Few issues in the Reformation provoked so much controversy—or spilled so much blood—as debates over the Eucharist. For the Roman Catholic Church, the doctrine of transubstantiation was not merely based in Scripture and rooted in tradition and official church teaching; it was the keystone of the whole sacramental system through which the Church claimed spiritual authority as the mediator of salvation, and for ordinary believers, was the focal point of sincere, though often superstitious, devotion. For many Protestants, however, it was an absurdity contrary to both reason and sound theology, and obscured the central role of faith in receiving Christ and His benefits.
One of the most significant Reformation-era texts on the Eucharist, The Oxford Treatise and Disputation on the Eucharist displays Peter Martyr Vermigli at the height of his powers. Recently arrived in England to teach at Oxford during the reforming reign of Edward VI, Vermigli used a university controversy over his eucharistic theology as an opportunity to take the offensive against transubstantiation, the strongest bulwark of Catholic traditionalism in Edwardian England. His Treatise offered a crisp and compelling statement of the Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist and objections to transubstantiation, while the Disputation locks horns with a series of Catholic disputants on the biblical, philosophical, and historical issues at stake. This volume is essential reading for any who wish to understand the contours of this crucial doctrinal controversy.