Recommendations for Reformation Study?

I'm taking a Reformation Church History course in the fall, and I'm looking for good materials on the subject that I can use in research. I'm looking for both surveys and narrower topic studies. The only requirement is that they must be written for an academic audience.

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ssutter's picture

I'm about half way through The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch - it's a secular history, but very good - Diarmaid gets the revolutionary nature of the reformers in a way that other histories don't often capture.


Joseph's picture

Here are some of the best scholars, particularly for those who see the limits of the very popular social/cultural history.

Heiko Oberman: not only one of the leading experts on Luther, but he wrote the most-read book on the scholastic/nominalist background to Luther's theology, dealing with Gabriel Biel. He has many good collections of essays, too, some of which deal with important issues in Reformatio historiography.

B.A. Gerrish is one of the best historical theologians who wrote on the Reformation, especially because of his historical perspective. His mentor, Wilhelm Pauck, also has a number of extremely high-quality essays on the Reformation.

Steve Ozment wrote a widely used and important study on the intellectual history of the Reformation, as well as an oft-cited and important monograph on Staupitz.

For more on Luther theology, particularly, see esp. Bernard Lohse, Heinrich Bornkamm, Gerhard Ebeling, (oldies but very important goodies), and Paul Althuas. More recent is the excellent scholar and theologian Oswald Bayer. All of these German scholars write from a tradition that's now rare, which is one that is concerned with "Protestantism" as a idea dn movement, and not just some narrow slice of the historical pie; for theology, I think people like them are much more helpful than just cultura/social history, although that's important too.

David Steinmetz is also one of the superb living scholars of the Reformation, and both his Luther in Context and Calvin in Context are excellent. Steinmetz is an expert on the interpretation of Scripture in these figures and earlier (he wrote the famous article, "The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis).

I just remembered all these and other books/authors are on my amazon wishlist, Charlie, so if you google my name (my first and last name, which you know) plus "Amazon" you should find it. It may be helpful to you.

Charlie's picture

I've been able to find several of the works listed. I started with a few books by Oberman and some collections of essays in order to get a feel for different authors. I'm actually studying from late medievalism to pre-Schleiermacher, in connection with the theology of the more prominent reformers. Here are some of the resources I've found helpful so far:

The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation by Alister McGrath - great summary of earlier research; perfect length; not so sure about some of his conclusions about Zwingli and Bucer

Forerunners of the Reformation by Heiko Oberman - quite eye-opening; excellent resource for important primary sources (Biel, Staupitz, Holcot, etc.)

Reformation and Scholasticism, edited by Asselt and Dekker - collection of essays devoted to correcting earlier streams of research (Schweizer, Heppe, Althaus, Barth) concerning the relationship of the Reformers to "scholasticism"; the internationality of the contributors is a plus

Protestant Scholasticism edited by Trueman and Clark - great overviews of lesser-known Reformers (Vermigli; Voetius; Zanchi; Ursinus, etc.); great for getting to know authors, Steinitz being my favorite.

Also, Reformation Europe: A Guide to Research by Steven Ozment is a bibilographical treasure trove only slightly dated (80s).

Thanks for the suggestions; I'm still continuing my research.

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