Sin, Grace and Free Will: A Historical Survey of Christian Thought (Volume 2: From Anselm to the Reformation)

By Matthew Knell

The second of three volumes exploring the development of the concepts of sin, grace and free will in Christian theology, from the Middle Ages to the Reformation.

ISBN: 9780227176078


In the first volume of Sin, Grace and Free Will, Matthew Knell embarked on a journey through centuries of Christian thought, from the Apostolic Fathers to St Augustine of Hippo. In this second volume, a new journey begins with Anselm of Canterbury and leads to the Council of Trent.

While the themes of sin, grace and free will are familiar to any Christian, Knell provides a comprehensive overview of the thought on such matters of crucial Christian thinkers and reformers. In doing so, the second volume explores not only the Catholic way of dealing with these central topics, but also Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin’s views and different approaches.

An indispensable primer for any beginning scholar, Sin, Grace and Free Will presents the writings of Christian thinkers in their own contexts, and examines the progress of church doctrine.

Additional information

Dimensions234 × 156 mm

Hardback, Paperback

Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Matthew Knell is Lecturer in Historical Theology and Church History at the London School of Theology, as well as lecturing for Notre Dame University, Indiana, in the London Global Gateway and for the London programme of Biola University. He studies historical theology and is the author of Sin, Grace and Free Will: A Historical Survey of Christian Thought (Volume 1: The Apostolic Fathers to Augustine) (2017, also published by James Clarke and Co Ltd). In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two daughters and his students past and present.




1. Anselm of Canterbury
2. Bernard of Clairvaux
3. Peter Lombard
4. Thomas Aquinas on Sin
5. Thomas Aquinas on Grace
6. Thomas Aquinas on Free Will
7. Martin Luther
8. Huldrych Zwingli
9. John Calvin
10. The Council of Trent




Endorsements and Reviews

There are other books on sin, grace and free will, written from a systematic or historical perspective, but this book is unique. It focusses on the primary texts and contains substantial extracts from them. So this ‘historical survey’ can indeed justly be called a ‘reader’. The extensive extracts enable readers to experience the writings of the early church fathers for themselves and, where they wish, go back to these writings to read more. A very useful work that is heartily recommended.
Tony Lane, Professor of Historical Theology, London School of Theology

Well-argued, clear and engaging … an ideal resource for teaching and writing on medieval and reformation theology, it is highly recommended.
Nathan Hood, in Expository Times, Vol 131(1), October 2019