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The Protestant Reformation (Documentary History of Western Civilization) [Paperback]

Hans J. Hillerbrand
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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The Protestant Reformation The Protestant Reformation 4.2 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

January 31, 1968 0061313424 978-0061313424 First Edition

"Many basic questions surround the Reformation. What were its causes? Was it precipitated by the Zeitgeist prevailing in Europe, so that there would have been a religious upheaval even if Luther or Zwingli had died in their cradles? Was the Reformation an authentically religious phenomenon, or the result of certain political, social, or economic developments? Was it 'medievil' or 'modern' in its orientation? What was the teaching of the Reformers? What was the significance of the Reformation? The measure of scholarly agreement with respect to these questions differs; far from offering definitive answers, we can here only call attention to their persistent presence....

"When the reformers who had first ventured a new interpretation of the gospel had passed from the scene, the question which had haunted the Reformation from its very inception--where is truth?--was still contested by the proponents of the old and the new faith. But one fact was beyond dispute: Western Christendom was tragically divided...into no less than five [religious factions]....Though these divisions were the result of intense religious conviction, they could not help but lessen the intensity of religious belief in Europe. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was the last period in the history of Western civilization when men were preoccupied with religion, argued it, fought and even died for it. Its consequences are still with us." --Hans J. Hillerbrand

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hans J. Hillerbrand is the former chair of the department of religion at Duke University. A recognized expert on the Reformation and the history of modern Christianity, he has published many articles and books on the period and was the editor in chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. He is the former president of both the American Academy of Religion and the American Society of Church History, and he lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (January 31, 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061313424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061313424
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Document July 10, 2001
This is a great collection of works that changed the face of Christianity in the 16th century. Using original source documents compiled into this reader, Hillerbrand gives space to explore the major reformation movements of the Evangelicals (Luther), the Reformed Church (Calvin), as well as the Anabaptists and other movements so commonly reduced to the Reformation. I used this book for an undergraduate course on the History of Reformation Europe and found it to be an excellent source, especially when paired with John Olin's compilation of original source documents on the Catholic Reformation.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best collection of short sources available. April 13, 1999
By A Customer
This is a selection of primary source readings from the period. It isn't designed to take the place of a more comprehensive narrative history. Hillerbrand includes a helpful variety of extracts from Luther, Zwingli, the Anabaptists, Calvin, and the English Reformation, all with brief introductions.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make this your 2nd book on the Reformation November 11, 2006
If you're interested in learning about the history of the Protestant Reformation and the impact it has had on the world, this is not the first book I would recommend. Hillerbrand's book is, however, probably the 2nd book I would recommend. Start with a broader, more comprehensive history that ties everything together, then read this book for the actual writings by the people who shaped the Reformation. Hillerbrand writes an excellent introduction, and a chronology/timeline lists the major events, but the real strength of the book is in presenting the actual writings by the movers and shakers of the Reformation.

My favorite part was the chapter on Martin Luther. Luther wrote for the common man, and his words are amazingly clear and concise. The theological issues that Luther wrote about are as relevant today as they were five centuries ago when Luther lived.

One fascinating chapter contained parts of William Tyndale's New Testament, published about 80 years before the King James Bible. It's amazing how much the English language changed in those years. The Tyndale Bible is very difficult to read, while the KJ version is close to modern English.

These writings make the Reformers come alive as real people. Fascinating reading.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Protestant Reformation June 8, 2000
By A Customer
One of the few books that makes sources of the Protestant Reformation available and accessible to students. A well thought out collection of documents with useful introductions that covers the Reformation from Luther through the English Reformation. The introductions are clear and to the point. The sources are well-chosen to bring out some of the major literature of the period.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Protestant Reformation November 15, 2010
By Monica
If you want to know how it all started and why and who the key players are, I highly recommend this book. I had to read it for a college course I was taking and as I read it, I truly appreciated it as required reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid primary source work December 3, 2006
don't listen to the negative reviews. I had Dr. Hillerbrand as a professor during my undergrad time at duke, and not only is he a solid scholar of the reformation, but this book is a solid primary source collection as well.
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