Oberman’s magisterial work transfers discussion of late medieval Christian thought from the private studies of the specialist to more general use and understanding, and explains the significance of the ideas of the time. Although this ‘Late Medieval Reader’ does not exhaust the riches of the period between the High Middle Ages and the Reformation era, it introduces the reader to aspects of such major themes as conciliarism, curialism, mysticism, scholasticism, the spirituality of the Devotio Moderna, and the impact of Renaissance humanism.
The theme of Forerunners of the Reformation emerges from the consideration that the justified rejection of a confessional reading of the past has been succeeded by an equally unhistorical disjunction of the Medieval and Reformation periods. Without a grasp of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the medieval basis of modern thought is incomplete, since Reformation and Counter Reformation seem to arise ‘out of the blue’. This book is a major contribution to filling the gap, and so rendering the development of Renaissance thought historically intelligible once again.