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Real Presence, Spiritual Presence: Assessing Thomas Cranmer's Appropriation of St. Ambrose's Eucharistic Doctrine

Daniel Marrs

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While Thomas Cranmer’s frequent appeals to the church fathers are often noted, focused evaluations of his theological use of particular patristic sources remain lacking. In a manner both historical and theological, the present article assesses the nature and quality of Thomas Cranmer’s appropriation of Ambrose of Milan’s doctrine of Christ’s eucharistic presence. Devoting special attention to Cranmer’s A Defence, in which he makes extensive use of Ambrose’s De mysteriis and De sacramentis, the author contends that Cranmer’s engagement with Ambrose contextualizes and informs his final vision of Christ’s presence in the eucharist, and is therefore able to bring greater clarity to the ongoing debates surrounding Cranmer’s understanding of eucharistic presence.

 
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