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Forerunners of the Reformation:

The Shape of Late Medieval Thought

By Heiko A. Oberman

Forerunners of the Reformation

Forerunners of the Reformation:

The Shape of Late Medieval Thought

By Heiko A. Oberman

A groundbreaking discussion of late medieval Christian thought, opening up the studies of specialists to a wider and more general audience.

Series: Library of Ecclesiastical History
Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Hardback, Paperback

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Print Hardback

ISBN: 9780227170465

Specifications: 222x144mm, 344pp

Published: May 2003


Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780227170458

Specifications: 216x140mm, 344pp

Published: May 2003


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 the Reformation historically intelligible once again.


1. The Case of the Forerunner
2. Scripture and Tradition
     John Brevicoxa: Treatise on Faith, the Church, the Roman Pontiff, and the General Council
     Jacob Hoeck: Excerpt of a Letter of Jacob Hoeck to Wessel Gansfort
     Wessel Gansfort: From the Letter in Reply to Jacob Hoeck from Wessel Gansfort
3. Justification: Man's Eternal Predestination
     Robert Holcot: Lectures on the Wisdom of Solomon
     Thomas Bradwardine: The Cause of God Against the Pelagians
     Gabriel Biel: The Circumcision of the Lord
     Johann von Staupitz: Eternal predestination and its Execution in Time
4. The Church
     Jan Hus: The Church
     Pope Pius II: Execrabilis
5. The Eucharist
     Cardinal Cajetan, Thomas de Vio: The Celebration of the Mass
     Sylvester Prierias: Word and Sacrament
     Cornelisz Hoen: A Most Christian Letter
6. Exegesis
     Jacobus Faber Stapulensis: Introduction to Commentary on the Psalms
     Jacobus Faber Stapulensis: Introduction to the Commentaries on Paul's Letters
     Desiderius Erasmus: Laurentius Valla's Annotations to the New Testament


Heiko Oberman of the Netherlands Reformed Church taught at Harvard Theological Seminary, the Institute of Reformation History at Tubingen University and at Arizona University. He is also the author of: The Dawn of the Reformation (1986) and The Impact of the Reformation (1994).

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