The general subject of church history continues to generate considerable interest; important works were written during the last year in all aspects of the discipline. The Puritans attracted a good deal of attention, both the British and the American varieties, and advances were made in producing primary source materials. Writers such as Thomas Boston, Jonathan Edwards, and John Bunyan received special attention. The medieval period was looked at with more than the usual interest, also with a view to making primary sources available. This interest is perhaps the logical extension backwards of Renaissance/Reformation studies. The problems faced during that period arose earlier, and resulted in necessary attention to their origin.
The social and political aspects of church life and history provide a focus that one finds in almost all the areas. With such a stress today upon sociopolitical considerations, it is only natural to take a careful look at earlier periods of church history to see what insight can be gained by discovering what the church did or did not do in dealing with its problems.
There was another focus upon the place individuals played in history: kings, queens, statesmen, theologians, and saints all came in for biographical treatment. In some instances the prayers or significant writings of these history makers were made available for the first time. There is apparently a growing appreciation for what one person can do to shape the course of a given age.
It would be extremely difficult to determine which books are the best of the year for evangelicals; nevertheless, an attempt will be made. These books do not necessarily reflect an evangelical point of view; they are, however, books from which evangelicals could ...1
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