Category Archives: Reformation

Martin Bucer (1491–1551): Collected studies on his life, work, doctrine, and influence

This volume is of interest to all who care about important things.

This present volume aims to stimulate Bucer-research as it brings together a selection of the best of De Kroon’s and Van ’t Spijker’s articles some of which appear for the first time in English translation. In the first section Bucer is described as taking his independent stand in the patristic and scholastic tradition. The next five articles go into the close personal and theological relation between Bucer and John Calvin and make clear how much of Bucer works through in Calvin and Calvinism. Bucer’s efforts to bridge theological and ecclesiastical gaps brought him often in discussion with catholic as well as protestant theologians. How he dealt with this is the topic of the third section in this volume. The two following articles deal with his view on discipline and on the right of resistance. The next articles deal with Bucer’s doctrinal legacy and the last section focuses on sanctification as one of the most important characteristics of his theology.The most important issues of contemporary Bucer-research and the outlines of his theology are convincingly presented in this volume by known experts for this topic.

V&R have sent along a review copy.  If you are interested in the front matter and the table of contents, you can download a pdf of all that here.  Like the other volumes in this exceptionally articulate series, this volume brings to light valuable information about its subject matter.

Though most of the essays are by two persons (see the TOC), the value of the collection of essays is not thereby diminished.  The layout of the volume is quite sensible and the contents seamlessly fit together to conspire to offer a coherent whole which could well serve as both an introduction to the thought of Bucer and an introduction to an important era in the history of the Reformation.

The essays appear in about an even linguistic distribution of German and English offerings.  Particularly enjoyable – at least to the present reviewer – are

  • Willem van ’t Spijker – ‘You have a different spirit from us’ Luther to Bucer in Marburg, Sunday 3 October 1529.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Die Augsburger Reformation in der Korrespondenz des Straßburger Reformators Martin Bucer unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Briefwechsels Gereon Sailers.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Freedom and Bondage.
  • Marijn de Kroon – Martin Bucer and the Problem of Tolerance.

The others are quite useful but these four are really remarkably important and revelatory.  And though the word ‘groundbreaking’ is used far too often to describe academic works, it fits in this case.

A word about the series in which this volume appears seems in order at this juncture.  It is superb.  Herman Selderhuis is doing a really brilliant job of assembling volumes for this series which instruct and inspire research.  Every book in the series not only informs but they also prod thought and almost impel further studies.  In the best possible sense, each of these works is a treasure.

I highly recommend both this volume and its series companions.  None have yet disappointed and none will ever disappoint one fiftieth as much as your local and national politicians will.

The Reformation Celebrated in Indonesia

Society for Reformation Studies

2018 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of the convening of the Synod of Dordt, one of the most important gatherings of Protestant divines before modern times, with representatives drawn from Reformed churches across Europe, including Britain. The anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect upon the Synod itself, and more widely on the Reformed tradition in its various manifestations, and on its relationship with the broader Reformation.

A whole lot more is available here.  Including registration.

Die schweizerische Reformation: Ein Handbuch

Die Reformation ist eines der grossen Ereignisse der Schweizer Geschichte. Die neuen religiösen Auffassungen lösen heftige soziale Konflikte aus, die die Vertrauensbasis zwischen den katholischen und protestantischen Orten erschüttern und den Zusammenhalt der Eidgenossenschaft infrage stellen. Der starke Einfluss des Humanismus, die ausgewogenen Machtverhältnisse in den Städten und die religiöse Autonomie vieler Landgemeinden – das alles zusammen gibt der Reformation in der Schweiz ein unverwechselbares Profil.

Das Handbuch zeichnet detailliert die Ausbreitung der reformatorischen Bewegung in den Städten Zürich, Bern, Basel, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen und in den ländlichen Gebieten wie Graubünden, Appenzell und der französischsprachigen Schweiz, aber auch die gescheiterten Reformationen oder die Täuferbewegung nach. Es zeigt, wie sich im Lauf des 16. Jahrhunderts aus einer diffusen Bewegung eine disziplinierte Gruppe von Kirchen mit definierten Glaubenssätzen und eigenständiger Kultur entwickelt hat, und erkundet die Langzeitfolgen der Reformation auf die schweizerische Gesellschaft, auf die religiöse Kultur wie die Alltagskultur, auf Bildung, Gemeinwesen und Politik.  Mit Beiträgen von Irena Backus, Jan-Andrea Bernhard, Erich Bryner, Amy Nelson Burnett, Emidio Campi, Bruce Gordon, Kaspar von Greyerz, Sundar Henny, Karin Maag, Thomas Maissen, Martin Sallmann, Regula Schmid und Andrea Strübind.

The publisher has graciously provided a review copy.  More in due course.

Alister McGrath on ‘Protestantism’s Dangerous Idea’

The essay is here.

To its many supporters, the Protestant Reformation represented a necessary correction and long overdue renewal of the Christian faith, liberating it from its imprisonment to the transient medieval intellectual and social order, and preparing it for new challenges, as western Europe emerged from the feudalism of the Middle Ages.

Christianity was being born all over again, with a new potency and capacity to engage with an emerging new world order. Yet from its outset, the movement was seen by its critics as a menacing development, opening the way to religious mayhem, social disintegration and political chaos.

What I want to consider here is one of the most significant and distinct Protestant beliefs which emerged from the Reformation, which proved to be charged with revolutionary promise, creating new conceptual and practical possibilities that had the potential to change the face of Christianity.

The Necessity of Reformation: A Free E-Book

Get it here.  Even though it has nary a chapter on Zwingli….  (crazy).

Call For Papers: Refo500 Warsaw, 2018

The Eighth Annual RefoRC Conference is hosted by the University of Warsaw and will take place May 24-26, 2018. All the info is posted here.

‘Remembering the Reformation’ at the University of Nottingham

The ‘Prophezei’ in the Heart of Wittenberg

I love this story.

Vom 20. Mai bis am 10. September 2017 präsentieren sich etwa 80 Aussteller aus Kirche, Politik, Kultur, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft mit einem unterhaltsamen Angebot in den Wallanlagen der mittelalterlichen Stadt Wittenberg. Der Schweizer Pavillon, angesiedelt im Torraum 7 Kultur, ist in vier thematische Zonen unterteilt: Veranda, Prophezey die Zürcher Bibel, Froschauer die Druckerpresse, Künstlerei der Engel der Apokalypse.

„Wegweisende Impulse für die Umbrüche vor 500 Jahren kamen aus der Schweiz“, so Kirchenbundspräsident Gottfried Locher: „Zwingli und Bullinger haben das Christentum zur Bildungsreligion weiterentwickelt. Und mit Johannes Calvin wurde die Reformation endgültig zur weltweiten Bewegung.”

Charles Morerod, Präsident der Bischofskonferenz: „Es ist wichtig, dass wir das Wissen über die Geschichte der Reformation miteinander teilen und verstehen. Sonst könnte man immer nur eine Seite sehen. Dass die Schweizer Bischofskonferenz eine deutsche Bibelübersetzung nach Wittenberg mitgebracht hat, die in der Schweiz vor der Reformation geschrieben wurde, ist auch ein Zeichen der Kontinuität, die wir heute besser anerkennen können.“


La Réforme sur Léman Bleu

A l’occasion du Jubilé des 500 ans de la Réforme, la chaîne Léman Bleu a effectué une série de reportage sur cet événement majeur qui a remodelé la société: son histoire, ses grandes figures, le Mur des Réformateurs si connu et d’autres.

Le journaliste Valentin Emery a rencontré différentes personnalités en prise avec l’histoire de l’Eglise, son sens, dont Emmanuel Fuchs, président de l’Eglise protestante de Genève, Vincent Schmid, pasteur de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre ou encore Olivier Cairus, directeur de la Fondation des clés de Saint-Pierre.

Emmanuel Fuchs a notamment discuté du sens d’être protestant aujourd’hui ainsi que du soutien nécessaire des donateurs et des défis financiers que l’Eglise continue à surmonter!

Toutes les vidéos sont à lire ci-dessous.

Visit here for the videos.  With thanks to Hywel Clifford for the heads up.

“Die fantastischen Vier” – Philipp Melanchthon, Thomas Müntzer, Huldrych Zwingli und Johannes Calvin

Although I’m not sure why the nutbag Thomas Müntzer is included when Bucer or Oecolampadius is for more fitting...

Luther-Bier, Luther-Brötchen, Luther-Tassen, kaum etwas, was sich nicht eignen würde, um es zum Reformationsjubiläum mit dem Konterfei des Übervaters der Reformation, Martin Luther, zu versehen. Schnell entsteht der Eindruck: Es gab nur Martin Luther, den einzigen wahren Reformator.

Dem ist mit Sicherheit nicht so: Im Mittelpunkt dieses Dossiers stehen zum einen zwei Reformatoren aus dem direkten Umfeld Luthers, Philipp Melanchthon, der die Reformation auch zu einer Bildungsbewegung machte und Thomas Müntzer, der sich mit den entrechteten und unterdrückten Bauern solidarisierte. Zum anderen geht es um die zwei reformierten Reformatoren, Huldrych Zwingli, der Schweizer Reformator, der den Protestantismus im südwestdeutschen Raum, in der Schweiz und Frankreich prägte und Johannes Calvin, der als Begründer des Calvinismus, einer besonders strengen Auslegung der Evangelien, gilt.

Download the booklet.

Refo Thursday

“It was a strange and dreadful strife, When life and death contended. The victory remained with life; The reign of death was ended…” — Martin Luther

… One of Martin Luther’s most famous Easter hymns begins in German with the words “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (Christ lay in the bonds of death). In its English translation it is sung to a hymn tune written by Luther and a friend, and it’s called, naturally enough, CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN. (Hymn tune names are always written in ALL CAPS.) Except my mother never, ever called it that. She always called it “Christ lay on a toboggan,” just like she called the tune named LAUDA ANIMA “Laud my momma.”

Read the rest.

Emory University Law School Announces – McDonald conference celebrates 500th anniversary of Protestant Reformation

The fourth in the McDonald Distinguished Scholar Lectures series celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with a two-day international conference on April 3 and 4 at Cannon Chapel.  The conference is convened by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion and Candler School of Theology and sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation.  This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary boxed lunches for conference attendees will be served both days.

Here is the schedule.

It looks quite good!  See you there.

Reformation Thursday- Erasmus or Luther?

I put up with this church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that I will become better.—Desiderius Erasmus

Give it a read.

Call for Papers: From Reformation to Reformations

Amsterdam, 20 September 2017, conference From Reformation to Reformations: On Analogies, Ideals and Ideas. This conference will seek to contribute to the developing field of cross-cultural religious and cultural studies by analyzing the cultural, political and linguistic uses of the “Reformation” in the modern era, from circa 1800 until the present day.

It will investigate how and why modern movements, intellectuals and politicians referred to the “Reformation” as historical event, process, or principle. It will highlight how in modernity, ‘Reformation’ oscillated between a static, historic definition on the one hand, and a dynamic and subjective interpretation on the other. The focus of this conference will be primarily on (post-)modern uses of the term ‘Reformation’ outside the strict context of Protestant theology, but in various other religious traditions and societies.

Go for more information to the website or the pdf.


Reminder: A Conference at Emory Celebrating the Reformation

Posted previously, but worth repeating:

A two-day international conference in Cannon Chapel on April 3-4 will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The conference is convened by Candler and Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation. Distinguished guest lecturers will include Margot Kässmann, special envoy to the Evangelical Church in Germany; Michael Welker of the University of Heidelberg; and David F. Ford of Cambridge University, among others. Candler faculty members Timothy Albrecht, Patrick Graham, Khalia Williams, and Dean Jan Love will also take part in the conference.

This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary boxed lunches for conference attendees will be served both days. Register here.


Routledge, Taylor & Francis is pleased to announce the publication of the first 2017 issue of Reformation & Renaissance Review, which will also be available to view online.

This issue contains the following articles:

More information


Getting Oriented

Check This Out On #InternationalWomensDay: Women of the Reformation

Right here.

Why The Reformation Still Matters- Karin Maag