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The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe

Customer Reviews:

Great at establishing CONTEXT. . .

By Jason Jewell - May 3, 2000

Ozment does a wonderful job of showing that the story of the Reformation does NOT begin with the posting of the 95 theses in 1517. Rather, the events of the 1500s were the culmination of a centuries-old search for truth. Ozment's account of the Reformation as something unfolding out of the Middle Ages is much more instructive than the standard view, which treats the Reformation as a starting point for this or that development. This book grounds Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Ignatius firmly in the tradition of medieval scholastic, mystic, and ecclesio-political thought, as well as Renaissance humanism. Additional chapters are devoted to clerical marriage and resistance to tyranny, two legacies of Protestantism that Ozment finds particularly compelling. To top it off, the author has obviously done his homework; every significant interpretation by previous scholars receives due note here. I think this should the FIRST book anyone reads on the Reformation.

Outstanding Piece of Intellectual History

By Daryl Smith - July 3, 2001

This is simply a fantastic presentation of the historical, theological, and philosophical background of the Reformation. This book apparently won the 1981 "Philip Schaff Prize of the American Society of Church History" award, and is certainly worthy of it. Ozment traces the course of scholasticism, mysticism, monasticism, the papacy, humanism, etc., all in a masterful way that shows how these diverse and complex movements culminated in the Reformation. The text is well documented, and, thankfully, uses footnotes rather than endnotes so one does not have to constantly turn to the end of the book to view the source of a citation. In my opinion this is one of the best works on intellectual and church history that I have ever read. Be warned, however, this book is not for the feint hearted. It is definitely a graduate level text, or for the serious student of the late Medieval and Reformation periods.

Reforms and Re-formations

By benjamin - June 24, 2006

It is quite amazing that of all the books that exist on the Protestant Reformation, very few chart the intellectual and theological history as being the primary moving force of the Protestant movement. It is still further disheartening that many books wish to treat the Reformation as if it were some sort of absolute novelty and break with the whole of the medieval Western European tradition. Steven Ozment's brilliant study - winner of the Phillip Schaff Award in 1980 - not only bucks the trend on both of these issues, but even traces relevant facets of cultural history - such as the printing press - as he puts the Protestant Reformation into both context and continuity with the medieval era.

More than half the book is spent detailing the medieval world and various theories that would be of the utmost importance to the Reformers: salvation and certainty of knowledge, in particular. The picture that emerges is one in which the Reformation is, in many ways, the absolutely... read more

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