The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought

The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought

The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought

The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought

Synopsis

Throughout these essays there runs a common theme: the need to place the Reformation movement in its medieval context, and to bridge the ideological gaps between late medieval Renaissance, and Reformation studies.

The opening chapters consider late medieval thought and the emergence of the young Luther at the center of the Reformation movement. There follows a study of the impact upon Luther of the philological, spiritual, and philosophical traditions of sixteen-century Europe. These traditions are fully examined in order to discern what Luther and his followers silently ignored or rejected, and so to delineate what is new and original in early Reformation thought.

The remaining chapters move from Luther to the wider world of events marking the Reformation era: the Peasant War, the Copernican Revolution, the beginning of the Counter-reformation and the reformed initiated by the Council of Trent.

" Here is Oberman at his most provocative and creative, a scholar from whom one always learns something new. "

Professor Steven Ozment

"Harvard University"

"At last, a Protestant scholar, with immense learning, has landed on this dark side of the moon, with scholarly essays as enthralling as they are indispensable. "

Reverend Professor Gordon Rupp

"Emeritus Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Cambridge"

Excerpt

This volume brings together articles which were written over a twentyfive year period and published variously in faraway and seemingly unrelated places: Harvard and Tubingen, Potchefstroom and Edinburgh. Yet there is a common and central theme: each of these articles testifies to the need and value of placing the Reformation movement in its medieval context and bridging the ideological gaps between late medieval, Renaissance and Reformation studies.

The first six chapters are dedicated to the emergence of the young Luther and his reformation programme. In a sense, the title of the collection itself constitutes a programme insofar as it confronts the romantic vision of a Luther who suddenly appears as a solitary shining morning star, out of the blue skies: the 'Dawn' calls attention to that period of adumbration and clarification in which the Wittenberg reformer was hindered and helped, enriched and infuriated, shaped and sharpened by the conflicting claims of mysticism, Augustinianism, nominalism and renaissance humanism. The impact upon Luther of these philological, spiritual and philosophical traditions must be closely scrutinized in terms of his own response to them; but they have also to be understood in their own right in order to discern what is silently ignored or rejected, and so to delineate the dimensions of what is new and original in early Reformation thought.

The second half of this volume expands the focus from Luther to the broader spectrum of events which mark the Reformation era: the Peasant War and the Copernican Revolution, the beginning of the Counterreformation and the reform initiated by the Council of Trent - all of these reflected in John Calvin's catholic breadth of intellectual concern.

Both the medieval and the modern 'contexts' remind us also that the treasures of this heritage are contained 'in earthen vessels'.

Heiko A. Oberman

Tucson, Arizona

April 6, 1986 . . .

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