Tuesday, October 19, 2010

History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

I just couldn’t let the month of October go by without putting in a word for D'Aubigne’s History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné was born in August of 1794 and died suddenly, almost exactly 138 years ago, on October 21st 1872. He spent a great deal of his 78 years studying the Reformation and wrote undoubtedly the best history of it ever written. His Histoire de la Reformation as it was originally called covers the earlier portion of the Reformation, much of which occurred in Germany, but it also touches on the Swiss and English Reformation. The story of Hugh Latimer’s conversion in the English Reformation was well worth the price of the whole book as far as I’m concerned. I’ll have to try and post it later.

d'Aubigné's love of the Reformation and the Reformed faith shines through in his writing and his colorful use of language never gets boring. This is definitely not one of those historical, biographical books written by a theologically disinterested person. d'Aubigné went on to write numerous other books and historical works, such as The History of the Reformation in the Time of Calvin, but his first set of books is simply unbeatable! If you really want a good history of the Reformation this is by far the best as far as I’m concerned.

 My own first set has seen some better days (probably back in the 1800s):

 Twenty books in five very old volumes. Being too brittle to read they mostly serve as a decoration on my bookshelf and I had to get another set to read.

One of the other sets I found is a stuffed-all-in-one volume paperback edition. This one has been all over the country with me, suffered a great deal of abuse and I've loved every page of it! 

Its 876 pages of small print put out by a Seventh Day Adventist publisher of all places but you really can’t beat the price. You can get a new copy for around $30-40 on Amazon. It looks like a publisher by the name of Nabu Press has also recently re-published it in a single volume paperback:

And if you don't mind reading off of the internet or doing a whole lot of printing someone else has made the entire 20 books available on line:
I love the way the book starts: "The enfeebled world was tottering on its foundations when Christianity appeared....."

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