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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation revolutionized not only theology and the Church, but also law and the state. Though divided into Lutheran, Anabaptist, Anglican, and Calvinist branches, the Reformation collectively broke the international rule of the medieval Church and its canon law, and permanently splintered Western Christendom into competing nations and regions. The Reformation also triggered a massive shift of power, property, and prerogative from the Church to the state. Protestant states now assumed new jurisdiction over numerous subjects and persons, and they gave new legal form to Protestant teachings. But these new Protestant laws also drew heavily on the medieval ius commune as well as on earlier biblical and Roman jurisprudence. This chapter analyses the new Protestant legal syntheses, with attention to the new laws of Church–state relations, religious and civil freedom, marriage and family law, education law, social welfare law, and accompanying changes in legal and political philosophy.

Keywords: Protestantism, Reformation, Church–state relations, crime and punishment, marriage and family, education, social welfare, Christianity and law, political theology

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