The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Modern Period

By Jensen, Gordon A. | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Modern Period


Jensen, Gordon A., Anglican Theological Review


The Reformation Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Early Modern Period. Edited by Carter Lindberg. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002. xiv + 396 pp. $76.95 (cloth); $38.95 (paper).

The European Reformations. By Carter Lindberg. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. xvi + 446 pp. $39.95 (paper).

The Reformation Theologians is a delightful collection of brief glimpses ol reformers during the Reformation era. Edited by Carter Lindberg, this hook is replete with introductions to the reformers and their theologies. What is most fascinating about this collection, however, is that the articles cover not only the "big name" theologians, but the theology of many other personalities in each of the theological traditions of this period in history. Thus, for example, the section on Lutheran reformers includes not only chapters on Luther and Melanchthon, but also on Flacius, von Grumbach, Rhegius, Brenz, and Chemnitz. Among the reformed tradition scholars covered are Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, Vermigli, Beza Schutz Zell, Cranmer, and Hooker. There are also sections on humanist theologians d'Etaples and Erasmus; Roman Catholic theologians Cajetan, More, Ignatius of Loyola, and Teresa of Avila; and radical theologians von Karlstadt, Muntzer, Schwenfeld, and Menno Simons. As Lindberg notes, the plan was to also include chapters on Bucer and Fisher, but they were not submitted in time for publication (p. vii).

This collection of essays on the various theologians is generally very good. It does suffer from some inconsistencies, however, primarily because each theologian was covered by a different author with a distinct writing style. Some of the chapters also attempt too much; while trying to describe the complexities of the theologian in question, the authors lose the main focus. Thus, it is left to the reader to discover the overriding concerns of the theologians themselves.

One of the delights of this book, however, is the inclusion of a few chapters on women theologians of the period. Argula von Grumbach, Katharina Schutz Zell, and Teresa of Avila help the reader to get a glimpse into women's writings during the Reformation era, writings that have been forgotten for far too long. …

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