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Author: R. Ward Holder

In 1517, 500 years ago, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses brought about the beginnings of the Indulgence Controversy, an event that many see as the beginning of the Reformation. While this cannot truly be “the beginning,” it certainly served as a beginning, and thus this year has been filled with anniversary commemorations, celebrations, and conferences that sought to consider the import of the Reformation for the church, for European and colonial history, and for the various military, cultural, social, and economic spheres in the early modern and modern worlds.

It will not come as a surprise that the editors

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Author: R. Ward Holder

Any scholar in any of the Humanities disciplines today hears the drumbeat of the funeral dirge that proclaims the end of the Humanities as we have come to know them. The certitude of generations of scholars and students that being formed by a classical education (though exactly what that entailed has been the battlefield for some of the greatest conflicts in the past seven decades), would fit the next generation for running empires, becoming captains of industry, and lives of service to the church and to the world was a bedrock foundation of not only education, but also many societies.

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Author: R. Ward Holder

This issue of Church History and Religious Culture celebrates the five hundred years of influence to both religious life and piety and to scholarship that the publication of the Novum Instrumentum engendered. Truly, littera scripta manet. The essays gathered here challenge presently held notions of what Erasmus was doing in creating a critical Greek New Testament, his status as a theologian, his relationship to Jerome and the fashioning of a biblical eleoquence, his relationship to Martin Luther, and even the influence of Erasmus’s work itself. By challenging presently held notions, these essays pay tribute to the example that Erasmus set, and offer a fitting remembrance to the 500th anniversary of his Novum Instrumentum.

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Author: R. Ward Holder

In many histories of the Reformation, Erasmus is credited with three contributions to the theological storehouse of the period. First, Erasmus is attributed with popularizing his idea of Christianity, summed up by the term philosophia Christi. This is seen as a moralizing model of reform, closely aligned with humanist principles. Second, Erasmus took on Luther in his debate over the freedom of the will. Though Erasmus is widely seen to have lost the debate to Luther because of Luther’s ferocity of attack and greater adherence to Augustine and a radical Augustinian anti-pelagianism, he is credited with the last

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Author: R. Ward Holder

It is an occasional classroom trick of history professors to ask a student to recount her or his day in front of the class. Invariably, the student leaves a tremendous amount of material out—daily meals are mundane, getting dressed can be assumed because of presently being dressed, being on time (in an American culture) is a function of the ubiquity of timekeeping devices on every cell phone, every computer, and every classroom’s clock. It is easy to point out to the students that much of what the historian needs to know in order to grasp the world of another era

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Author: R. Ward Holder

Clarence H. Miller (ed. and transl.), Collected Works of Erasmus, vol. 82: Controversies: Clarifications Concerning the Censures Published in Paris in the Name of the Parisian Faculty of Theology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012). xxxvii + 361 pp. ISBN 978-1442641150.

It is a truism of human speech and relationships that if someone wants to find fault with another, fault will be found. The lucidity of rhetoric cannot reach such diamond clarity that books cannot be misconstrued or read harshly, either through a hermeneutic of suspicion, or the outright desire to find fault. This was the

In: Erasmus Studies
In: A Companion to Paul in the Reformation
Author: R. Ward Holder
The reception and interpretation of the writings of St Paul in the early modern period forms the subject of this volume, from late medieval Paulinism and the beginnings of humanist biblical scholarship and interpretation, through the ways that theologians of various confessions considered Paul. Beyond the ways that theological voices construed Paul, several articles examine how Pauline texts impacted other areas of early modern life, such as political thought, the regulation of family life, and the care of the poor. Throughout, the volume makes clear the importance of Paul for all of the confessions, and denies the confessionalism of previous historiography. The chapters, written by experts in the field, offer a critical overview of current research, and introduce the major themes in Pauline interpretation in the Reformation and how they are being interpreted at the start of the 21st century.

Honorable Mention Roland H. Bainton Book Prize 2010; Category Reference Works.
Author: R. Ward Holder
This book considers John Calvin’s interpretation of the Pauline epistles, discussing his interpretive method and the link between biblical interpretation and correct doctrine. It introduces a division between doctrinal hermeneutics and textual exegetical rules clarifying Calvin’s relationship to the antecedent and subsequent traditions. The book portrays Calvin as a theologian for whom the doctrinal and exegetical tasks cohered, especially in the context of the Church in the Reformations.
The first section presents the division between hermeneutical principles and exegetical rules, demonstrating each in Calvin’s commentaries. The second section considers the coherence of Calvin’s theological, exegetical and historical efforts. The text is grounded by the inclusion of many instances of Calvin’s interpretation, and his reflections on the nature of biblical interpretation.