The theory of eucharistic presence in the early Caroline divines, examined in its European theological setting
The question of Christ's presence in the eucharist was an issue which caused great controversy in the Reformation period, and which continued to evoke dispute during the seventeenth century. Various interpretations of the Caroline divines' teaching on the eucharistic presence have been offered, but often they seem either to indicate the theological position of the writer rather than that of the theologians considered, or to ignore the broader context of eucharistic doctrine. The purpose of this study, therefore, was 1. to investigate the theology of eucharistic presence in the thinking of several seventeenth-century Anglican divines, and 2. to examine their teaching in relation to the sixteenth-century Anglican heritage and the various continental sacramental doctrines, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. To accomplish this goal, eight theologians were chosen for examination: Adrianus Saravia, Lancelot Andrewes, John Cosin, Richard Montague, William Forbes, William Laud, Jeremy Taylor and Herbert Thorndike. When available, nineteenth-century editions of their works were used; otherwise, seventeenth-century texts were employed. Similarly, modern editions of Roman, Orthodox, Lutheran and Reformed writings were utilized when possible. Thy examination of eucharistic teaching included seven major points: 1. the sacrament as mystery, 2. eucharistic change, 3. the relationship between Christ's body and the bread, 4. eucharistic communion, 5. the nature of Christ's body in the sacrament, 6. consecration, and 7. adoration in the eucharist. This study has shown that there was great diversity in the thinking of the Caroline divines (although they did not treat the subject of eucharistic presence with equal detail or depth); no unified understanding of sacramental presence was expressed. Reformed ideas inherited from the previous century remained strong, but new tendencies toward other understandings of the eucharist can be discerned. The period, therefore, can be seen to represent a new stage in the history of Anglican eucharistic doctrine.