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The Protestant Reformation Paperback – August 4, 2009

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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.

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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 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Casad on July 10, 2001
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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on November 11, 2006
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 7, 2013
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By church history fan on December 3, 2006
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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