Documents of the Reformation
by John A. Wagner
November 2018, 262pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6082-9
$94, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6083-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

While it is uncertain whether Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the lines are known to have sparked the Protestant Reformation.

An engaging and accurate introduction to the Protestant Reformation, told in the words of those who led it, opposed it, and lived it.

The Protestant Reformation was a pivotal event in world history and religion. Documents of the Reformation collects more than 60 primary documents that shed light on the personalities, issues, ideas, and events of the 16th-century upheaval and will help readers to understand how and why the Protestant Reformation began and transpired as it did.

The book is divided into 12 sections on topics such as indulgences, persecution, and women in the Reformation, each of which offers five document selections. Detailed introductions preceding the documents put them into historical context and explain why they are important, while a general introduction and chronology help readers to understand the Reformation in broad terms and to see causal connections. Bibliographies of current print and digital resources attend each document, and a general bibliography lists seminal works on the Reformation.


  • Offers readers an understanding of the origins and development of the Protestant Reformation, and the main beliefs and positions of both Catholics and Protestants and of the different branches of Protestantism, e.g., Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anabaptism
  • Includes more than 60 defining primary document selections
  • Features a detailed chronology and a useful general bibliography as well as bibliographies specific to individual documents for directed study
  • Presents a detailed general Introduction that puts the Reformation as a movement into historical context as well as introductions specific to each document selection that contextualize individual selections within the scope of the work
John A. Wagner, PhD, has taught classes in British and American history at Arizona State University and Phoenix College. He has published numerous history reference works, including the multivolume Encyclopedia of Tudor England (coedited with Susan Walters Schmid), Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses, and Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War, as well as primary document collections including Voices of Shakespeare's England: Contemporary Accounts of Elizabethan Daily Life, Voices of Victorian England: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life, and Voices of the Reformation: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life.


"This book is an excellent collection of first-hand historical information related to the Reformation, and is another addition to the Eyewitness to History series from ABC-CLIO. This title, and the whole series, is highly recommended."—ARBA, February 4, 2019

"Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, May 1, 2019

Eyewitness to History

ABC-CLIO’s Eyewitness to History series provides primary documents accompanied by invaluable contextualizing information to help readers understand historical developments, events, and individuals. The books’ format allows for a remarkable range of documents that showcase a wide variety of perspectives, including personal narratives, letters, and first-hand accounts; newspaper stories, op-ed pieces, and contemporary reactions and responses; and government and legislative documents, such as laws, speeches, and court testimony.

Each title in the series offers a fascinating documentary history devoted to a significant era, event, or social movement. The carefully curated primary sources give the actual words of people who lived through these past times, empowering today’s readers and researchers to consider the topic critically, fairly, and intelligently.
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