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How could the Protestant Reformation take off from Wittenberg, a tiny town in Saxony, which contemporaries regarded as a mud hole? And how could a man of humble origins, deeply scared by the devil, become a charismatic leader and convince others that the Pope was the living Antichrist? Martin Luther founded a religion which to this day determines many people's lives, as did Jean Calvin in Geneva one generation later. In this new edition of her best selling textbook, Ulinka Rublack addresses these two tantalising questions. Including evidence from the period's rich material culture, alongside a wealth of illustrations, this is the first textbook to use the approaches of the new cultural history to analyse how Reformation Europe came about. Updated for the anniversary of the circulation of Luther's ninety-five theses, Reformation Europe has been restructured for ease of teaching, and now contains additional references to 'radical' strands of Protestantism.


Praise for the first edition:‘Pupils and students studying the Reformation will welcome this fine book.’

Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

Praise for the first edition:‘Bravo to this slim and elegant book, the latest in Cambridge’s series, 'New Approaches to European History', that offers a balanced and nutritious mixing of Reformation scholarship, using traditional ingredients spiced up with new theories, resulting in an original and fresh preparation to tempt palates away from the traditional staple of political and theological histories.’

Source: The International History Review

Praise for the first edition:‘Students will most likely find this book to be an easy read and will appreciate the lack of detailed theological discussions. Chapter 4 in particular, with its sections on daily life, is fascinating and will engage most university students. More advanced students will also benefit from the good survey of recent works on Reformation history.’

Amy R. Caldwell Source: H-Net

'The new edition strengthens Rublack’s explanation for how Martin Luther and Jean Calvin, the principal figures of the book, overcame similar impediments and became the great leaders of Protestantism. … The author has added many illustrations and anecdotes … Recommended.'

F. J. Baumgartner Source: Choice

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I have sought to keep this bibliography short and to indicate further reading on selected mainline topics for students. More specialised readers can turn to my footnotes or will find bibliographies on a wealth of specific subjects in Rublack, Ulinka (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations (Oxford, 2016). They might also wish to consult Greengrass, Mark, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation, c.1500–1618 (London, 1998) for a comprehensive list of key dates, chronologies and terms of reference or the Archive for Reformation History, Literature Review, which for more than forty years has been annually reviewing and indexing articles and monographs in the field.

Rublack, Ulinka (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations (Oxford, 2016) is the most comprehensive handbook yet on the Reformations. Its thirty-six contributions include non-European Protestantism and topics ranging from natural philosophy, commerce and Islam and Judaism to the emotions. It chronologically follows on from Arnold, John (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Christianity (Oxford, 2014). Marshall, Peter (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation (Oxford, 2015) discusses European geographies and historical themes extremely selectively, but its seven chapters are easily navigated and contain some stimulating discussions. von Greyerz, Kaspar, Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1500–1800 (Oxford, 2008) is concise and covers the entire early modern period; MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, 1490–1700 (London, 2003) is a narrative synthesis in 832 pages and covers a long time span, whereas earlier generations of scholars usually focused on the sixteenth century and particularly on the early Protestant Reformation in Germany and the Swiss Confederation. Tracy, James D.’s Europe’s Reformations, 1450–1650 (Oxford, 1999) is also engaging and innovative; it discusses war and politics during the period as well as everyday life and non-European Reformations. Po-Chia Hsia, R. (ed.), The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. VI: Reform and Expansion, 1500–1660 (Cambridge, 2014) as well as Pettegree, Andrew (ed.), The Reformation World (London, 2000) contain a wide range of articles, many of them excellent; Scribner, Bob, Porter, Roy and Teich, Mikulàš (eds.), The Reformation in National Context (Cambridge, 1994) still provides valuable discussions of different countries and a comparative overview, and can be read in tandem with Pettegree, Andrew (ed.), The Early Reformation in Europe (Cambridge, 1992). Cameron, Euan, The European Reformation, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2012) is extremely good at presenting German research about the urban reformation and Lutheranism up to 1555.

Oberman, Heiko A., The Dawn of the Reformation (Edinburgh, 1986) presents the views of one of the most original historians of the Reformation; McGrath, Alistair, Reformation Thought (Oxford, 2012) provides a clearly stated account of the medieval roots of Reformation thought and its new departures.

An excellent brief guide is Kaufmann, Thomas, A Short Life of Martin Luther (London, 2016), to be supplemented by his Luther’s Jews: a Journey into Anti-Semitism (Oxford, 2017). The most original recent biography is by Roper, Lyndal, Martin Luther: Renegade and Rebel (London, 2016); another important biography written by a historian is Schilling, Heinz, Martin Luther (Oxford, 2017). Brecht, Martin, Luther (Minneapolis, 1993–9), is the most detailed, factual biography in three volumes; Oberman, Heiko A., Luther: Man between God and the Devil (New Haven, 1989) is a classic which brings out well the extreme importance of the devil in Luther’s thought. Kolb, Robert, Dingel, Irene and Batka, Lúbomir (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology (Oxford, 2014) is particularly wide-ranging and up-to-date. Many of the reformer’s written or spoken words, including sermons and the table talk, can be read in English in Pelikan, J. and Lehmann, Hartmut (eds.), Luther’s Works: American Edition, 55 vols. (St Louis, MO and Philadelphia, 1955–). Karant-Nunn, Susan and Wiesner-Hanks, Merry have helpfully edited the excellent Luther on Women: a Sourcebook (Cambridge, 2003).

The best introduction for the German Reformations is Brady, Thomas A. Jr., German Histories in the Age of Reformations (Cambridge, 2009). Karant-Nunn, Susan’s work has been pioneering; see her The Reformation of Feeling: Shaping the Religious Emotions in Early Modern Germany (Oxford, 2009), as well as her The Reformation of Ritual: an Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (Oxford, 2009).

Essays by Robert William (Bob) Scribner document the achievements of the social history of Lutheranism and his pioneering work towards a cultural history of the Reformation; see Scribner, R. W., Popular Culture and Popular Movements in Reformation Germany (London, 1987); Scribner, , For the Sake of the Simple Folk: Popular Propaganda for the German Reformation (Oxford, 1981); Scribner, , Religion and Culture in Germany (1400–1800), ed. by Roper, Lyndal (Leiden, 2001)

Roper, Lyndal, The Holy Household: Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg (Oxford, 1989) remains a path–breaking book on the role of gender in the Lutheran urban Reformation; two essays in her Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe (London, 1994) began to tackle early modern masculinity and how it related to Reformed ideas.

For two recent, outstanding studies of Lutheranism, natural philosophy and gender see Rankin, Alisha, Panaceia’s Daughters: Noblewomen as Healers in Early Modern Germany (Chicago, 2013) and Crowther, Kathleen M., Adam and Eve in the Protestant Reformation (Cambridge, 2010).

Two recent accessible studies of Lutheran communities and lives based on ego-documents are Rublack, Ulinka, The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight for his Mother (Oxford, 2015), which provides an introduction to natural philosophy and the witch-craze in the Lutheran lands, and Harrington, Joel, The Faithful Executioner: Life, Death, Honour and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century (New York, 2013), which tells the story of a Lutheran executioner’s values in Nuremberg.

On visual cultures (in addition to Scribner, Simple Folk) see Heal, Bridget’s Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany (Oxford, 2017), as well as her The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500–1648 (Cambridge, 2007), and Spicer, Andrew (ed.), Lutheran Churches in Early Modern Europe (London, 2012), which includes contributions on Scandinavia, Transylvania, Poland and Germany. Rublack, Ulinka, Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Oxford, 2010) looks at cultural dress practices in relation to religion. Ozment, Steven, The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther and the Making of the Reformation (New Haven, 2012) provides an accessible introduction to the German Reformation’s foremost painter and his workshop, to be read in tandem with Koerner, Joseph Leo, The Reformation of the Image (Chicago, 2012), which stresses the reduced aesthetics of Cranach to follow pedagogic aims.

On print see Pettegree, Andrew’s recent Brand Luther (London, 2015).

Calvin’s key work is available in a modern edition, McNeill, John T. (ed.), Institutes of Christian Religion, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1960). The best recent biography is by Gordon, Bruce, Calvin (New Haven, 2011). Benedict, Philip, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: a Social History of Calvinism (New Haven, 2002) is a masterly and thorough synthesis by a social historian; Todd, Margo, The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven, 2002) remains a path-breaking analysis of Calvinism in everyday life following the approaches of a historical anthropology, and Walsham, Alexandra, Providence in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1999) stands out as a vivid account of systems of belief. Murdoch, Graeme, Beyond Calvin: the Intellectual, Political and Cultural World of Europe’s Reformed Churches, c.1540–1620 (New York, 2004) provides an important overview alongside Murdoch, Graeme, International Calvinism (Basingstoke, 2003). Benedict, Philip and Backus, Irena (eds.), Calvin and his Influence, 1509–2009 (Oxford, 2011) contains important contributions.

Spicer, Andrew, Calvinist Churches in Early Modern Europe (Manchester, 2016) accessibly presents the most up-to-date research, to be read alongside Gaimster, David and Gilchrist, Roberta (eds.), The Archaeology of the Reformation, 1480–1580 (Leeds, 2003) and Corby Finney, Paul (ed.), Seeing beyond the Word: Visual Arts and the Calvinist Tradition (Grand Rapids, 1999) which include excellent illustrations and interesting discussions; Mochizuki, Mia, The Netherlandish Image after Iconoclasm, 1566–1672 (Burlington, 2008) presents an important account of Dutch churches, to be read in tandem with Schama, Simon, The Embarrassment of Riches: an Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (London, 1987), which discusses print and material culture; Benedict, Philip, Graphic History: the Wars, Massacres and Troubles of Tortorel and Perrissin (Geneva, 2012) presents a unique history of print propaganda during the wars of religion in France. For Britain’s visual and material culture see also the path-breaking work of Watt, Tessa, Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550–1640 (Cambridge, 1991) and Tara Hamling, Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Post-Reformation Britain (New Haven, 2012), as well as Walsham, Alexandra, The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford, 2011).

On Protestant drama see Pettegree, Andrew, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge, 2005). Ryrie, Alec, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford, 2013) examines emotional cultures and practices. Davis, Natalie Zemon, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford, 1965) remains a classic.

Baylor, Michael (ed.), The Radical Reformation (Cambridge, 1991) is an excellent sourcebook of radical thought in German-speaking lands; Stayer, J. M., The German Peasants’ War and Anabaptist Community of Goods (Montreal, 1991) and Packull, Werner O., Hutterite Beginnings: Communitarian Experiments during the Reformation (Baltimore, 1995) relate part of the story of how these ideas were translated into practice. Davis, Natalie Zemon, Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth Century Lives (Cambridge, MA, 1995) brilliantly tells the story of Maria Sybilla Merian in the Dutch Republic and her interest in ‘radical’ religion, while McKee, Elsie tells the story of the impressive Strasburg reformer Katharina Schütz Zell, Church Mother: the Writings of a Protestant Reformer in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Chicago, 2006). Gregory, Brad, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA, 1999), Haude, Sigrid, In the Shadow of ‘Savage Wolves’: Anabaptist Münster and the German Reformation during the 1530s (Boston, 2000), Scott, Tom, Thomas Müntzer: Theology and Revolution in the German Reformation (London, 1989), Waite, Gary K., David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543 (Waterloo, Ont., 1990) and Drieger, Michael, Obedient Heretics: Mennonite Identities in Lutheran Hamburg and Altona during the Confessional Age (Aldershot, 2002) are all excellent introductions to different facets of the radical movements, alongside Hill, Kat’s recent thought-provoking Baptism, Brotherhood, and Belief in Reformation Germany: Anabaptism and Lutheranism, 1525–1585 (Oxford, 2015).

Kaplan, Benjamin J., Cunegonde’s Kidnapping: a Story of Religious Conflict in the Age of the Enlightenment (New Haven, 2014) is a wonderful introduction to the complexities of toleration and multi-confessionalism. Duffy, Eve M. and Metcalf, Alida C., The Return of Hans Staden: a Go-between in the Atlantic World (Baltimore, 2012) sets out the world of a Protestant explorer. Dixon, Simon, Freist, Dagmar and Greengrass, Mark (eds.), Living with Religious Diversity in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot, 2009) contains excellent articles.

Parker, Charles, ‘Converting Souls across Cultural Borders: Dutch Calvinism and Early Modern Missionary Enterprises’, Journal of Global History, 8, 1 (2013), pp. 5071, Wiesner-Hanks, Merry, Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World: Regulating Desire, Reforming Practice, 2nd edn (London, 2010), Dixon, C. Scott, Protestants: a History from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania, 1517–1740 (Oxford, 2010), Van Horn Melton, James, Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier (Cambridge, 2015), Pestana, Carla Gardina, Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World (Philadelphia, 2009) and Sensbach, Jon F., Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, 2006) demonstrate why a global perspective on Protestantism beyond Europe changes our understanding of the impact of the Reformations.


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