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Grant number like: FT-51078-03

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Craig Farmer
Milligan College (Milligan College, TN 37682)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2003 – 7/31/2003

Swearing to God: The Sixteenth-Century Oath Controversies in Context

The sixteenth-century Anabaptists refused to swear oaths of any kind, claiming that such swearing is forbidden by Jesus. This refusal challenged a socially sanctioned practice that bound Europeans together as citizens. The challenge prompted a significant number of reformers and theologians to write in defense of the oath. I will study and write an analysis of these sources, which will constitute one chapter of a book, placing the oath swearing debates of the sixteenth century in the context of ancient and medieval understandings. This study will contribute to the humanities by showing how sixteenth-century people attempted to make sense of their commitments to the social order in the light of a potentially subversive sacred text.