James Aitken Wylie (1808-1890) was a Scottish historian of religion and Presbyterian minister. He was a prolific writer and is most famous for writing The History of Protestantism.
I have been reading some chapters of his book. I e of book one of his work.
His basic idea about Protestantism is that St Ambrose of Milan was a surviving real Christian despite living after Constantine, that there is a straight line from St Ambrose to Claudius of Turin, and a straight line from him to the Turin populace who protested against submission to Rome of its episcopacy, and these were then partly fleeing to Cologne and getting burnt as heretics, partly fleeing to Piedmonte and hiding in Waldensian valleys.
And from then on to Protestants.
Now, this cannot be.
Because St Ambrose was no iconoclast, unlike Claudius of Turin. Because St Ambrose believed the Real Presence, also, it might appear (and JAW absolutely thinks so) unlike Claudius of Turin. So, there is NOT a straight line from St Ambrose to Claudius of Turin.
In case anyone thinks I am making it up that St Ambrose believed the Real Presence, here is De Mysteriis chapter 8, by St Ambrose:
This is hardly presbyterian, and whether Claudius of Turin by considered the bread was a figure of the body of Christ or his words mean sth else, St Ambrose clearly does NOT mean that, since he says that the real body of Christ on which we Christians feed in the Eucharist is more excellent than the Rock and than the Mannah which were figures of it.
And since Waldensians have come to accept Presbyterian doctrine hereon, they are clearly NOT in line with St Ambrose of Milan.
Also there is no sign either that diocese of Milan (with neighbouring ones) was persecuted bloodily by Papacy between St Ambrose and Claudius of Turin, or that Claudius of Turin himself was more heavily attacked than a refutation of his errors and his writings considered erroneous (not the comment on Genesis, which is preserved) were not preserved as such, only by quotes from his opponents refuting him, or for that matter that any Waldensians were persecuted between Claudius of Turin and appearance of Waldensians and other heretics. This is a very far cry from his original claim that Protestantism is Christianity and from the claims of others it was persecuted between Constantine and earlist Waldensians identified as such as much as later. And that by Papal Rome. A very far cry indeed.
Now, was James Aitken Wylie forging history consciously or unconsciously?
I don't dare to judge, but supposing he was no liar it was at least a bit careless of him not to check the book De Mysteriis, which he wrongfully cites as proof St Ambrose knew of only two sacraments, when in reality those were the Sacraments he decided to treat in that book - because Catechumens had been held more in the dark about these two. And if he checked it, how come he missed chapter 8?
Hans Georg Lundahl
Marguérite Audoux Library, Paris
St Stephen's Day or Boxing Day
English Wiki : James Aitken Wylie
Newadvent site : Fathers : St Ambrose of Milan : On the Mysteries