Reflecting on the Reformation
Tuesday is Reformation Day. It is a particularly important day as it also marks the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Readers have been inundated with books, essays, articles, and surveys on the Reformation this year. Below is some I have particularly enjoyed reading. Hope you enjoy them too. And don’t forget to do the Reformation Polka!
Michael Reeves and Tim Chester write on Why the Reformation Still Matters.
Eamon Duffy examines the Reformation Divided: Catholics, Protestants, and the Conversion of England.
Geographically, Tim Dowley’s Atlas of the European Reformations provides good orientation.
Matthew Levering and Kevin J. Vanhoozer ask the provocative question, Was the Reformation a Mistake?: Why Catholic Doctrine is Not Unbiblical. Of course you have Brad S. Gregory writing about Luther as the Rebel in the Ranks. Similarly, Lyndal Roper refers to Luther as Renegade and Prophet. Another controversial book is Alec Ryrie’s Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World.
Reformation historian Peter Marshall has published a number of interesting books on the Reformation. Older but still enjoyable is his The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction. More recent is his Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation and 1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation. See also his excellent edited collection of essays in The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation.
Thomas Albert Howard and Mark A. Noll have made a significant mark in Reformation studies with their edited collection Protestant after 500 Years. See also Tal Howard’s own Remembering the Reformation: An Inquiry into the Meanings of Protestantism.
Carlos M. N. Eire has produced a definitive work on the Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650.
Sociologist Rodney Stark is at it again with his Reformation Myths: Five Centuries of Misconceptions and (Some) Misfortunes.
Diarmaid MacCulloch discusses All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy.
As a student at TEDS, I read Roland H. Bainton’s classic Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, which I still recommend to students. More controversial but still essential reading, one should add Heiko A. Oberman’s Luther: Man Between God and the Devil and Erik H. Erikson’s Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History.
I also read Calros Eire’s excellent book on the War against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin.
More recently, there is the terrific series by Fortress Press on the Annotated Luther. It is truly a beautiful collection of books.
There are a few other books on Calvin that I can recommend. William J. Bouwsma’s John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait made for some heavy reading. Also important is Francois Wendel’s classic Calvin: Origins and Development of His Religious Thought. A helpful collection of essays on Calvin can be found in Herman J. Selderhuis’s (et. al.) The Calvin Handbook. Two other books on Calvin’s thinking worth checking out is Charles Partee’s Calvin and Classic Philosophy and T. H. L. Parker’s Calvin: An Introduction to His Thought.
Essays and Articles
Historian of science and religion Peter Harrison writes about the relationship between the Reformation and the Rise of Science.
Church historian Mark Noll follows this line in his post at BioLogos on How Did the Reformation Reform the Study of Nature?
Fred Sanders at the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University gives us reasons Why the Reformation Should Make You More catholic.
Another recent entry at ABC: Religion & Ethics blog is John Milbank’s excellent question, The Reformation at 500: Is There Any Cause for Celebration?
Theologian Alister McGrath has written several pieces on the importance of the Reformation. See here for his discussion on The State of the Church Before the Reformation.
See also McGrath’s short essay on Protestantism’s Dangerous Idea: How the Reformation Redefined the Church.
The White Horse Inn has a few pieces on the topic as well at Reformation 500.
Steve Fuller thinks it’s time for a New Reformation? This Time, the University is the Target.
The Conversation discusses Martin Luther’s spiritual practice was key to the success of the Reformation, with other pieces here, here, and here.
Over at the “Anxious Bench,” one of the many good columns at Patheos, Philip Jenkins discusses Stealing Luther, and Chris Gehrz uses a Reformation board game to discuss Sola Fide. Tal Howard also gives a brief statement about forgetting the Reformation in The Upside of Historical Amnesia as the Reformation turns 500.
Emma Green at the Atlantic wonders Why can’t Christian Get Along, 500 years After the Reformation.
Here is a short post by the “Benedict Option’s” Rod Dreher The Reformation & An Ecumenism of Indifference.
Over at CNN, Alec Ryrie talks about Three surprising ways the Protestant Reformation shaped our world.
Candida Moss at the Daily Beast also discusses the Biggest Myth about the Protestant Reformation.
Then there is Peter J. Leithart at Fox News boldly proclaiming that The Reformation, led by Luther, failed. Here’s how we could finally reunite the Christian church.
Even the National Geographic has something to say about the Reformation, particularly by Joseph Loconte on Martin Luther and the Long March to Freedom of Conscience.
A great review essay by Ingrid D. Rowland appeared in the New Yorker earlier this year as Martin Luther’s Burning Questions.
Nina Martyris over at NPR provides a very insightful article on The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too. Amen!
Over at the Hedgehog Review, Eugene McCarraher discusses the “most compelling and revolutionary legacy of the Protestant Reformation” in The People Republic of Heaven: From the Protestant Reformation to the Russian Revolution, 1517-1917.
Ross Douthat at the New York Times wonders Who Won the Reformation?
Yet another good piece from ABC, this one by Stanley Hauerwas on After the Reformation: How to be Neither Catholic Nor Protestant.
Dominic Erdozain also discusses The Cult of Certitude: Martin Luther and the Myth of ‘Sola Scriptura.’
Earlier this year Charlotte Methuen considered whether the Reformation was A Reformation by Martin Luther alone?
Peter J. Leithart has another interesting article at First Things where he corrects Reformation “What Might Have Beens.”
Over at Marginalia, some really good articles have appeared in their The Protestant Reformation: A Forum.
A number of other bloggers have provided surveys of books and required reading.
Earlier this year Christianity Today dedicated a whole issue to Martin Luther.
Historian Chris Gehrz also has some good suggestions in The Best Book to Read for Reformation 500.
Emily McFarlan Miller and Kimberly Winston at Religion News Service give us a nice collection at Study-Up: A Reformation Anniversary Reading List.
Reading Religion, a publication of the American Academy of Religion, has published a Cornucopia of Quincentennial Books on the Reformation.
Charlotte Metheun at TLS reviews a number of books on Luther in Defender of the faith?
Oxford University Press is offering 30% off selected books related to the Reformation in Remembering the Reformation.
I have, no doubt, missed many other good books and articles on the Reformation. Please share in the comments so others can add to their wish-lists!
And without further ado, The Reformation Polka.