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Becoming ChristianRace, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance$
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Dennis Austin Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257140

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257140.001.0001

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. “The Baptiz’d Race”

. “The Baptiz’d Race”

(p.35) 1. “The Baptiz’d Race”
Becoming Christian

Dennis Austin Britton

Fordham University Press

Chapter 1 surveys writings by important English theologians—including William Tyndale, Thomas Becon, John Hooper, and John Whitgift—and shows that race became a powerful tool for clarifying the Church of England’s theology concerning baptism and the origins of Christian identity. Race functions in two ways in the Church of England’s baptismal theology: one, in arguments against English Anabaptists, as the Church of England asserted that the children of Christians should be baptized just as the children of Jews were circumcised; and two, in arguments asserting that the children of Christians who died before being baptized were nevertheless saved because God is also the Father of Christian “seed.” This chapter also shows that the rhetorical force of theological arguments about baptism often presupposes a belief among English readers that infidels, namely Turks, were racially different from themselves.

Keywords:   Church of England, Jews, Turks, race, baptismal theology, Anabaptists, William Tyndale, Thomas Becon, John Hooper, John Whitgift

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