Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A History of Lutheranism

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

A History of Lutheranism

Article excerpt

A History of Lutheranism, Second Edition. By Eric W. Gritch. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010, Pp. xvi, 351. $35.00.)

It is no small task to write the history of a five-hundred-year-old religious tradition. Eric W. Gritsch offers a comprehensive introduction to this historical and contemporary global movement in A History of Lutheranism. His careful and wide-ranging scholarship is welcome. Likewise welcome is the accessible style of Gritsch 's presentation, appealing to those with scholarly concerns, as well as some whose interest may be more casual. Illustrations of major figures and events bring the author's vibrant prose even more life.

Gritsch 's presentation is particularly strong in die early chapters of die book, in which he focuses on Luther's theological insights and his complex relationships with Frederick of Saxony, Philip Melanchthon, Pope Leo X, and the Emperor Charles V. Gritsch is likewise strong in describing the development of early doctrine. Later chapters devote attention to the spread of Lutheranism throughout Europe and especially into the Scandinavian countries, Ludieran interaction with the reformed movements, seventeentfi-century confessional identity, eighteenth-century pietistic developments, missionary efforts, and the rise of ecumenism. A final chronology provides significant dates in Lutheranism juxtaposed with events in world history.

Gritsch notes that his intention is not to focus on histories of individual churches (xiii) . This is likely die only manageable approach to the study of a diverse global communion in a single volume. However, the result is that his treatment of developments in any particular country can seem cursory, especially after the eighteenth century when Lutheranism expanded beyond Northern Europe. …

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