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Restoration of Christianity: An English Translation of Christianismi Restitutio [Hardcover]

by Michael Servetus, Christopher A. Hoffman and Marian Hillar
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)


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Book Description

April 30, 2007 0773455205 978-0773455207
Servetus was a unique and central figure in European history. When he was burned alive in Geneva on October 27, 1553, all unbound copies of his major work went up in smoke with him. Today, only three surviving copies of the original publication are known. Except for a fragment of a few pages concerning the famous discovery of the pulmonary circulation, the book was never translated into English. The present edition is the first translation into English and includes the first part of the original text.


Editorial Reviews

From the Author

When Servetus was burned alive in Geneva on October 27, 1553, all unbound copies of his major work, Christianismi restitutio, went up in smoke together with him. Today only three surviving copies of the original publication are known: 1. one in the National Library of Austria in Vienna; 2. one in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and this copy was most likely used by Germain Colladon, attorney acting on behalf of Nicolas de la Fontaine during Servetus' trial in Geneva; 3. and one copy in the library of the University of Edinburgh. The latter lacks the first sixteen pages and the title page. These were replaced by manuscript pages reproduced in the sixteenth century from another manuscript. Restitutio was circulated after Servetus' death in the form of copied manuscripts. In 1790 the German erudite, a follower of Unitarianism, Dr. Christoph Gottlieb von Murr made a handwritten copy of the exemplar from the National Library in Vienna and published almost an exact replica of the original book in Nürnberg. There are about 53 exemplars of this publication in various libraries. The Murr reprint was reproduced in 1966 by a new photographic technique and serves today as the research tool for Servetian studies. A reprint of the selected fragments from the Restitutio concerning the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of the Antichrist, pedobaptism and circumcision, was also published by Giorgio Biandrata in Transylvania in 1569. The first translation of a small tractate attached to the Restitutio and titled Sixty signs of the Antichrist was made by Grzegorz Paweł in Poland in 1568. Except for a fragment of a few pages concerning the famous discovery of the pulmonary circulation, the book was never translated into English. The present book is the first translation of the frirst part of Servetus' work which was entitled De Trinitate (on the Trinity). We hope that this long overdue English translation of the major Servetus' work will stimulate new studies on this fascinating scholar, reformer, and visionary. Servetus was a unique and central figure in European history who originated or anticipated many later new developments and trends produced by the Enlightenment and modern times. His memory should be kept alive not only because of his ideas but also as a symbol reminding us about the twisted ways that humanity pursues its destiny.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Edwin Mellen Pr (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0773455205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773455207
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,936,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritually Revolutionary Book October 8, 2007
Format:Hardcover
"There is nothing greater, reader, than to recognize that God has been manifested as substance, and that His divine nature has been truly communicated to mankind. It is in Christ alone that we shall fully apprehend the manifestation of God Himself through the Word" (Preamble to Restoration of Christianity).

Read this book to understand the idea that Michael Servetus was willing to die for, his idea of God. His theology was unlike any that came before it, one which he thought would be the basis for a Restored Christianity. But he was misunderstood, misrepresented, and brutally murdered because of his ideas.

His ideas are still misunderstood and misrepresented today. That is why the publishing of this book in English is so important. Servetus doesn't fit in almost anywhere (except with Swedenborg). He says the idea of three distinct persons in God tears God apart and leaves only a void, but he also affirms the divinity of Christ, unlike modern Unitarians. It seems so simple to defend the idea that God is One, and that He manifested Himself in the human form of Jesus Christ, but somehow many people think this idea is absurd.

What were the Protestants and Catholic leaders all so afraid of that they felt the need to snuff out this flame of theological reason. I believe they were afraid that Servetus' ideas were indeed what they claimed to be: a basis for the overthrow of the Christian tyrants' doctrine, and the basis for a New Christianity.

Expect to see how Servetus defends his doctrine with the scriptures, and enjoy his wrath against the abuse of Christ's message.

"May the Lord destroy all the tyrants of the Church.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Restoration of Christianity November 17, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On October 27, 1553, Michael servetus and all but three original copies of his book were burned at the stake in Geneva. Four hundred fifty years later, several Paris Unitarian-Universalists were privileged to see an unburnt 1553 edition of "Christianismi restitutio" at the Bibliotheque Nationale rare book library in Paris. On that day I asked whether anyone had translated it into English and was told that Professor Alicia McNary Forsey from Berkeley, California, had already initiated this project.

That Forsey continued to serve as Managing Editor and Project Director of this translation has now been verified by Angel Arcala, the Servetus scholar who wrote the text's superb forward. Forsey's determination to employ translators who stuck to what and how Servetus wrote shines throughout this work. For example, her editing never allows the language Servetus used to be recast into modern wording, thus giving the reader an authentic feel for the tone and the style of the 16th century. Only the errors made by Servetus himself are allowed here -- and even these are faithfully rendered into English by Christopher Hoffman and then copiously annotated by Marian Hillar.

As a cardiac surgeon, I was particularly impressed with how this book depicts the most famous portion of "Christianismi restitutio", the section that proves Servetus, not William Harvey, first understood how blood circulates from the lungs to the heart. A few short accounts of Servetus' discovery have appeared in English before, but those previous versions "do not render the correct meaning of the Servetus text ... and do not reflect the entire thought of Servetus." The present translation succeeds admirably.

My only hesitancy in giving this book a five-star rating aims at the Mellen Press for not putting Dr. Forsey's name on the cover. Hopefully Mellen can correct this omission in its second edition.
Alan T. Marty MD, FACS, FACC, FCCM, FCCP
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