Balthasar Hubmaier and the Clarity of Scripture
A Critical Reformation Issue
By Graeme R. Chatfield
Due for release: 26/12/2013
In an age when Western Christianity is riven by arguments about how the Bible should be interpreted, used, and applied to current society, it is highly instructive to listen to the voice of an independent-minded and deeply learned biblical theologian from another age.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, from Foreword
During the sixteenth century, many Reformers echoed Erasmus’s claim that the Scriptures were clear, could be understood by even the lowliest servant, and should be translated into the vernacular and placed in the hands of all people. People did not require the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church to correctly interpret the meaning of the Scriptures. However, within a few short years, the leaders of the Magisterial Reformers, Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, had created their own Protestant versions of the magisterium. This work traces how the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture found expression in the writings of Balthasar Hubmaier. An admirer of Erasmus and Luther, and associate of Zwingli, as Hubmaier engaged in theological debate with opponents, onetime friends, and other Anabaptists, he sought to clarify his understanding of this critical reformation doctrine. Chronologically tracing the development of Hubmaier’s hermeneutic as he interacted with Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli, and Hans Denck, Graeme R. Chatfield provides a useful means of more accurately understanding his place in the matrix of the sixteenth-century Reformations.
Balthasar Hubmaier and the Clarity of Scripture sets out and achieves three goals. Firstly, to provide a description of the hermeneutic of Balthasar Hubmaier based on the whole corpus of his work; secondly, to assess Hubmaier’s work chronologically to answer the question of change and development with regard to his hermeneutic; and finally to provide a reassessment of the place of Hubmaier within the Reformation. The success of Chatfield in this endeavour makes this work essential for those involved in any form of Reformation studies, Anabaptist research, hermeneutical or scriptural studies.
About the Author: Graeme R. Chatfield is Associate Dean of the Australian College of Theology, Sydney. He taught Church History at Morling College from 1996 – 2007, and since 2008 has taught intensive courses in Church History and Historical Theology with TCMII in Vienna, Austria.
About the publisher: James Clarke and Co Ltd is a long-established British academic publisher specialising in historical and theological books and also in reference material. It has been associated with the Lutterworth Press since 1984.
–Documents of the English Reformation, by Gerald Bray, ISBN: 9780227172391
–God’s Hundred Years: A Brief History of the Reformation, by Hubert J. Smith, ISBN: 9780718830694
–The Bondage of the Will, by Martin Luther, ISBN: 9780227674178