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The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe Paperback – September 10, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0300027600 ISBN-10: 0300027605 Edition: 8.11.1981

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 8.11.1981 edition (September 10, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300027605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300027600
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I think this should the FIRST book anyone reads on the Reformation.
Jason Jewell
The conciliar movement is well documented by Ozment, as are the tensions between "mystical" and "scholastic" theology that were commonly spoken of at that time.
benjamin
It is easy to follow, but rich in detail and replete with primary sources of great interest.
Karl M. G. Brose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jason Jewell on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ozment does a wonderful job of showing that the story of the Reformation does NOT begin with the posting of the 95 theses in 1517. Rather, the events of the 1500s were the culmination of a centuries-old search for truth. Ozment's account of the Reformation as something unfolding out of the Middle Ages is much more instructive than the standard view, which treats the Reformation as a starting point for this or that development. This book grounds Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Ignatius firmly in the tradition of medieval scholastic, mystic, and ecclesio-political thought, as well as Renaissance humanism. Additional chapters are devoted to clerical marriage and resistance to tyranny, two legacies of Protestantism that Ozment finds particularly compelling. To top it off, the author has obviously done his homework; every significant interpretation by previous scholars receives due note here. I think this should the FIRST book anyone reads on the Reformation.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Smith on July 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is simply a fantastic presentation of the historical, theological, and philosophical background of the Reformation. This book apparently won the 1981 "Philip Schaff Prize of the American Society of Church History" award, and is certainly worthy of it. Ozment traces the course of scholasticism, mysticism, monasticism, the papacy, humanism, etc., all in a masterful way that shows how these diverse and complex movements culminated in the Reformation. The text is well documented, and, thankfully, uses footnotes rather than endnotes so one does not have to constantly turn to the end of the book to view the source of a citation. In my opinion this is one of the best works on intellectual and church history that I have ever read. Be warned, however, this book is not for the feint hearted. It is definitely a graduate level text, or for the serious student of the late Medieval and Reformation periods.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By benjamin on June 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
It is quite amazing that of all the books that exist on the Protestant Reformation, very few chart the intellectual and theological history as being the primary moving force of the Protestant movement. It is still further disheartening that many books wish to treat the Reformation as if it were some sort of absolute novelty and break with the whole of the medieval Western European tradition. Steven Ozment's brilliant study - winner of the Phillip Schaff Award in 1980 - not only bucks the trend on both of these issues, but even traces relevant facets of cultural history - such as the printing press - as he puts the Protestant Reformation into both context and continuity with the medieval era.

More than half the book is spent detailing the medieval world and various theories that would be of the utmost importance to the Reformers: salvation and certainty of knowledge, in particular. The picture that emerges is one in which the Reformation is, in many ways, the absolutely logical outcome of the major trends in believing and practicing the faith after St. Thomas Aquinas. The harmonious worldview that Aquinas sought to put forth in his synthesis of Aristotle and Catholic revelation is largely rejected after the 14th century (re: after the Black Death, in which nearly 40% of Europe's population died).

It has become popular - and for good reason - to note that the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have a number of trends that are continuous with the Protestant Reformers, although they are rejected by Roman Catholicism. The conciliar movement is well documented by Ozment, as are the tensions between "mystical" and "scholastic" theology that were commonly spoken of at that time.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Rein on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ozment is a brilliantly clear writer, always engaging, never dry or confusing. I've always thought this work is an example of how a textbook ought to be written. Accessible for undergraduates (if a little too information-dense at times) but never oversimplifying the material (a problem with Lindberg's European Reformations). He even manages to tie the whole book together with a narrative structure that keeps you involved as the story unfolds. He was my teacher, so I guess I'm biased, but not TOO biased.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Q on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steven Ozment's writing stands head and shoulders above that of most historians. He makes the difficult and thorny religious issues of this period accessible and interesting. At the same time, he goes in depth and never oversimplifies the complicated issues at stake in this period. Even scholars very familiar with this period will learn from this book. Most histories of the Reformation skim over lightly the medieval background. A great strength of this book is the in-depth treatment of the late medieval religious and intellectual period. Ozment gives insightful treatments of Thomism, late-medieval nominalism, mysticism, Renaissance humanism, anti-clericalism, and how all these contributed to the Protestant Reformation and modernity. Although he focuses on intellectual and religious history, he also discusses the political and social history since religion, politics, and culture cannot be separated in this period. Another notable feature of Ozment's treatment is that he recognizes and discusses the interpretive controversies of Reformation and Renaissance historians. He gives very fair summaries of the positions of the leading scholars, including their strengths and weaknesses; these summaries are very handy for graduate or undergraduate students who need to write an essay on this period. I give this book my highest recommendation. For anyone interested in Christianity and its role in the development of modernity, this book is essential!
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