Sacraments
in Lollards in the English Reformation
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Every one of the seven traditional sacraments of the medieval church was called into question or even rejected wholesale by some lollards. And while a rejection of transubstantiation characterised most lollard critiques of Catholic eucharistic theology, in fact trial records – and indeed Foxe’s Acts and Monuments – suggest a wide diversity of opinion among the dissenters with regard to the efficacy and value of the sacraments as a whole. This chapter examines lollard beliefs on the sacraments as mediated by Foxe in order to delineate Foxe’s editorial practices. The first section details how the lollards articulated their disappointment with nearly all the constituent parts of the traditional sacramental framework. From there, it turns to the two sacraments that reformers upheld as valid: the Eucharist and baptism. Although a staunch rejection of transubstantiation unsurprisingly passed muster with Foxe, the range of views concerning baptism – which included even a blunt rejection of its efficacy – forced Foxe into an uncomfortable position. Baptism, then, serves as a case study in order to scrutinise Foxe’s editorial practices, determining that he was inconsistent with his deletions.

Lollards in the English Reformation

History, radicalism, and John Foxe

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