The people's Reformation: Recommended resources


Some basic introductions to the Urban Reformation and related history include Steven Ozment, The Reformation in the Cities (1975) and The Age of Reform (1981); Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning (1978); Peter Blickle, Hans-Christoph Rublack, and Winfried Schulze, Religion, Politics, and Social Protest (1984); Lyndal Roper, Holy Household (1990); Walter Klaassen, Living at the End of the Ages (1992); Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations (1998); Thomas Brady, Communities, Politics, and Reformation in Early Modern Europe (1998); George Hunston Williams, The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed. (2000); and Peter Blickle, Communal Reformation (1992) and From the Communal Reformation to the Revolution of the Common Man (1997).

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More recent works include Wayne te Brake, Shaping History (1998); Bruce Gordon, The Swiss Reformation (2002); Scott Hendrix, Recultivating the Vineyard (2004); Amy Nelson Burnett, Teaching the Reformation: Ministers and Their Message in Basel (2006); Susan Karant-Nunn, The Reformation of Ritual (2007) and The Reformation of Feeling (2010); Christopher Close, The Negotiated Reformation (2009); and Marjorie Plummer, From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife (2012).

The Peasants’ War comes to the fore in Peter Blickle, The Revolution of 1525 (1984) and Tom Scott, The German Peasants’ War (1994), and iconoclasm is covered in Carlos Eire, War Against the Idols (1984), and Lee Palmer Wandel, Voracious Idols and Violent Hands (1999). 

The printing press is discussed in James Moran, Printing Presses (1975); Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (1980) and The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (2005); Axel Erdmann, My Gracious Silence (1999); and Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book (2010).

The Anabaptist story is told in Walter Klaassen, Anabaptism (1973); Eberhard Arnold, The Early Anabaptists (1984); William Estep, The Anabaptist Story (1995); John Oyer, They Harry the Good People Out of the Land (2000) and Mirror of the Martyrs (2000); James Stayer, Anabaptists and the Sword (2002); and David Weaver-Zercher, Martyrs Mirror: A Social History (2016).

The English Reformation features in A.G.Dickens, The English Reformation (1991); J. J. Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (1991); Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer (1998); Eamon Duffy, The Voices of Morebath (2003) and The Stripping of the Altars (2005); and James Simpson, Burning to Read (2010).

Finally, biographies and other studies of reformers from this issue include

Bucer: Amy Nelson Burnett, The Yoke of Christ: Martin Bucer and Christian Discipline (1994); Herman Selderhuis and John Vriend, Marriage and Divorce in the Thought of Martin Bucer (1999); D. F. Wright, Martin Bucer: Reforming Church and Community (2002); Martin Greschat (translated by Stephen Buckwalter), Martin Bucer (2004); and Brian Lugioyo, Martin Bucer’s Doctrine of Justification (2010)

Capito: James Kittelson, Wolfgang Capito (1997); Erika Rummel and Milton Kooistra, eds., Reformation Sources: The Letters of Wolfgang Capito and His Fellow Reformers in Alsace and Switzerland (2007)

Denck: Rufus Jones, Hans Denck and the Inward Word (2005)

Hubmaier: H. Wayne Pipkin and John Howard Yoder, eds., Balthasar Hubmaier (1989) 

Karlstadt: Ronald Sider, ed., Karlstadt’s Battle with Luther (2001); Amy Nelson Burnett, Karlstadt and the Origins of the Eucharistic Controversy (2011)

Oecolampadius: Diane Poythress, Reformer of Basel: The Life, Thought, and Influence of Johannes

Oecolampadius (2011)

Tyndale: David Daniell, Let There Be Light (1994) and William Tyndale (2001)

Vermigli: Mariano Di Gangi, Peter Martyr Vermigli 1499–1562: Renaissance Man, Reformation Master (1993); and Torrance Kirby, Emidio Campi, and Frank James III, eds., A Companion to Peter Martyr Vermigli (2009) 

Zwingli: G. R. Potter, Zwingli (1984); Ulrich Gabler, Huldrych Zwingli (1986); W. P. Stephens, The Theology of Huldrych Zwingli (1986) and Zwingli: An Introduction to His Thought (1994); and Jim West, The Humor of Huldrych Zwingli (2007) and Through the Year with Zwingli and Bullinger (2015)

• And, discussing many of the reformers above, David Steinmetz, Reformers in the Wings (2001).

Christian HIistory Issues

Read these back issues of CH online; some are still available for purchase:

4: Zwingli

5: The Anabaptists

16: William Tyndale

28: 100 Most Important Events in Church History

48: Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation

This changed everything

Videos from Vision Video

Videos about the stories in this issue include God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale; The Radicals; Reformation Overview; and Zwingli and Calvin. There are also Torchlighters episodes on Tyndale and Luther and the new original documentary This Changed Everything: 500 Years of the Reformation


You can read writings of many of this issue’s featured people at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Good pointers to other primary and secondary resources can be found at the Modern History Sourcebook at Fordham University in the sections called “Early Modern World” and “Reformation Europe.” Despite its title the Post-Reformation Digital Library has many Reformation-era texts available. You can also browse Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Some selected Anabaptist historical websites include Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, Global Anabaptist Wiki, Martyrs Mirror, and Read more about Anglican history at The Anglican Domain, Project Canterbury, and The English Reformation page at the BBC. CH

This article is from Christian History magazine #118 The People’s Reformation. Read it in context here!

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Christian History’s 2015–2017 four-part Reformation series is available as a four-pack. This set includes issue #115 Luther Leads the Way; issue #118 The People’s Reformation; issue #120 Calvin, Councils, and Confessions; and issue#122 The Catholic Reformation. Get your set today. These also make good gifts.

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #118 in 2016]

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