The Scottish Reformation In Retrospect

A Church History of Scotland, by J. H. S. Burleigh (Oxford, 1960, 456 pp., $5.88); The Story of the Scottish Reformation, by A. M. Renwick (Eerdmans, 1960, 176 pp., $1.25); and The Scottish Reformation 1560, by Gordon Donaldson (Cambridge, 1960, 242 pp., $4.20), are reviewed by W. Stanford Reid, Professor of History, McGill University, Montreal.

The year 1560 was in a very special sense the year of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, for in August the Scottish Estates rejected the ecclesiastical superiority of the pope, forbade the celebration of the Mass, and established a church with a Reformed Confession. Because of the significance of these events, during 1960 English-speaking Reformed Churches throughout the world have, in various ways, commemorated the Scottish Reformation. As one might expect, numerous books and articles dealing with the topic have appeared on the market both to enlighten and at times confuse the reading public.

As one surveys the crop of publications dealing with the Scottish Reformation, one cannot but feel uncertainty owing to the wide divergence of point of view and interpretation. Indeed, even the Roman Catholics have assumed a role in the act with, as one might expect, a hardly sympathetic approach to the movement, and in particular to John Knox (cf. The Innes Review, Glasgow, 1959, vol. 10). On the other hand, Protestants of various stripes have produced a good many works with varying emphases. One might mention for instance the work of Dr. Geddes MacGregor formerly of Scotland but now of Bryn Mawr, titled The Thundering Scot (Philadelphia, 1959), in which the author spends much of his time discussing Knox’s political views, but never once mentions the ...

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