Alec Ryrie
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Playing with fire
The Reformation under James V
in The origins of the Scottish Reformation
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The Reformation in Scotland began as it did across most of the rest of Europe: with books and universities, with merchants and friars. As in many parts of Europe, part of the excitement of evangelicalism lay not in the reformers' specific doctrines but in the open Bible. Religious persecution during the Scottish Reformation was sporadic. Over the course of James V's reign, the reformist movement's rhetoric, its doctrines and especially its social shape did begin to reflect the Scottish situation. James V himself was keen to emphasise that heresy was an alien import, stressing in 1530 that its source was foreign merchants. The ban on vernacular Scripture was Alexander Alesius' chief concern when he protested against James V's religious policies. The eruption of revolutionary heresy in Germany in the early 1520s forced itself onto the attention of every province of Christendom.

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