Item description for A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts With Introductions by Denis R. Janz...
Overview This first anthology of the most-important documents of the 16th-century European reformation movements includes 95 primary documents and helpful introductions. The CD-ROM includes additional readings, images, bibliographies and more.
Publishers Description Although deeply political, economic, and social, the European Reformations of the 16th century were at heart religious disputes over core Christian theological issues.This text is a generous selection of key theological and related texts from five distinct Reformation sites.
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Studio: Fortress Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.9" Height: 1.3" Weight: 2 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2008
Publisher AUGSBURG FORTRESS PUB. #99
Edition Expanded, Updat
ISBN 0800663101 ISBN13 9780800663100
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More About Denis R. Janz
Denis Janz received the Ph.D. from the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, in historical theology. He teaches in the religious studies department of Loyola University, New Orleans and has published articles on late medieval and Reformation topics in various scholarly journals.
Denis R. Janz currently resides in New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana. Denis R. Janz was born in 1949 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Loyola University.
Denis R. Janz has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts With Introductions?
Original words Jan 23, 2005
This collection of readings focusing upon the sixteenth century Reformations in Europe is a wonderful collection for students, seminarians, pastors and interested laypersons who want to read the actual source documents (or good translations of such) rather than narrative histories and opinions about the key ideas and documents that helped shape the early years of the Protestant Reformations. As David Janz, Professor of Religious Studies at Loyola (New Orleans), states, this collection is `heavily theological' - while it is true that the history of the Reformation period cannot adequately be recounted without attention to political, economic and social realms, the larger influence in the Reformations was theological/religious differences, a subject that is more difficult to approach in today's secular academic world. The leaders of all sides in this period either saw themselves as theologians or working on behalf of theological ideas; thus, it is important to understand the key issues involved from a theological standpoint.
This being said, it is also important to know not just what the various Reformers said and wrote, but also what they were reacting against; Janz includes many pieces all sides. In the introduction, Janz cautions against the biases of seeing the Reformation as a whole as a good thing or a bad thing, and introduces use of the term `Reformations' to address the diversity of movements that often get lumped together under the historical categorical shorthand of `Reformation'.
Janz has six broad categories for dividing the documents in this text: I - Late Medieval Background; II - Martin Luther; III - Ulrich Zwingli and the radical reformers; IV - John Calvin; V - English Reformation; and VI - Counter/Catholic Reformation.
The inclusion of the first section makes this volume particularly valuable, as many Reformation histories and readers being with Martin Luther, assuming knowledge of the background that is often insufficient. In fact, as Janz points out, there is no one, single, monolithic `Catholic' theology against which the Reformers worked - there was a pluralistic setting which included Nominalists, Augustinians, Thomists, Humanists, and more, all operating in varying degrees of comfort within the official church structure. Janz selects readings that address popular piety and spirituality, ecclesial structures and practices, theological and biblical issues, and critical thinking of the time (the later in the form of Erasmus).
The section on Luther begins with excerpts from autobiographical writings, including correspondence and `Table Talk'. The theological writings include works on biblical topics, catechetical work, sermons and essays, and the full text of the Ninety-Five Theses. Rounding out this section, Janz includes a few key Lutheran pieces, such as the Augsburg Confession, along with Melanchthon's Apology, and the Formula of Concord, all key pieces in the development of mainline Lutheranism.
The section on Zwingli and the Radical Reformers includes works by Zwingli, Muntzer, Simons and Anabaptists, and the Twelve Articles of the Peasant's Revolt. Janz emphasizes the independence of various groups - Zwingli was accused by Roman Catholic authorities of Lutheranism, but in fact Zwingli and Luther had sharp divisions on key issues (communion/Eucharist being but one) and Zwingli's followers would eventually join with Calvinist Reform efforts by and large. The Anabaptist arose in different places rather simultaneously and independently; the documents contained here show many of the ideas.
The section on Calvin includes a generous sampling from the Institutes, but also includes several letters, including one to Melanchthon and several regarding the Servetus Affair, and the text of the Geneva Ordinances, meant to give the whole society a way to run decently and in good order (for Calvin despised disorderly living).
The Reformation in England includes edicts by King Henry VIII, and several works that show the back-and-forth nature of the times, such as the Marian return to Rome, and the final Elizabethan Settlement, which included a highly Calvinist Thirty-Nine Articles, but enough wiggle room to permit worship styles now classified as high and low church.
The section on the Counter/Catholic Reformation shows a divergence of opinions; Janz writes of the difficulty of assigning either title (Counter Reformation or Catholic Reformation) to the group, and also notes that the dating of the end of this period is ambiguous enough to stretch to Vatican II in some respects. The writing here includes pieces from various popes, the newly formed Jesuit order, and several documents from the Council of Trent. By this time, as Janz notes, the diversity of voices within Catholic theology had fallen away, and was replaced with the domination of a Thomist point of view.
Janz makes the observation that, from an instructor's point of view, no perfect anthology exists until the instructor produces her or his own - this particular one is a product of Janz's experience of teaching over twenty years. Janz has kept introductory material short and to the point, giving very brief introductions to the six major sections (two pages each, at most) and even briefer introductory/biographical notes for individual primary documents (a few paragraphs at most, generally). Janz lets the documents speak for themselves for the most part, which, while they can be difficult reading at times to modern readers, still form a major foundation for much of religious expression in North America and Europe (and, by extension, much of the rest of the world) today.