This very good collection of essays contains the following informative works:
The Many Faces of the Reformation
- Euan Cameron: Reconsidering Early-Reformation and Catholic-Reform Impulses –
- Randall C. Zachman: The Birth of Protestantism? Or the Reemergence of the Catholic Church? How Its Participants Understood the Evangelical Reformation
Interpretations of Scripture in the Reformation Period
- Manfred Oeming: The Importance of the Old Testament for the Reformer Martin Luther –
- Greta Grace Kroeker: Erasmus and Scripture –
- Paul Silas Peterson: »The Text of the Bible is Stronger«: The Rebirth of Scriptural Authority in the Reformation and it Significance
The Reformation as an Interpretative Event
- Emidio Campi: The Myth of the Reformation –
- Scott Dixon: The German Reformation as a Historiographical Construct: The Shaping of the Narrative from Melanchthon to Walch –
- Ute Lotz-Heumann: Confessionalization is Dead, Long Live the Reformation? Reflections on Historiographical Paradigm Shifts on the Occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
The Aftermath of the Reformation Period
- John O’Malley: Catholic Pastoral Care: The Early Modern Period –
- Jan Stievermann: Early American Protestantism and the Confessionalization Paradigm: A Critical Inquiry
Confessional Empires, Missions, and Nations
- Simon Ditchfield: The »Making« of Roman Catholicism as a »World Religion« –
- Patrick Griffin: The Last War of Religion or the First War for Empire? Reconsidering the Meaning of The Seven Years’ War in America –
- Hartmut Lehmann: Nationalism as Poison in the Veins of Western Christianity, c. 1800 – c. 1950
Confessional Modernities, Enlightenment and Secularization
- John Betz: J. G. Hammann as a Radical Reformer: Two Mites Toward a Post-Secular, Ecumenical Theology –
- Volker Leppin: Friedrich Gogarten’s Theology of Secularization
Confessional Cultures: Legal and Diaconical Traditions
- Christoph Strohm: Confession and Law in Early Modern Europe –
- Johannes Eurich: The Influence of Religious Traditions on Social Welfare Development: Observations from the Perspective of Comparative Welfare State Research
Scripture and the Evangelical-Pietist Tradition
- Ryan P. Hoselton: »Flesh and Blood Hath Not Revealed It«: Reformation Exegetical Legacies in Pietism and Early Evangelicalism –
- Douglas A. Sweeney: The Still-Enchanted World of Jonathan Edwards’ Exegesis and the Paradox of Modern Evangelical Supernaturalism
Scriptural Authority and Biblical Scholarship in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
- Friederike Nüssel: The Value of the Bible: Martin Kähler’s Theology of Scripture and its Ecumenical Impact –
- David Lincicum: Ferdinand Christian Baur, the New Testament, and the Principle of Protestantism –
- Matthias Konradt: Sola Scriptura and Historical-Critical Exegesis
These essays were all originally papers delivered at three different academic meetings all centered on the them of the varieties of the Reformation. The topics are wide ranging as are the backgrounds of the contributors. All are in English.
The strength of the volume is the breadth of topics considered. But that is also its weakness. That is, the vast array of subjects addressed is both engaging (as when one is reading a magazine that covers a lot of different topics) and disorienting (in that topics flit from one branch to another, never really alighting on one long enough for it to be fully developed).
The volume lacks an organinzing center. When one is one moment following a discussion of the importance of the Old Testament for Luther and the next an essay about Pastoral care in the Reformation and then an essay on nationalism as a poison in the veins of Western Christianity, then one can feel a bit dizzied.
To be sure, the aim of the volume is to show a multitude of perspectives on the Reformation and its outworkings. But so many manifestations of the Reformation under one cover may be a bit much. One gets the feeling that one isn’t reading a book so much as a collection of student papers which are all addressing the broadly stated assignment of ‘writing an essay on some aspect, any aspect of the Reformation, that you wish’.
In spite, however, of the ‘shotgun’ style of the volume, it is very informative. Especially helpful are the essays by Zachmann, Oeming, Campi, Lehmann, Leppin, Nüssel, (whose essay was particularly intriguing), and Strohm. I would have, I think, enjoyed hearing those papers delivered along with what must surely have been additional spoken details which didn’t make it into the polished final versions.
The volume’s introduction describes the various colloquia during which the papers were delivered. At the end of the volume are found a list of contributors (2 of which are women) and an index of persons.
This volume explores the inherent pluralism of the Reformation and its manifold legacies from an ecumenical and interdisciplinary point of view, asserts the dust jacket. And that is most certainly true. Readers interested in a forest of Reformation trees will truly find the volume useful. So it certainly is something worth recommending, which I do.
Readers simply need to be prepared to hop and skip about on the variegated checkerboard that is the volume’s contents. But all the hopping and skipping is worth the effort.