My Top Five Classics of Reformation Studies
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My own approach to Reformation studies has been greatly shaped by the authors of these five classic studies, each of whom I have been privileged to know personally. George Huntston Williams was my major professor and great friend at Harvard University, and I serve now as his literary executor. The first book I published was in a series edited by Heiko Oberman, a scholar of enormous energy and one of the finest classroom teachers I have known. Roland Bainton was a marvelous storyteller and had a distinctive knack for making history come alive. Jaraslav Pelikan was a scholar who transcended limits. He was a master linguist and wrote with sterling clarity. Patrick Collinson I met only once at a conference on the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation. I have learned more about the Puritans from him than from anyone else.
This book was first published in 1950, the year I was born. I first read it as an undergraduate, and it hooked me on the Reformation. Here I Stand tells the story of Luther as it has never been told before or since. Doctor Martinus almost steps off every page, a real human being beset by guilt but saved by grace. The woodcuts Bainton included in this book are a visual feast of Reformation iconography.
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The Radical Reformation
Williams argued that the Radical Reformation deserved scholarly attention in its own right, not merely as a reactionary "left wing" to other movements. This book traces the interconnections among a multitude of radical reformers, all of whom challenged the ecclesial and political structures of their time in their quest for an authentic Christianity. Williams himself coined the term "Radical Reformation" and provided a typology ...