The Reformation and Heresy – deadline 15 February 2019

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Date / time
Date(s) - 9 April - 11 April
All day


The Reformation and Heresy: conference of the Society for Reformation Studies

Since the early church, heresy has been understood to be theological opinion that diverged from agreed, or orthodox, Christian teaching, especially as laid out in the Catholic creeds agreed by the ecumenical councils of the fourth- and fifth centuries. Historians of the early church, however, observe that heresy and orthodoxy were often defined through the same processes and that the naming of orthodoxy was associated with the rejection of positions deemed heretical. The medieval church developed catalogues of heresies which often had little to do with the actual positions of those deemed heretical. How did this complex history of the definition of heresy shape the Reformation? The theological debates that divided the Western church in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries resulted in multiple confessions, and in a plural doctrinal landscape. What constituted ‘orthodoxy’ became subject to debate as Christians on each side of the emerging confessional divides accused one another of ‘heresy’ and ‘novelty’, and clarified their own doctrinal stances in opposition to those of their opponents.This conference explores the theme of heresy — and consequently of orthodoxy – in and after the Reformation. Papers might explore how heresy was defined, and by whom; they might consider the relationships between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and the ways in which the theological and religious ‘other’ was constructed. They might explore connections between heresy and persecution on the one hand, and toleration on the other. Questions of persecution, martyrdom, and identity arise. How did theologians draw on the theological inheritance of the patristic church? What did they accept, what did they interpret and what did they reject? Which creeds did people use, and why? What did it mean in an increasingly plural doctrinal landscape to lay claim to Christian (or possibly ‘catholic’) orthodoxy?As always, papers which reflect the current work of participants, regardless of their relevance to the theme, are welcome. The conference is always particularly keen to hear communications from postgraduate and early career scholars.

For further information, contact Dr Stephen Hampton (

Title of proposed papers together with an abstract (100-150 words) should be submitted to Dr Hampton by 15 February 2019.

Registrations must be received by 15 February 2019. The conference booking form is available from Dr Hampton, or see

Registrations can also be made via the Eventbrite site: (additional fees apply).

Five bursaries will be available to postgraduate students or early career scholars. Please contact Dr Hampton for details and the application form.

Location: Westminster College, Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0AA