Melanchthon: The Enigma of the Reformation

By Robert Stupperich

An incisive scholarly study of the influential yet often neglected Reformation thinker Philip Melanchthon.

ISBN: 9780227172445


The impact of Philip Melanchthon upon Lutheranism cannot be underestimated. Yet Melanchthon is often overlooked and he remains one of the most enigmatic figures of the Reformation. It is within Dr. Robert Stupperich’s incisive portrayal of a man, acclaimed as ‘the preceptor of Germany’ in his lifetime, that the reader can uncover the secrets of a layman who directly influenced Luther.

Melanchthon struggled with contemporary powers, yet his persistence and drive resulted in him becoming the chief architect of Germany’s school system and also a chief negotiator between statesmen and theologians. Despite this success, almost no-one wholly accepted Melanchthon’s religious views. Yet, few could have managed without the advances which Melanchthon precipitated in theology, education, natural science and even public affairs.

This study of impressively broad scope begins by addressing the historical background which shaped Melanchthon’s early life. The development of Melanchthon’s inner humanist is investigated through an assessment of his childhood and adolescence. The second chapter examines the path which Melanchthon carved for himself in theology, where it is revealed how Melanchthon became a defender of Luther. Further chapters trace his life to its end, to allow the reader to see the full impact of a life which encourages the Reformation to be viewed in a new focus and depth.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm
Pages 176

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Robert Stupperich was Professor of Church History at the University of Münster until his death in 2003. He was recognised as an international expert on the history of the Reformation.


Translator’s Preface
Introduction: Cultural and Religious Life Before the Reformation

I. The Development of the Humanist
1. Homeland, Family and School
2. Course of Studies in Heidelberg and Tübingen

II. The Way into Theology
3. Beginnings in Wittenberg
4. The Leipzig Debate and its Consequences
5. The Defender of Luther

III. Struggle with the Powers of the Day
6. Results of His Theological Work
7. Against Fanatics and Baptists

IV. Labors for Church and School
8. Transition to New Tasks
9. The Promotion of Studies and the Church Visitation

V. On the Political Stage
10. Speyer and Marburg, 1529
11. The Augsburg Confession and Self-assertion
12. Paths and Efforts of His Own

VI. Union Efforts
13. Conciliation Attempts and Broad Contacts
14. The Church Council and the Religious Colloquies
15. The War, the Interim, and the Religious Peace

VII. The Last Battles
16. Dissension in His Own Camp
17. Conference and Synod
18. His Final Testimony and His Last Days

Postscript: A Word About Melanchthon Research
Selected Bibliography in English