Jan Hus's status as a forgotten figure becomes a problem when you start looking for more information about him—unless you read Czech or really enjoy using inter-library loan. This list will at least get you started.

The Classics

The big name in English-language Hus studies is Matthew Spinka, a native Bohemian Protestant who later taught church history at Hartford Theological Seminary. His John Hus: A Biography (Princeton, 1968), published after his retirement, is the definitive biography, and John Hus' Concept of the Church (Princeton, 1966), based heavily on primary sources, illuminates the subject's nuanced theology.

Spinka also contributed greatly to the field as an editor and translator. The Letters of Jan Hus (Manchester, 1972) contains all 105 surviving letters and documents relating to Hus. John Hus at the Council of Constance (Columbia, 1965) features an eyewitness account of Hus's trial and execution, as well as a lengthy introduction on the conciliar movement and a selection of relevant letters and documents.

Before Spinka, the best known Hus scholar in America was David S. Schaff, a professor of church history at Western Theological Seminary. His translation of Hus's most influential book, De Ecclesia (The Church) (Scribner's, 1915), is the best available. Schaff also published a biography, John Huss (Scribner's, 1915), which, though dated, is very readable and offers some shrewd insights.

New(er) and Noteworthy

Spinka made such a mark in Hus studies that no one else attempted a full English study for more than 30 years. Then in 1998, Thomas A. Fudge (the author of "To Build a Fire," page 10) published The Magnificent Ride: The First Reformation in Hussite Bohemia (Ashgate). Fudge begins with a look at Hus, then focuses ...

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