The Early Reformation on the Continent offers a fresh look at the formative years of the European Reformation and the origins of Protestant faith and practice. Taking into account recent work on Erasmus and Luther, Owen Chadwick handles these and numerous other figures and with sensitivity and understanding. Emphasis on the context provides a balanced view of the raison d'etre for the changes which the reforming communities sought to introduce and the difficulties and disagreements concerning these. The structure of the book is distinctively original. Rather than following a conventional chronological progression, Owen Chadwick takes a much broader perspective and arranges his material thematically. Whatever the topic - the Bible, clerical celibacy, moral questions of adultery and divorce, purgatory, hymns, excommunication, the role of the State in worship and pastoral activity, education, the Eucharist - the reader is taken back to its origins and development through the history of the western Church and given an authoritative, accessible, and informative account.
Emeritus Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge