In this last collection of his vital, controversial, and accessible writings, Heiko A. Oberman seeks to liberate and broaden our understanding of the European Reformation, from its origins in medieval philosophy and theology through the Puritan settlers who brought Calvin’s vision to the New World. Ranging over many topics, Oberman finds fascinating connections between aspects of the Reformation and twentieth-century history and thoughtmost notably the connection to Nazism and the Holocaust. He revisits his earlier work on the history of anti-Semitism, rejects the notion of an unbroken line from Luther to Hitler to the Holocaust, and offers a new perspective on the Christian legacy of anti-Semitism and its murderous result in the twentieth century.
Oberman demonstrates how the simplifications and rigidities of modern historiography have obscured the existential spirits of such great figures as Luther and Calvin. He explores the debt of both Luther and Calvin to medieval religious thought and the impact of diverse features of the long fifteenth century”including the Black Death, nominalism, humanism, and the Conciliar Movementon the Reformation.