"A Seminary in Which we Want only the
Best Seeds to be Planted"*

The Reformation brought with it an increasing stress on the education of clergy. Prior to the Reformation, the clerical office was stable and uncompetitive. However, the sacramental model of priesthood, which had prevailed in the medieval church, came under attack in the Reformation. During the 16th century the traditional clergy gave way to a new, professional kind of cleric. The Reformation inaugurated significant changes in attitudes and expectations around the clergy, as well as understandings of their social function. These changes meant that questions of clerical training came to be a central concern for governments and church officials alike. The translation of the Bible, the issuing of the Book of Common Prayer, and new catechetical resource inaugurated new expectations for the pastoral office.

What did the Reformation mean for clergy, the clerical office, theological education, and the teaching function of the clergy? Incorporating images and text, this online resource seeks to provide some answers to these questions.


1: Medieval Background

The Protestant Reformation emerged out of a context steeped in theological education ... More

2: Literacy

The Reformation brought with it an increasing stress on the education of clergy. This pedagogical ... More

3: Recruitment, Training, and Ordination

The Reformation inaugurated significant changes in attitudes and expectations around ... More

4: Placement & Career

During the 16th century the traditional European clergy gave way to a new, professional ... More

5: Tools of the Trade 1: The Bible

Like much that had been stable in European society, the Bible underwent a profound transformation ... More

6: Tools of the Trade 2: Book of Common Prayer

During the English Reformation, there were a number of world-historical transformations ... More

7: Tools of the Trade 3: Catechisms

The Reformers understood themselves not to be creating a new faith, but as recovering ... More


*"A Seminary in Which we Want only the Best Seeds to be Planted" - taken from the Preface to the Statutes of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (founded 1596).

Acknowledgments

Researched and written by Kiegan Irish, Ph.D. candidate, Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto.

Website design by Brendan Power, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo.

Project was initiated and supervised by Dr. Thomas Power, Wycliffe College.