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I surveyed Reformation history under one of McGrath's doctoral students, so I was nominally familiar with his narrative construction and outline of this pivotal period of Western culture. Still, McGrath managed to cram so much excellent information in this relatively small volume, I felt like the read was worth a credit in a graduate seminar. Sympathetic to the Protestant cause, McGrath is ever the scholar, elucidating not only the development of Protestant convictions, but also historical causes--theological, personal and political--as far as they may be confidently distilled from the evidence. Where confidence is lacking, appropriate skepticism is acknowledged, arresting romantic legends that fact might liberate a more truthful account of sixteenth century "reformations."
Still, Reformation Thought does not obscure the massive ideas covered and recovered by Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, etc. The "solas" are not given short shrift. Justification by faith alone is clearly stated and explained, as are the Protestant doctrines of scripture, church, sacraments and predestination, even if the latter is insufficiently untangled. Helpfully, McGrath's introduction takes the reader past the sixteenth century to survey the historical trajectory of Reformation thought as it diffused in Europe and influenced the New World.
Tony Craine's narration was unforced, well-paced and clear, if lacking only in style. Personally, I would have preferred a British narrator, perhaps the author himself. Overall, Reformation Thought is a thorough and inviting work for both students of history and generally interested readers.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The reformation in Europe produced a major change in the way christian beliefs were understand and social life experienced. Alister E. McGrath wrote a clear and readable book about the period and theological ideas it produced. Drawing from the main theses of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, the author explain the thought and the controversies occurred. The main doctrines of reformed theology are presented with special attention to the distinct emphasis gave by the reformers. After all one gets a clear view of the reformation's ideas and the context in with they were generated.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A concise, scholarly but accessible book on an important peeps of church and social history. Only slightly spoilt by the occasionally dodgy American pronunciation of words like schism!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful