” Journal of Theological Studies NS  46 (1995)

M. Johnson (ed), Thomas Cranmer: Essays in Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of His Birth

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer

J.A. Muller, Stephen Gardiner and the Tudor Reaction

W. Page, “The First Book of Common Prayer and the Windsor Commission, Church Quarterly Review 98 (1924)

N. Pocock, “Preparations for the First Book of Edward VI,” Church Quarterly Review 35, (1892-93)

F. Proctor and W.H.Frere, The Book of Common Prayer With a Rationale for its Offices

G.E. Pruett: “Thomas Cranmer’s Progress in the doctrine of the Eucharist, 1535-1548,”  Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 45 (1976)

E.C. Ratcliff, “Liturgical Work of Archbishop Cranmer” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 7 (1976)

E.C. Ratcliff, “The English Usage of Eucharistic Consecration 1548-1662,” Theology, 60 (1957)

G. Redworth, In Defense of the Church Catholic: The Life of Stephen Gardiner

R. Rex, “The English Campaign Against Luther in the 1520’s,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 39 (1989)

C.C. Richardson, “Cranmer and the Analysis of Eucharistic Doctrine,” Journal of Theological Studies, 16 (1965)

D.G. Selwyn “A New Version of a Mid-Sixteenth Century Vernacular Tract on the Eucharist,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 39 (1988)

N.S. Tjernagel, Henry VIII and the Lutherans: A Study in Anglo-Lutheran Relations from 1521 to 1547.

           Let me particularly recommend from the above list, Dix, MacCullocuh, Duffy and Ratcliff.  But I think all the sources will agree that the work of Thomas Cranmer brings the Church of England out of the orbit of the Church Catholic into a definitively Protestant theology modified by a semi-protestant liturgical praxis.  The long term consequence of this will make it difficult to argue for historical continuity within the English Church from pre-Reformation to post-Reformation Ecclesia Anglicana.  I regret saying this as I had always held for continuity until I looked in depth into just how radical a reformer Thomas Cranmer was. 

[1] This is not the prayer book itself, but a book published by Oxford University Press in 2011

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