A Reformation Sourcebook: Documents from an Age of Debate

A Reformation Sourcebook: Documents from an Age of Debate

Weight 0.00 lbs
Edited by Michael W. Bruening
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2017
320 Pages
ISBN 9781442635685
Published Apr 2017
ISBN 9781442635692
Published Apr 2017

During the Reformation, Europeans were engaged in a debate that would alter the course of European history. This debate was about how to understand and practice the Christian faith. Never before had so many people weighed in on a topic of such importance.

This book presents the debates of the Reformation era through over eighty primary sources. Some of the documents present formal debates. Others represent informal debates or disputes, with one text responding directly to the other. Still other sections present texts that offer divergent approaches to or perspectives on specific ideas. These too were part of the century-long debate that characterized the Reformation.

The author provides an essay on how to read primary sources. Each chapter opens with a brief introduction, and each group of primary sources is preceded by information on historical context as well as focus questions. Further readings are provided at the end of each chapter, and a map of Europe divided by religions is included.

Michael W. Bruening is Associate Professor in the History and Political Science department at Missouri University of Science and Technology. His previous publications include Calvinism’s First Battleground (2005) and Epistolae Petri Vireti (2012).

How to Read a Primary Document

I The Late Medieval Background to the Reformation
I. Papal Authority
1. Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302
2. The Council of Constance
A. Haec Sancta, 1415
B. Frequens, 1417
3. Pope Pius II, Execrabilis, 1459
II. Late Medieval Heresy
4. Jan Hus, The Church, 1413
5. Council of Constance, Sentence against Jan Hus, 1415
III. Scholasticism and Humanism
6. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III.75(2), Transubstantiation, 1274
7. Erasmus of Rotterdam, Paraclesis, 1516
IV. Lay Piety
8. Caesarius of Heisterbach, Dialogue on Miracles, Early Thirteenth Century
A. “Virgin in Place of a Nun Who Had Fled from the Convent”
B. “Concerning a Merchant to Whom a Harlot Sold the Arm of St. John the Baptist”
9. Erasmus, Colloquies, “The Religious Pilgrimage,” 1526
Further Reading

II The Development of Martin Luther’s Thought
V. The Indulgence Controversy
10. Martin Luther, Sermon on Indulgences and Grace, 1518
11. Johann Tetzel, Rebuttal against Luther’s Sermon on Indulgences and Grace, 1518
VI. Luther’s Three Treatises, Part 1: Address to the Christian Nobility and the Priesthood of All Believers
12. Luther, Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, 1520
13. Johannes Eck, Enchiridion, “The Sacrament of Holy Orders,” 1555
VII. Luther’s Three Treatises, Part 2: The Babylonian Captivity and the Sacraments
14. Luther, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, 1520
15. King Henry VIII, Defense of the Seven Sacraments, 1521
VIII. Luther’s Three Treatises, Part 3: Freedom of a Christian and Justification by Faith Alone
16. Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, 1520
17. Eck, Enchiridion, “Faith and Good Works,” 1533
IX. Luther and Erasmus on Free Will
18. Erasmus, On Free Will, 1524
19. Luther, The Bondage of the Will, 1525
Further Reading

II The Early Radical Wing and the German Peasants’ War
X. Karlstadt, Luther, and the Debate over Images and the Speed of Reform
20. Karlstadt, On the Removal of Images, 1522
21. Luther, Invocavit Sermons, 1522
A. The First Sermon, March 9, 1522, Invocavit Sunday
B. The Third Sermon, March 11, 1522, Tuesday after Invocavit
22. Karlstadt, Whether One Should Proceed Slowly, 1524
XI. Thomas Müntzer, Spiritualism, and Social Revolution
23. Thomas Müntzer, Sermon before the Princes, 1524
24. Luther, Letter to the Princes of Saxony Concerning the Rebellious Spirit, 1524
XII. The German Peasants’ War
25. The Twelve Articles of the Peasants, 1525
26. Luther, Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, 1525
Further Reading

IV Ulrich Zwingli, the Reformed Tradition, and Swiss Anabaptism
XIII. Zwingli and the Reformation in Zurich
27. The First Zurich Disputation, January 1523
XIV. The Colloquy of Marburg
28. The Debate at the Colloquy of Marburg, 1529
XV. Zwingli and the Anabaptists
29. The Schleitheim Confession of Faith, 1527
30. Zwingli, Refutation of the Tricks of the Catabaptists, 1527
Further Reading

V French Reform and Calvinism
XVI. The Reform Group of Meaux
31. Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples, Preface to the French Translation of the Gospels, 1523
32. Paris Faculty of Theology, Condemnation of the Meaux Reforms, 1523
XVII. The Affair of the Placards
33. Antoine Marcourt, the Placards of 1534
34. Paris Processions in Response to the Placards, 1534–1535
XVIII. John Calvin’s Thought
35. John Calvin, Instruction and Confession of Faith Used in the Church of Geneva, 1537
XIX. Calvin’s Debate with Sadoleto
36. Jacopo Sadoleto, Letter to Geneva, 1539
37. Calvin, Reply to Sadoleto, 1539
XX. Moral Discipline in Geneva
38. Geneva Ordinances
A. Ordinances for the Regulation of the Churches Dependent upon the Seigniory of Geneva, 1547
B. The Ecclesiastical Ordinances of 1561
39. Geneva Consistory Records
Further Reading

VI The English Reformation
XXI. Thomas More and William Tyndale on the English Bible
40. Thomas More, Dialogue Concerning Heresies, 1529
41. William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, 1531
XXII. Henry VIII’s Break from Rome
42. Henry VIII’s Reformation Parliament, Act of Supremacy, 1534 (26 Henry VIII c. 1)
43. Trial of Sir Thomas More, 1535
XXIII. Protestantism under Edward VI and Catholicism under Mary I
44. Thomas Cranmer, Homily or Sermon of Good Works Annexed unto Faith, 1547
45. Cardinal Reginald Pole, Speech to the Citizens of London, c. 1555
XXIV. Elizabethan (Un)settlement: Puritans and Anglicans
46. John Field and Thomas Wilcox, Admonition to Parliament, 1572
47. Richard Hooker, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 1594
Further Reading

VII The Catholic/Counter-Reformation
XXV. The Council of Trent, 1545–1563
48. Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent
49. Calvin, Antidote to the Council of Trent, 1547
XXVI. Women, Mysticism, and Inquisition
50. Teresa of Ávila, The Way of Perfection, 1583
51. The Inquisition Trial of Francisca de los Apóstoles, 1575–1577
XXVII. The Society of Jesus and Campion’s Brag
52. Edmund Campion, Challenge to the Privy Council (Campion’s Brag), 1580
53. William Charke, An Answer to a Seditious Pamphlet, 1581
Further Reading

VIII Wars of Religion
XXVIII. The Wars of Kappel, 1529–1531
54. Kappel Declarations of War
A. Zurich’s Declaration of War, June 8, 1529
B. The Catholic Cantons’ Declaration of War, 1531
55. Zwingli’s Death at the Battle of Kappel: Two Accounts, 1531
A. A Catholic Version
B. Heinrich Bullinger’s Account
XXIX. The Schmalkaldic War and the Peace of Augsburg, 1546–1555
56. Alliance between Emperor Charles V and Pope Paul III, 1546 192
57. The Peace of Augsburg, 1555
XXX. The French Wars of Religion, 1562–1598
58. Giovanni Michiel, Venetian Ambassador’s Report on the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, 1572
59. Marc-Antoine de Muret, Oration before Pope Gregory XIII, 1572
60. Nicholas Barnaud(?), Reveille-Matin: Wake-Up Call for the French and Their Neighbors, 1574
Further Reading

IX Cultural Impact of the Reformation, Part 1: Christian Life and Practice
XXXI. Baptism
61. Catholic Rite of Baptism from the Sarum Missal, 1543
62. Protestant Baptism: A Rite of Baptism Used at Strasbourg, 1525–1530
XXXII. Food and Fasting
63. Zwingli, Concerning Choice and Liberty Respecting Food, 1522
64. Francis de Sales on Fasting, Sermon for Ash Wednesday, c. 1620
XXXIII. Carnival and Lent
65. Description of Carnival in Rouen, 1541
66. Philip Stubbs, Anatomy of Abuses, 1583
67. King James I, Book of Sports, 1618
XXXIV. Music
68. Luther on Music
A. Luther to George Spalatin on Hymns, 1523
B. Luther, Preface to the Hymnal of 1524
69. Conrad Grebel, Letter to Thomas Müntzer, 1524
70. Calvin, Preface to the Huguenot Psalter, 1543
XXXV. Death and Dying
71. Catherine of Genoa, Treatise on Purgatory, c. 1510
72. Anonymous (Guillaume Farel’s Circle), Treatise on Purgatory, 1534
73. Protestant and Catholic Funerals
A. Catholic Ritual: Erasmus, Colloquies, “The Funeral,” 1526
B. Calvinist Ritual: The Parisian Passwind on Geneva Funerals
Further Reading

X Cultural Impact of the Reformation, Part 2: Social Relations and Customs
XXXVI. Women
74. John Knox, First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, 1558
75. Marie Dentière, Epistle to Marguerite of Navarre, 1538
76. Katharina Schütz Zell, Letter to Caspar Schwenckfeld, 1553
XXXVII. Sex, Chastity, and Marriage
77. Luther, The Estate of Marriage, 1522
78. Eck, Enchiridion, “The Celibacy of the Clergy,” 1529
79. Ana de San Bartolomé, Autobiography, 1625
80. Johannes Pfefferkorn, The Jews’ Mirror, 1507
81. Johannes Reuchlin, Recommendation Whether to Confiscate, Destroy, and Burn All Jewish Books, 1510
82. Luther, That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew, 1523
83. Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543
XXXIX. The Servetus Affair and Religious Toleration
84. Sebastian Castellio, Concerning Heretics, Whether They Are to Be Persecuted and How They Are to Be Treated, 1554
85. Theodore Beza, The Authority of the Magistrate in Punishing Heretics, 1554
XL. Slavery
86. The Iwie Debate, 1568
Further Reading


The Reformation was a cauldron of disagreement and conflict wherein reform ideas and practices were formulated through the act of argument and disputation. Bruening's collection of primary sources is the first volume to reflect this critical dimension of the Reformation. The selection of documents is superb, covering the major theological, political, cultural, and social conflicts of the era. The disagreements inherent in these sources will spark some exciting debates among students. A Reformation Sourcebook is a fabulous resource that will further the understanding of the issues over which sixteenth-century people fought, died, and killed.

Gary K. Waite, University of New Brunswick

This collection is wonderfully balanced and superbly edited. Bruening has carefully chosen documents that address with precision the broad range of Reformation controversies. The selections are pertinent, illuminating, and accessible. They form a valuable resource for teaching the Reformation at any level.

Raymond A. Mentzer, University of Iowa

I have found my new source reader for my Reformation course. This reader offers rich material in an eminently teachable debate format.

Craig Koslofsky, University of Illinois

Bruening's source book stands out mainly for its focus on matters of debate and contention (such as the Eucharist) rather than on less-controverted subjects such as spirituality or preaching on morals. An invaluable tool for undergraduates studying the Protestant Reformation.

J.P. Blosser, Benedictine College, <i>CHOICE</i>