John Knox and the Scottish Reformation: Recommended Resources

The Scottish Reformation

  • Nigel Cameron, David Wright, David Lachman, and Donald Meek, editors, Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology (InterVarsity, 1993). A remarkably rich and useful source, covering all of Scottish church history and theology.
  • Ian B. Cowan, The Scottish Reformation: Church and Society in Sixteenth Century Scotland (St. Martin’s, 1982). One of the best studies of the social background of the Scottish Reformation.
  • Gordon Donaldson, The Scottish Reformation (Cambridge, 1960, 1972). For many years the standard. Though now largely superseded, it still contains great value. The author had a mastery of contemporary documents.
  • James Kirk, Patterns of Reform: Continuity and Change in the Reformation Kirk (T.&T. Clark, 1989). A meticulous, magisterial study of the background and context of the Reformation, with full references to contemporary sources.
  • Jenny Wormald, Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland 1470–1625 (London, 1981; reprinted Edinburgh 1991). A lively, short account that sets the Reformation in the context of politics and the larger society.

Knox’s Life and Thought

  • Richard L. Greaves, Theology and Revolution in the Scottish Reformation: Studies in the Thought of John Knox (Christian University, 1980). Looks at Knox’s views on a variety of matters, showing him to be one of the most progressive of reformers.
  • Richard G. Kyle, The Mind of John Knox (Coronado, 1984). Probably the definitive study of Knox’s thought.
  • Steward Lamont, The Swordbearer: John Knox and the European Reformation (Hodder and Stoughton, 1991). A provocative and arresting popular study that raises many questions about the man (and the way he is swallowed up by his legend).
  • Eustace Percy, John Knox (Hodder and Stoughton, 1937, 1964). Though dated, many still reckon it as the best popular biography of Knox—very readable.
  • W. Stanford Reid, Trumpeter of God: A Biography of John Knox (Baker, 1974). Knox’s life as seen against the backdrop of the era’s politics.
  • Jasper Ridley, John Knox (Oxford, 1968). A long, massively learned, and thorough study.
  • Henry Sefton, John Knox (Edinburgh, 1993). An extremely useful volume of selections with an introduction and short biography. Certainly the best place to begin.

Knox’s Writings

  • W. Croft Dickinson, editor, John Knox’s History of the Reformation in Scotland, 2 volumes (Philosophical Library, 1950). Knox’s major work and a few other key documents.
  • C.J. Guthrie, editor, The History of the Reformation of Religion within the Realm of Scotland Written by John Knox (Banner of Truth Trust, 1898, 1982). A 350—page condensation of Knox’s major work.
  • David Laing, editor, The Works of John Knox, 6 volumes (Edinburgh, 1846–64). All of Knox’s writings and letters.
  • Roger Mason, editor, John Knox on Rebellion (Cambridge, 1994). Knox’s writings that show forth his political views, including First Blast of the Trumpet.
By Iain Torrance

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #46 in 1995]

Iain Torrance is a lecturer in divinity at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is co-editor of the Scottish Journal of Theology.
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