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The Protestant Reformation Paperback – August 4, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This collection of important primary sources pertaining to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century has had an amazingly persistent history. Originally published some 40 years ago, it still enjoys the confidence of students of the Reformation. In contrast to most other source collections, The Protestant Reformation offered lengthy excerpts from important primary sources, rather than short snippets, so as to provide the reader with an understanding of the broader cogency and dynamic of an author's arguments. However, since the time of the original publication, the study of the Reformation of the sixteenth century has taken several important turns that have revised or changed the traditional understanding. Accordingly, these new perspectives need to be noted. This new edition seeks to accommodate these new trends and perspectives while retaining the basic orientation of the original edition. It includes texts written by women as well as texts dealing with popular religion. Its basic assumption, however, continues to be that religion - no matter how variously dependent on societal forces--must be seen as the pivotal element in the story of the sixteenth century.

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; Revised edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061148474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061148477
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
We should never forget the 'so-called' beginning of that movement, the Reformation, when Luther banged a notice on a church door that served as a bulletin board for the community. That message quickly spread and the 95 theological theses became the catalyst for the burning question of where ultimate authority could be found. For Luther, the evident and emerging answer was found in the NT itself, whereas for all his opponents that was safeguarded by the person of the Pope himself. So when in 1517 the start was ushered in by the clanging of a hammer, it was Jesus in reality banging at the door of the church which had replaced Him with ritual, ceremony, pomp and most of all superstition.

Of the many alternate, sometimes overlapping and quite ingenious explanations of the whys and wherefores of the reformation, one still must pay heed to the theological core as a succinct and comprehensive answer. Among the better scholars of the Reformation Era is Hans Hillerbrand. His insight should be highlighted.

"To be sure, Luther and his fellow-reformers now and then talked about the correction of ecclesiastical abuses and their efforts may have been so understood by the people. But the real thrust of the reformers was in a different direction - a reinterpretation of the gospel. The reformers propounded a different understanding of the New Testament, and while this understanding had connections with the theological tradition of the Fathers, especially St. Augustine, it can justifiably be called new. When the Protestants talked about "reform," therefore, they thought not so much about the practical life of the church as about a new theological understanding." [Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed. The Protestant Reformation in Documentary History of Western Civilization, ed. Eugene C. Black & Leonard W.
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