Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Top ten books on the Reformed tradition

Here’s my top ten list of works on the classical Reformed tradition. I’ve restricted this to works on the post-Reformation period, so specific works on (e.g.) Calvin are excluded. I really could have listed Richard Muller’s books in the top five spots – but I’ve spread them out through the list, just to be fair. I was tempted also to include Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics II/2, since it’s such a creative and brilliant interpretation of the Reformed tradition – but I’ve restricted the list to historical studies. Anyway, here they are:

1. Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725, 4 vols. (2003)
2. Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics (1875-76)
3. Brian G. Armstrong, Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in Seventeenth-Century France (1969)
4. Philip Benedict, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (2002)
5. Richard A. Muller, God, Creation and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy (1991)
6. Nicholas Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism, c.1590-1640 (1987)
7. Richard A. Muller, Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (1986)
8. Richard A. Muller, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition (2005)
9. G. Michael Thomas, The Extent of the Atonement: A Dilemma for Reformed Theology from Calvin to the Consensus, 1536-1675 (1997)
10. Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 4 (1985)

7 Comments:

kim fabricius said...

It's about time we had another list at F&T! And this should prove a very helpful bibliography. Thanks, Ben.

As a supplement, looking ahead as well as back, may I mention the volume of thirty-one essays Toward the Future of Reformed Theology, eds. David Willis and Michael Welker, (1999), which (the blurb on the back cover) "brings together the voices of leading contemporary Reformed theologians from around the world, providing a unique summary of the range and wealth of Reformed theology today and exploring its potential for the future." There are three sections: "Tasks and Contexts", "Topics and Transformations", and "Traditions and Practices". Contributors include Brian Gerrish, John de Gruchy, Moltmann, Michael Welker, Thomas Torrance, William Placher, Amy Plantinga Pauw, Bruce McCormack, Daniel Migliore, Eberhard Busch, et. al. An important volume.

Brandon Jones said...

Muller's current project is on the post-reformation Reformed view of predestination and free will. It has already become longer than he expected, and I'm not sure when he'll finally finishi it but it looks to be another interesting volume. He's currently teaching a seminar on the topic. [Although I've never figured out in discussions of God and time what he means by saying that many in the tradition believed that God had "duration without succession"].

george hunsinger said...

Hilfe! Four books by Richard Muller? Why not given him an "honorable mention" and lump them all together?

That way there might be room for the likes of:

Karl Barth, Theology of the Reformed Confessions
D. A. Weir, The Origins of Federal Theology in Sixteenth-Century Reformation Thought
R. T. Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (controversial but well worth reading)
Donald McKim, Major Themes in the Reformed Tradition Reformed Reader: A Sourcebook in Christian Theology, ed. William Stacy Johnson and John H. Leith
Thomas F. Torrance, Scottish Theology: From John Knox to John McLeod Campbell

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, George -- yes, R. T. Kendall is definitely a good suggestion. I nearly added this one to the list -- in spite of its historical problems, it's definitely among my favourite books on the Reformed tradition. I haven't read the Weir book though -- looks like I'll have to check it out.

george hunsinger said...

"I haven't read the Weir book -- looks like I should check it out."

You won't regret it. Unfortunately he's drifted away from this field of study, but maybe he'll come back some day.

In the Reformation Museum in Geneva there's a portrait of Melanchthon along with those of Ursinus, Zanchius and Olevianus.

Ben Myers said...

Yes, I think I've seen that in the museum. My favourite part of Geneva is Calvin's old lecture theatre (Auditoire de Calvin) -- it contrasts so strikingly with the magnificent Cathedral across the street, and it's such a wonderful example of stark Calvinist architecture.

Anyway, I'll be sure to check out this Weir book some time.

Mark Jones said...

Weir's book is loaded with problems, even more so than Kendall's. Tyacke's thesis has been refuted, somewhat!

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