The literature on the Reformation can
be overwhelming to the newcomer. Perhaps only the French Revolution
and the American Civil War have received so much and such careful
attention. Few historical periods can boast of such a large number
of high-quality surveys as those published by Reformation scholars.
And in few areas of historical scholarship are sectarian biases more
evident. This is especially true of works written before the
Second Vatican. Studies after 1965 tend to be more balanced, but confessional
concerns do continue to bias things, often in subtle ways.
Euan Cameron, The European
Reformation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). Cameron presents the Reformation in a fresh original way: not
as a sequence of short biographies of leading reformers, but as a
unified historical movement. He sees the Reformation as a temporary
coalition of reform-minded churchmen with one another and with
potent political forces. He is attuned not only to Reformation
theology—both its sophisticated and its popular varieties—but also
to the series of coincidences and subtle mis-hearings that led
people to join forces in common cause. More a synthesis than a
place to get the facts—but the synthesis is superb.
Carter Lindberg, The European
Reformations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996). Note the
title: Lindberg’s accent is on the pluralism of the Reformation—that
it is crucial to appreciate the diversity and localism of individual
reformers and reform movements. This has become perhaps the most
widely used textbook for courses on the Reformation—and for good
Diarmaid MacCulloch, The
Reformation: A History (New York: Viking Press, 2004). MacCulloch, best known for his monumental study of the
English reformer Thomas Cranmer, attempts here a new comprehensive
synthesis focusing less on the colorful personalities and more on
the wider culture, politics and broad movements.
Thomas A. Brady Jr., Heiko A. Oberman,
& James D. Tracy, eds., Handbook of European History, 1400-1600:
Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation, 2 vol. (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans / Leiden: Brill, 1996).
Owen Chadwick, The Early
Reformation on the Continent, Oxford History of the Christian
Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 20020.
C. Scott Dixon, The Reformation in
Germany (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002).
C. Scott Dixon,
Protestants: A History from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania, 1517-1740
(Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
C. Scott Dixon,
Contesting the Reformation (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) paperback,
G.R. Elton, ed., The Reformation,
1520-1559, Blackwell Classic Histories of Europe, 2nd ed.
(1958; reprint: Cambridge: Blackwell, 2000).
Brad S. Gregory,
The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution
Secularized Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
2012) hardcover, $40. NEW.
Kaspar von Greyerz,
Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2007).
Felicity Heal, Reformation in
Britain and Ireland, Oxford History of the Christian Church (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed., The
Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, 4 vol. (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1996).
Hillerbrand, The Division of
Christendom: Christianity in the Sixteenth Century
(Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2007).
R. Po-Chia Hsia, ed.,
Expansion, 1500-1600, Vol. 6 of
The Cambridge History of Christianity, Vol. 6 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2007).
R. Po-Chia Hsia, ed., A Companion
to the Reformation World, Blackwell Companions to European
History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).
ed., Reformation Christianity, A People’s History of
Christianity, vol. 5 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006).
Andrew Pettegrew, ed., The Early
Reformation in Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press,
Andrew Pettegrew, ed., The
Reformation World (New York: Routledge, 2000).
Ulinka Rublack, Reformation Europe,
New Approaches to European History 28 (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2005).
Bob Scribner, Roy Porter, and Mikulas
Teich, The Reformation in National Context (New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1994).
R.W. Scribner & C. Scott Dixon, The
German Reformation, 2nd ed. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
James D. Tracy, Europe’s
Reformations, 1450-1650: Doctrine, Politics, and Community, 2nd
ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Little, 2006).
Bard Thompson, Humanists and
Reformers: A History of the Renaissance and Reformation (Grand
Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996).
Lee Palmer Wandel,
The Reformation: Towards a New History (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2011).
Williams, Radical Reformation, 3rd edition (Truman State
University Press, 2000).
Alister E. McGrath, Reformation
Thought: An Introduction, 3rd edition (Cambridge, MA:
Blackwell, 1999). McGrath surveys Reformation views
on justification, predestination, scripture, sacraments, church. In
other words, the focus is not on individuals but on theological
themes. He prefaces this analysis with a sizable and excellent
study of the roots of the Reformation. Simple, clear.
Carter Lindberg, The Reformation
Theologians: An Introduction to the Theology of the Early Modern
Period, The Great Theologians (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). An excellent collection of brief essays surveying
the key Reformation theologians and Reformation theologies. This is
a good complement to McGrath’s study since it focuses more on
individuals than themes.
David Bagchi & David Steinmetz, eds.,
The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Hockenbery Dragseth, The Devil’s Whore: Reason and Philosophy in
Lutheran Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011).
Timothy George, Theology of the
Reformers (B&H Publishing, 1999).
Alister E. McGrath & Darren C.
Marks, eds. The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism,
Blackwell Companions to Religion (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A
History of the Doctrine of Justification, 2nd ed. (New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Donald K. McKim, ed., The
Westminster Handbook to Reformed Theology (Louisville, KY:
Westminster John Knox, 2005).
Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2011)
Heiko Oberman, The Impact of the
Reformation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994).
Jaroslav Pelikan, Reformation of
Church and Dogma (1300-1700) vol. 4 of The Christian
Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983).
Jill Raitt, ed., Christian
Spirituality II: High Middle Ages and Reformation (New York:
Bernard M.G. Reardon, Religious
Thought in the Reformation, 2nd ed. (Addison Wesley, 1995).
Carter Lindberg, The European
Reformations Sourcebook (New York: Blackwell, 1999). A companion volume to Lindberg’s European Reformations.
Brief excerpts from a variety of source
documents. It does much to bring alive the world of the
Gerald Bray, ed., Documents of the
English Reformation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994).
Scott H. Hendrix,
ed. and trans., Early Protestant Spirituality, Classics of
Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 2009).
Hans Hillerbrand, ed., The
Reformation: A Narrative History Related by Contemporary Observers
and Participants (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978).
Denis R. Janz & Shirley E. Jordan,
ed., A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts with Introductions
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999).
Eric Lund, Documents from the
History of Lutheranism, 1517-1750 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
Robert S. Miola, ed., Early Modern
Catholicism: An Anthology of Primary Sources (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2007).
John Baillie, John T. McNeill, and
Henry P. Van Dusen, eds., Library of Christian Classics
(Philadelphia: Westminster, 1950s). An older series;
volumes go in and out of print:
G.W. Bromiley, ed.,
Zwingli and Bullinger
Joseph Haroutunian, ed.,
John T. McNeill, ed.,
Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion
Wilhelm Pauck, ed.,
Luther: Lectures on Romans
Wilhelm Pauck, ed.,
Melanchthon and Bucer
E. Gordon Rupp & Philip S.
Watson, ed., Luther and Erasmus: Free
Will and Salvation
George H. Williams & Angel
M. Mergal, ed., Spiritual and