The ark and the covenant: Edmund Bonner and Nicholas Ridley on ecclesiology and the promotion of scripture in sixteenth-century England

Mark Anthony Newcomb, Fordham University

Abstract

The question of what role Humanism may have played in the emergence of English Protestantism has remained a live issue for Reformation scholarship for some four and a half centuries. The author examines the issue in detail, utilizing categories drawn from the research of John W. O'Malley on the application of different modes of classical rhetoric to biblical exegesis during the Renaissance. Comparing the exegetical writings of Desiderius Erasmus and John Colet, the author illustrates the key differences between Erasmian and Italian Humanism. Erasmus' reliance upon deliberative oratory for the explication of scripture, and his preoccupation with a Platonic philosophia Christi, result in an oracular Christology, focused narrowly on the speech of Jesus. By contrast, Italian Humanism relies upon epideictic rhetoric, and yields a portrait of Christ that highlights the deeds of the Messiah and the Old Testament orientation of His salvific work, as is readily seen in the writings of John Colet. These same contrasts can be found in the writings of Nicholas Ridley and Edmund Bonner, suggesting that opting for either Italian or Erasmian Humanism may have been decisive, both for Ridley's Protestantism and Bonner's Catholicism. ^

Subject Area

Religion, History of|Theology

Recommended Citation

Newcomb, Mark Anthony, "The ark and the covenant: Edmund Bonner and Nicholas Ridley on ecclesiology and the promotion of scripture in sixteenth-century England" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3310421.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3310421

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