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1. Jesus Made in America: A Cultural
2. Ancient Word, Changing Worlds:
3. The Reformation: How a Monk and
4. For Us and for Our Salvation:
5. J. Gresham Machen's The Gospel
6. The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards:
7. Getting the Blues: What Blues
8. Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour
9. Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of
10. Pages From Church History: A Guided
11. An Absolute Sort of Certainty:
12. The New Medievalism (Parallax:
13. Romanesque Signs: Early Mediaeval
14. The Whole Book: Cultural Perspectives
15. The Evidence in Hand:Report of
16. Rethinking the Medieval Senses:
17. Aucassin & Nicolette, A Chantefable
18. The Life and Writings of John
19. Kantorowicz: Stories of a Historian
20. Mindreading: An Integrated Account

1. Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to "The Passion of the Christ"
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 237 Pages (2008-04-04)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0830828494
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Jesus is as American as baseball and apple pie. But how this came to be is a complex story--one that Stephen Nichols tells with care and ease. Beginning with the Puritans, he leads readers through the various cultural epochs of American history, showing at each stage how American notions of Jesus were shaped by the cultural sensibilities of the times, often with unfortunate results.Always fascinating and often humorous, Jesus Made in America offers a frank assessment of the story of Christianity in America, including the present. For those interested in the cultural implications of that story, this book is a must-read. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid
Stephen Nichols' thesis is sound.Jesus in the American evangelical church has been defined by personal experience and often confused with elements from popular culture.The American Jesus is in danger of becoming disconnected from scripture and from the historical creeds and confessions of the church.Nichols argues that the Christology that was worked out in the early centuries of the church has been largely forgotten by evangelical American culture.He first examines the doctrine of the early English speaking church in North America, the Puritans.He follows the evolution of the American Jesus through the American Revolution, the Victorian Era and the early 20th Century.He then chooses a few facets of modern evangelical culture and examines the American Jesus in each:Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), merchandising, movies, and politics.

The only problems I have with Nichols' analysis are in some of the examples he uses to prove his point.For instance, in an effort to prove that CCM has come unmoored from historical Christology, he repeatedly cites the song "Hold Me Jesus" by Rich Mullins as an example of the "me centered" theology of our time.While there is no question that much of CCM is oriented by personal experience, I'm not sure Rich Mullins was a good example.In fact, Rich's next song on the same album is called "Creed" which is a recitation of the Apostle's Creed with some commentary; the very thing Nichols argues CCM has cast aside.There aren't many artists that have wrestled with theology and its practical consequences as much as Rich Mullins.In these examples I wish that Nichols had evaluated an artist's entire body of work rather than picking a single song that was focused on personal experience.

In fact, Nichols concedes near the end of his book that personal experience does matter... it just needs to be subordinate to scripture and the historical creeds and confessions of the church.

On the whole, a fascinating read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cultural adaption of Christianity is apparently not OK
I heard excerpts of an early chapter of this book being read over the radio while on a long drive across the northern plains, and I was intrigued enough to buy the book when I got home.Mr. Nichols pinpoints the early planting of the seeds of neo-liberal Christianity in our nation's colonial history, as a reaction to the Puritans; he rightly points out some of the cultural prejudicial misconceptions about Puritans who took a truly renunciate view of government and politics and kept their focus on Christ and His teachings.

As a bit of a blinded patriot who had truly believed much of our country's foundation was established on Christian principles, the exposure of the hypocrisy of (many of) our founding fathers left me red-faced.Nichols then describes the culturalization of Jesus through our nation's history: the meek, effeminate Jesus of the Victorian era, followed by the overly masculinized Jesus of Teddy Roosevelt's America.But around that same time, the counter-Puritan movement began to fully take root in America through the Rockefeller-funded ministry of Harry Emerson Fosdick, who tried to turn Jesus into an American industrialist with wonderful principles rather than the scriptures' supernatural Man-God who came to save us from our sins.

The second half of Nichols' book concentrates on the modern Jesus Movement.Although Nichols describes himself as an American evangelical, he seems pretty well set against any and all commercial efforts undertaken by the evangelical community, such as the Christian music and film industries (he is careful not to bite the hand that feeds him, the Christian book industry).He points out several examples of entrepreneurs who have targeted the Christian market with theologically dubious product, but he doesn't stop there and seems to take delight in pillorying any Christians who are commercially successful.

To some extent I get it: sometimes we have let Jesus' house be turned into a den of thieves.But it begs the questions: How do Christians counteract the strong anti-Christian forces at work in America?And, are Christians to abandon the film and music industries?

For instance, Nichols has no tolerance for any film whose screenplay doesn't come straight from scripture, but as any filmmaker would tell you, scripture doesn't make a very compelling screenplay (nor was it ever meant to).In the end, Nichols' main argument is against experiential evangelization, but if cultural adaptation is experiential, it makes me wonder what is acceptable.Also, the authorities Nichols uses to prove his points are not from the ranks of respected evangelicals but rather liberal theologians like Martin Marty or (often) any secular writer who has a bone to pick with evangelicals.

It reminds me of a specific scriptural anecdote (Matthew 19:13-14; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17) where people were bringing their children to Jesus for prayer.The disciples rebuked these people; apparently, like Nichols, they didn't approve of the experiential approach.Jesus, in turn, rebuked the disciples.Nowhere in Jewish scripture did it say that the Kingdom of God belonged to those with the innocent minds of children, but Jesus stated that for them at that time.The same situation came up with the woman in Luke 7:36-50.Jesus was OK with their spontaneous - albeit non-scriptural - expressions of devotion.

Missionaries in foreign lands often seek to relate the Gospel to the culture of the people they're trying to reach.Apparently Nichols feels that shouldn't ever happen in America.My takeaway from the book was: Puritans good, anything else bad."Jesus Made in America" is an interesting read, and while it has some constructive history challenges for us, it's also a little disappointing to see this kind of destructive nitpicking coming from within the evangelical movement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read, Mark, and Digest
Since there are many long reviews already, I will keep this brief.

Nichols has written a book that all Christians ought to read and ponder.This book is well written and offers many provocative insights. One of its biggest benefits is demonstrating how a growing knowledge of history can aid Christian growth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jesus Was a Jew
Within the past decade there have been several good books written and released that examine the place of Jesus in America, e.g. JESUS IN AMERICA by Richard Wightman Fox and AMERICAN JESUS by Stephen Prothero.Stephen Nichols' book, JESUS MADE IN AMERICA is somewhat similar to those books, but a bit more focused.Instead of the focused audience being the reading public at large or Christians in general, the book is aimed more squarely at evangelical Christians.That's not to say a Christian who isn't an evangelical can't take something away from the book.However, the thrust of the book is aimed at illustrating how evangelicals in particular have forgotten the Son of God they profess and have been corrupted by the very culture they have been trying to create, redeem, and engage.

The book has an introduction and an epilogue. It is divided into eight chapters which are basically split by theme into two sections.The first section of the book (the first four chapters) examines the way Jesus has been viewed by American Christians through four different periods of American history: from the Christ-center and Word-rooted Jesus of the Puritans to the enlightened and more humanistic Jesus of the 18th Century to the image-based Jesus of the 19th Century to the Jesus of the modern era who is altered to fit whatever need and image you want of him.Got milk? Try Jesus, instead. He does the body and soul good.

The second section of the book (the last four chapters) examines how Jesus has been used, abused, altered, and debased in our culture.Each of the chapters focuses on a particular area: music, film and television, merchandise, and politics.

I really enjoyed JESUS MADE IN AMERICA.The book addresses many concerns and issues I have had with the modern contemporary Church, but raises them in a much more eloquent way than any other book I have yet, read.But Nichols isn't just a complainer, he offers suggestions on what needs to happen for the Church in America to re-center and regain its focus.The book is also contemporary and discusses not only fads from a century and decade ago, but tidbits that are still quite current (kudos from Nichols for bringing Will Ferrell and TALLADEGA NIGHTS into the discussion).

Overall, JESUS MADE IN AMERICA is a highly enlightening, informative, and entertaining book about the way Jesus has been viewed in America, particularly by evangelical Christians, and what needs to happen in order for evangelicals to become refocused on the Christ whose message they profess to be spreading.Even though some of the points that the book raises will probably offend some evangelical Christians (I have some friends who really need to pay attention to the points about tradition and the importance of having traditions), it is a book that I highly recommend for anyone who is a Christian, particularly anyone who considers themselves an evangelical, or has an interest in Christianity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Review and Analysis
I originally resisted picking up Jesus: Made In America, in large part because I wasn't interested in reading about how badly the American evangelical culture has treated Jesus.I was pretty sure I was already on the same page with the author.I then heard an interview with Nichols on Mars Hill Audio and was impressed to pick up the book.The bottom line is that we need to be acutely aware of where we have superimposed our cultural and situational biases on the scriptural Jesus and turned him into the kind of Jesus we feel comfortable with.

The first few chapters were filled with great historical insight and analysis.As I read I was enlightened about where the images of Jesus I was accustomed to came from and the points of view to which they owed their form and shape.I especially enjoyed the Billy Sunday Jesus who was portrayed as the manliest man among the manliest of men.He would stand out in a lumberjack convention, and be able to take on any one of them.This portrayal recalled to mind some of the contemporary images of Jesus in books aimed at Christian men.

I also thought the chapter on Contemporary Christian Music was well done and well cited.Recently, I have become wary of the triteness of CCM and what passes for lyrics.Nichols does a great job of uncovering the genesis of the music we get to listen to today, and how its current incarnation is a result of over-commercialization and the power of the dollar.Certainly there is a higher calling in music aimed at glorifying God than selling t-shirts at summer concert series.

Though it was well cited, the footnotes were a little hard to follow.More often than not, instead of a footnote at the end of each reference, a paragraph would end with one footnote and contain a handful of references.That little issue aside, I thought this was a wonderful and enlightening read and useful to anyone concerned with accurately understanding and portraying the Jesus of Scripture.

... Read more

2. Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age
by Stephen J. Nichols, Eric T. Brandt
Paperback: 176 Pages (2009-03-10)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1433502607
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A user-friendly narrative of the formation of the doctrineof Scripture in the modern age, interspersed with primary sourcematerials from the last 150 years.

Belief in the Bible as God's authoritative revelation to humanityforms the bedrock of the Christian faith, laying the groundwork fornearly everything in the practice of theology. For the last 150years or so, this doctrine has been put under the microscope of themodern age, with focused attention-and criticism-falling on threemain subject areas: the authority of Scripture, the sufficiency ofScripture, and the interpretation of Scripture.

Ancient Word, Changing Worlds tells the story of thesedevelopments in the doctrine of Scripture in the modern age,combining in one volume both narrative chapters and chaptersdevoted to primary source materials. This new genre of historicaltheology will appeal to general readers, who will be drawn in bythe book's prose style, and students, who will benefit fromfeatures like timelines, charts, explanations of key terms, andintroductions and explanatory notes for the primary sourcedocuments.

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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant introduction and declaration of a Biblical understanding of the Doctrine of Scripture
This book is a brilliant, and very clear, introduction to some of the issues within a Biblical understanding of the Doctrine of Scripture. The approach the author's have taken is to devote chapters 1, 3, and 5 to a historical overview of inspiration, inerrancy and interpretation. These chapters are well written and clear leaving the reader with a good understanding of the issues around each topic as well as giving confidence in an orthodox position. The remaining chapters (chapters 2, 4 and 6) give extended quotations from people and works that have been significant in the history of the issue that the given chapter is considering. This is brilliant in allowing the reader to consider the source text themselves, as well as providing leads for further study and thought.

I would wholeheartedly recommend reading this book to anyone who wants an introduction, and defence, of a Biblical understanding of the doctrine of Scripture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: A Book Review
In the book of Genesis, we find in chapter 3 verse 1 the first recorded words of Satan--"Indeed, has God said..." (NASB) From the beginning, Satan has attempted to cast doubt or even to destroy the word of God. In the past 150 years, the word of God has come under attack as never before. However, the most vicious attacks have not come from outside the church by scientists who sneer at the idea of God creating the world out of nothing or by philosophers who dismiss the Bible as just another book.

In fact, the most sinister attacks have been from those who call themselves "Christians" but who reject the idea that the Bible is the word of God with all the authority that being the word of God entails. The book Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age written by Stephen J. Nichols and Eric T. Brandt seeks to give a solid overview of the fundamental doctrines of scripture (inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation) by reviewing some of the major theological figures in the debates ranging across denominations from the end of the 19th century through the new millennium. While the book itself is not very long, it does an excellent job of packing quite a bit of information in a concise, accessible format that would be useful for all Christians interested in defending God's word.

First of all, the book is a fairly quick read. Including three appendixes, the book totals only 175 pages. Furthermore, each chapter is laid out logically presenting both the arguments for and against the conservative evangelical position including material from a wide variety of scholars. The book is full of good information without being overly technical. A person could read the book in under a week without having to devote a undue amount of time to reading it.

Second of all, the book does an outstanding job of tracing the development of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy in the modern age, going all the way back to the Princeton Theologians Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield. While not giving an exhaustive examination of all their writings, the authors do a splendid job of including some of their major writings on the subjects covered while also providing a fair examination of the opinions of dissenting theologians. In short, a person who read this book would come away with a solid foundation of the major points related to the inerrancy, inspiration, and interpretation of the sacred text.

In short, I highly recommend this book. It would make an excellent addition to any Christian's library and would also work well for a small group study. In a world where the word of God is constantly under attack, it is imperative for all Christians to be able to give solid answers to the hard questions regarding the reliability of the word of God.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing and Motivating Book
Stephen Nichols has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary authors. Some of my favorites include his biography of Martin Luther, his book on the "American Jesus" (Jesus Made in America), the book on the Reformation- How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World, and his work on the early church entitled For Us and Our Salvation. Nichols now pipes in with a helpful book on the doctrine of Scripture with a specific emphasis upon our contemporary age.

Ancient Word, Changing Worlds focuses on the contemporary challenges to and defenses of the Bible.Nichols observes that these challenges have providentially caused a "deeper reflection on and clearer expression of the doctrines of Scripture." Furthermore the author writes,

These doctrines orbit around three words, words that have received a great deal of attention in the nineteenth, twentieth, and now into the twenty-first centuries.These three words are inspiration, inerrancy, and interpretation. This book tells the story of these words, and particularly the story of how these words were developed in these last few centuries.It is the story of how the ancient word of God speaks to and in our changing world.

The format for the book is as simple and informative.After unpacking each of the three key words listed above in their own chapters the author then compiles a list of writings from folks in the midst of the respective debates over Scripture.In the midst of these quotations Nichols provides helpful commentary, observation and conclusion.So for instance, you have quite a bit of quotations from BB Warfield, A.A. Hodge and J. Gresham Machen.But at the same time we have the other side of the debate from liberals like Harry Emerson Fosdick.Nichols also takes you back to some of the most important developments of the past couple of hundred years in these battles.His unpacking of the `new evangelicalism' and the events that surrounding Fuller Seminary's departure from historic biblical orthodoxy were both riveting and troubling. The reader is reminded afresh of the hot coals that still burn today in this battle and the need to continue to work hard on such important issues.So in this sense it refreshes you with the doctrines, informs you of the issues, reminds you of the battles, and charges you to be faithful in both understanding and defending inspiration, inerrancy and interpretation.

Overall the book was a very enjoyable read.It really combined three of Nichols' strengths as a writer.He is doctrinally precise, an astute historian, and a terrific writer.Many people may not get too excited about a book on this subject but Nichols not only makes it informative but quite enjoyable.In my opinion, at a minimum pastors need to refresh themselves on the doctrine of Scripture at least annually.Here the author serves you by making it easy.

5-0 out of 5 stars An utterly fascinating look at the evolution of interpretation, when scripture itself remains unevolved
If you asked Jesus what he thought of automobiles, he would look at you bewildered. "Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age" is a scholarly discussion about how scripture applies to the modern world, if it applies to at all. Interpretation is the main focus here; "Ancient Word, Changing Worlds" uses history to analyze how scripture has been applied to rapidly changing society and technology. "Ancient Word, Changing Worlds" is an utterly fascinating look at the evolution of interpretation, when scripture itself remains unevolved.
... Read more

3. The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World
by Stephen J. Nichols
Kindle Edition: 160 Pages (2007-02-28)
list price: US$9.99
Asin: B00256Z3R2
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Mention history and some might struggle to stifle a yawn. But when presented as a narrative it can often be compelling reading. Stephen J. Nichols takes a key period in time, the Reformation, and presents its major players in a fresh way. From Martin Luther, a simple monk who wielded the mallet, to kings and queens, this book goes behind the scenes to uncover the human side of these larger-than-life Reformers. Along the way readers meet Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Anne Bradstreet, and many others.For those wanting to see history in its context, Nichols also provides a sampling of primary source materials. It is an engaging read that will remind readers of the foundational truths that can never be taken for granted by the church in any age. Includes numerous illustrations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Starting Point
Stephen J. Nichols has produced a concise account of the pivotal events that forever changed Europe and impacted the whole world during the 16th century Protestant Reformation.He has constructed the book upon two foundational beliefs: The Reformation still matters today and history can be fun.Nichols begins by profiling the biography, character and theology of lawyer turned monk turned reformer Martin Luther.He sparked the flames of revolution beginning in Wittenberg, Germany with the posting of his famous 95 Theses.
The author thenmoves on to discuss other leaders of the Reformation including Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin.He details how they impacted the Reformation in Switzerland and beyond. There are a couple of chapters highlighting the repercussions of the Reformation in Britain and the birth of the Anglican church as well as the Puritan movement. He also includes a chapter on the Anabaptists and their relation to the Reformation.Nichols also covers how the Reformation impacted women and vice-versa.A handy appendix contains references to the myriad of documents produced during that tumultuous period including Luther's 95 Theses, the Westminster Standards, the Book of Common Prayer and Luther's Large Catechism.Mind you, these are only discussed in terms of content and their impact on culture; no portions of the texts are not supplied.

Nichols' goal of making history fun hit the mark with this reader.I thoroughly enjoyed every page.For me in particular it is a refreshing change of pace from the heavy theological books I have been sticking my nose into recently.I greatly appreciated the reader friendly format: lots of pictures and informative sidebar tidbits keep the reader engaged.His minimalist approach was a smart decision.This is a history book for people who hate reading about history.It neither bores nor confuses.Nichols doesn't get bogged down with unnecessary details and stays focused on the central theme: introducing the major players of the Protestant Reformation and how they impacted the world around them.

This book's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: Brevity.In a mere 159 pages the author expertly guides his readers through history's most pivotal revolution.I came away both informed and entertained.I now have a well-rounded, panoramic view of the Reformation and how a handful of blessed men changed the world by God's grace. However, the book's concise format leaves the reader wanting more - much more.The moment I laid the book down I thought, 'that was great - while it lasted'.I believe that is exactly the effect Nichols intended to have on the reader.He designed the book to simply be an introduction to the vast, rich and rewarding history of the Reformation and its subsequent impact on civilization.It is a tasty morsel intended to whet the appetite for the main course.The problem is, where do I go from here?What book can I read that chronicles the deeper details of the Reformation that will not in some way disappoint me because it is not written as warmly and lively as this volume? It is my hope that Nichols is working on a large scale edition that explores the Reformation even more fully.

If you are planning to read your first book on the history of the Reformation, this compendium is the perfect launching point.Even if you have read multiple volumes about this topic, The Reformation can still be a valuable cliff notes reference that will help you to keep the big picture fully in view.This is definitely a great book to pick up and read every now and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Concise and Readable Summary of the Reformation
Stephen Nichols is a story teller and fine writer of history steeped in the writings of Luther's era. His superb book "The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World," was published in 2007 by Crossway Books; he's presented a stirring and deeply relevant volume on the Reformation and its aftereffects.

This work is endorsed by:

- Michael Horton
- Ligonier Ministries
- Steve Brown
- Sinclair Ferguson
- And seemingly all Christians who have read it!

Nichols writing style is winsome, fun, and informative. He takes well known and little known facts concerning the Reformation and makes them interesting in this somewhat undersized but potent volume (159 pages).

Many of the essential people and events are discussed in "The Reformation" including:

- Martin Luther
- John Calvin
- Ulrich Zwingli
- Anglicanism
- The Radical Reformers
- The truth about Calvin's Geneva
- Henry's Divorce and its impact
- The Puritans in England
- The work of women in the Reformation
- And additional splendid material.

The Appendix has Selections from Documents of the Reformation.

This is an outstanding introduction about the History of the Reformation and it makes a fine gift for Mother's Day or pick up a copy for your pastor. This easy-to-understand book is also great for students in Home School (Middle or High school age).
Letter to an Atheist Nation: Presupositional Apologetics Responds To: Letter to a Christian

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to The Reformation
How do you consolidate into one little book an era that has had thousands of volumes written on it?Well, you have to cut a lot of stuff out, of course.But what makes this book by Stephen Nichols so helpful is what he puts in, and how he does it.

Nichols is a flat out terrific writer.He is able simultaneously write in an informative and entertaining way.His priority is to show that church history matters and that history should be fun.Thankfully, he is aided by some pretty interesting characters in the Reformation period. The chapter titles bear this out:

1. Five Hundred Years Old and Still Going Strong: Why the Reformation Matters Today

2. A Monk and a Mallet: Martin Luther and the German Reformation

3. Some Middle-Aged Men and a Sausage Supper: Ulrich Zwingli and the Swiss Reformation

4. The Not-So-Radical Radical Reformers: The Anabaptists and the Reformation

5. An Overnight Stay in Geneva: John Calvin and the Swiss Reformation

6. A King and a Divorce: The Anglicans and the British Reformation

7. Men in Black: The Puritans and the British Reformation

8. Women in Black Too: The Untold Story of Women and the Reformation

Appendix: In Their Own Words: Selections from Documents of the Reformation

The book is written in an easily understandable way.I read the book out loud at the dinner table to our kids.I will admit that the younger ones (4 & 6) were less than enthralled but my older kids (9 & 13) were engaged.All of this to say, Nichols keeps it moving and it is filled with a lot of the important stuff.

I also found it encouraging that even from a 15,000 foot overview Nichols did not try to cover up the warts of our favorite Reformers.Whether it be Luther's anti-Semitic statements, Calvin's issues with Servetus, the dreadful persecution of the Anabaptists, or Zwingli's organ smashing, we are given a helpful introduction to these guys.

If you are looking for a good introduction to the Reformation I heartily recommend this book by Stephen Nichols.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Primer on the Reformation
Stephen J. Nichols is starting to build a reputation for making Christian history acessible and fun to read.This little primer on the Reformation is no exception.It serves as a great refresher for those a bit rusty on the big picture or an introduction to those first interested in the topic which undoubtedly is quite daunting.This would also make a great text for homeschoolers.

Nichols gives a brief overview of the key reformers like Luther, Zwingli and Calvin.He surveys the Anabaptist reformers and spends 2 chapters on the Reformation in Great Britan including the exploits of Henry VIII and the Puritans.The book starts with an excellent chapter on why the Reformation is important to study and understand.It was a large scale recovery of the heart of the Christian faith, the gospel itself as expressed in the 5 solas of the Reformation: scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone and to the glory of God alone. The last chapter focuses on important but often forgotten women of the Reformation.Finally the book ends with several apendices that include excerpts from key documents, confessions, catechisms and prayers of the Reformation.The text itself is accompanied by a number of highlighted sections focusing further attention on important issues.There are also quite a number of illustrations, photos and portraits of the reformers that make the book more acessible and enjoyable.

What I like about this little primer is that Nichols inserts at key points important lessons to be learned from the Reformation. Standard academic histories often try to treat its topics with a neutral point of view (however impossible that is).Even when a historical work is sympathetic to its topic it usual tries to hide the fact by being subtle about it.Nichols doesn't wear his sympathies on his sleeve, but he does seek to point out the Biblical truths the Reformation teaches us.He also does not hide the weaknesses, failures and even sins of the reformers.Those are lessons too.

This is a short book by design and so it will not cover many topics.However, I was dissapointed that nothing was said about William Tyndale, the early English reformer and Bible translator.Some emphasis on the precusors to the Reformation might have been helpful as well - men like John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.Otherwise, I was pleased with the book and heartily recommend it to all.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining and Helpful Tour of the Reformation
The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World is one of the most entertaining books I have read in awhile.One of Stephen Nichols goals in writing the book was to prove that history can be fun. He succeeded. There were numerous times I was laughing out loud as I read his overview of the Reformation.He makes the men and women of the Reformation come alive.From Zwingli's sausage supper during Lent to Katharina (Katie) von Bora's conquest of Luther's heart, Nichol's presents the human and humorous side of the Reformers.

He also does a great job teaching history.The book has eight chapters covering Luther, Zwingli, the Anabaptist, John Calvin, the British Reformation, the Puritans and the women of the Reformation.Nichols overviews the leading people and events in a compelling narrative that makes the history easy to remember.He even points out things that are frequently not mentioned or considered in overviews of church history.For example, Luther's decision to post the Ninety-Five Theses on October 31, 1517 was likely connected to the celebration of All Saints' Day, the next day.On All Saints' Day pilgrims would file past the relics in the church and appeal to the excess merits of the saints in hopes of pleasing the righteous demands of God - the very activity Luther was trying to correct.

Nichols decision to focus on lesser known (or misunderstood groups) like the Anabaptists, puritans and women brings people who are frequently lost in the shadows of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin into the light of history they deserve. There is also a scorecard in the back of the book that will help you remember the major people and events covered in each chapter.

I highly recommend this book for those who want an initial overview of the Reformation or a quick refresher.I enjoyed it so much that I have added his more extensive book on Luther to my "to be read" list.
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4. For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 176 Pages (2007-08-09)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$9.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1581348673
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The belief that Christ is the God-man is definitive of Christianorthodoxy and imperative to a right understanding of the gospel. Bythe middle of the fifth century, the church had wrestled with manychallenges to the biblical portrayal of Christ and, in response tothose challenges, had formulated the doctrine of Christ thatremains the standard to this day. This look to the past helps asChristians contend with present-day challenges and seek to answerChrist's question—"Who do people say that I am?"—forthose living in the twenty-first century.

For Us and for Our Salvation tells the very human story of theformation of the doctrine of Christ in those early centuries of thechurch. A glossary, numerous charts and timelines, and some helpfulappendices make the book accessible and user-friendly. Primarysource materials from key theologians and councils complement theengaging narrative.

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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading on the Person and Work of Christ
Stephen Nichols is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary), is Research Professor of Christianity and Culture at Lancaster Bible College in Lacaster, PA. He is the author and editor of a number of books. He has the uncanny ability to turn difficult theological and historical issues into things interesting and even exciting for the average Christian reader. His, "Guided Tour" books are helpful introductions to the lives and theology of key Christian leaders in history. Now he is turning to issues of cultural history as well with his recent books on Blues music and his cultural history of Jesus in America. Nichols knows that the study of church history and historical theology is essential to the church and the believer today. His book on the doctrine of Christ in the early church is no exception.

We live in a day of historical anemia. People have absolutely no historical context in which to understand the theological trends of the day. Little do most know that much of what is considered "new" in theological trends and fads is hardly new but generally has been dealt with in the church before simply under different names. That is where looking at the person and work of Christ as discussed by the early church fathers is so important. Much of what we consider orthodox Christology was developed in the early church. The early church fathers had to deal with heresy as they attempted to understand issues like the divine and human natures in Christ, and other theological issues. The title of the book presents the reason why this is important. The true biblical nature of Christ is the basis for our salvation. Without a true picture of Christ, how can one truly be saved? Nichols addresses the importance of studying the fathers on these issues when he writes:

The early church fathers wrestled with the same problems presented by The Da Vinci Code phenomenon and its fanciful speculations about Jesus. They wrestled with the same problems presented by Islam and its adamant denial of the deity of Christ. And they wrestled with the same problems presented by the scholars working in the Jesus Seminar or in Gnostic texts like the Gospel of Judas who quickly dismiss the four canonical Gospels as God's true revelation to humanity. In the days of the early church, the names of the opponents were difference from those faced by us today, but the underlying issues bear a striking resemblance. When the church fathers responded with the orthodox view off Christ, they did the church of all ages a great service (p. 14).

So, Nichols looks at the early church debates over the person and work of Christ. These were not trivial debates but were at the heart of our very relationship with God and our salvation. While looking at a number of church fathers he addresses the importance of the debates over Christ at the Councils of Nicea and Chaledon and the work of the great Athanasius and Leo. He looks at the theology of the opponents of the orthodox picture of Christ presented in the creeds that developed at the councils, the historical context that these debates occurred, and the major orthodox players who helped to shape what we consider the true picture of Christ today as evangelicals.

The biggest strength of the volume is that Nichols, as a historian, realizes that we cannot simply focus on secondary sources or that even Nichols own analysis is sufficient to understanding these issues. One must look to the original sources. To that end, Nichols offers the original writings of those on both sides of the debates. So you will read the works of Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Tertullian, but you will also read from the Gnostic texts and Arius. It is important to look at both sides to see how ultimately, the church came to the expression of Christology that we consider orthodox today as expressed in the Nicean and Chalecedonian creeds. No one can truly understand the issues unless they look at the writings of the times. This helps but those debates in historical context and helps us to see the importance for us today.

These issues are not just old ones. We are facing the same issues today under new names. Therefore it is important to read the works of the early church fathers who dealt with these issues before. These issues are not tangential to the Christian life. They are at the core! Without an orthodox view of the person and work of Christ our salvation rests on no foundation. Only the God-man Jesus Christ, fully divine, and fully human, has the power to forgive sin and restore fellowship with the Father. Therefore, Nichol's book is a clarion call to all believers in this day to know in whom they have believed, and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which they have committed unto Him against that day. Our very salvation rests upon the person and work of Christ. May we shake off our theological and historical confusion and look to the Scriptures and the work of those who have gone before us as we seek to live our life for the one that came to save us, Christ Jesus our Lord. This book is highly recommended to that end for everyone who names the name of Christ.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sound Apologetic for the Deity of Christ
~For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church~ is an erudite work of Christian theological study for laypersons by Stephen Nichols. Therein, Nichols offers a thoughtful exposition on the Doctrine of Christ and His Deity. He illustrates how the early church fathers wrestled with these very issues. The book's title itself emanates from the words of Athanasius and the Nicene Creed, Christ is God in the flesh "for us and for our salvation." The author Nichols shows how church history is just as relevant today, since Christians are constantly revisiting the same controversies again and again. As Christians too, we should see the sovereign hand of providence at work. Though, the Church was confronted with the spirit of error, those who denied the Deity of Christ and/or that Christ had come in the flesh. Such controversies provided the opportunity for the Apostle Paul to clarify matters, building on the truth of the Gospel.In a strange providence, God allowed the spirit of error to be manifest that the truth and light of the Gospel would shine brighter yet still. Within the few centuries of the nascent Christianity's ascendancy, the early church fathers faced similar controversies emanating from various pseudo-Christian sects. They confronted Arians, Gnostics, Judaizers, and Modalists.

4-0 out of 5 stars Christ's Deity Defended...
Stephen J. Nichols hit a homerun in this book. As the title suggests, Dr. Nichols' goal is to establish what the early church thought of the Deity of Christ. He lays this out by going through a quick examination of who the "players" are, what and who they were fighting, and then laying out their arguments.

After this, he lets the men speak for themselves with their own writings. I really enjoyed this format. You get some explanation and then you get to read for yourself. Most books will either focus on just the explanation and yet others just lay out the entirety of a writing. This book is a great medium. Although it is short, it gets to the point and shows that the Council of Nicaea was definitely not the first time that Jesus' deity was brought forth in the church, but was orthodoxy handed down from the Apostles to those in the early church.

The book is broken down in chapters based on the different centuries and includes many men and their beliefs, from the early centuries all the way to the fifth century. You read from men like Ignatius, Irenaeus, Turtullian, Hippolytus, Athanasius, Leo the Great, and more. You also encounter some of the heretical writings so that you see what these men were fighting against.

All and all, I would use this book as a resource for any that doubt the doctrine of Christ's divinity in relation to the early church. No doubt the Bible speaks of the divinity of Christ, but now we are getting attacked that it was a foreign concept to the church fathers. This book puts that to rest in a quick and easy read on the subject that Jesus Christ was no doubt God, and was For Us and Our Salvation. Highly Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Clear, Brief and Helpful look into church history
Whenever I read something from church history I have the same approach and the same reaction. I approach the book thinking that I am going to have to jump into a time machine to relate to the subjects and issues of the day. However, I am quickly reminded that aside from the cool names there is very little that we do not have in common today with them.

In reading For Us and For Our Salvation I had the same response. Stephen Nichols does an admirable job of contextualizing the issues of yesterday while also helping us to see the commonality of what we are facing today. From the introduction Nichols writes:

The early church fathers wrestled with the same problems presented by The Da Vinci Code phenomenon and its fanciful speculations about Jesus. The wrestled with the same problems presented by Islam and its adamant denial of the deity of Christ. And they wrestled with the same problems presented by the scholars working in the Jesus Seminar or in Gnostic texts like the Gospel of Judas who quickly dismiss the four canonical Gospels as God's true revelation to humanity. In the days of the early church, the names of the opponents were different from those faced by us today, but the underlying issues bear a striking resemblance. When the church fathers responded with the orthodox view of Christ, they did the church of all ages a great service.

Nichols begins his book under the shadow of the completion of the New Testament and traces the development of the attacks and defense of the doctrine of Christ through the first four centuries. We are introduced to valiant defenders of a biblical Christology such as Tertullian, Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Hippolyteus. We learn of their battles against the Ebionites, Marcion, Sabellius and others. Furthermore, Nichols provides helpful detail concerning Athanasius and his battles with Arius.

In effort to help us see, feel and better understand the gravity of the issue at hand in these days Nichols intermixes chapters containing selections of the original documents written by both the "good guys" and the "bad guys". This is helpful in that it helps us remember that these were `regular' guys just living their lives, aiming to exalt Jesus by standing firm to what he Bible teaches. They had their 60-70 years to live and this is what they chose to fight for.

Nichols' book is a helpful look into the past for encouragement in the present. I really appreciated Nichols' ability to be both clear and brief in his chronicling of the doctrine of Christ in the early church. The book weighs in at more than manageable 172 pages which includes a couple of appendixes and a helpful glossary. For Us and For Our Salvation will doubtless prove helpful to all--pastors, teachers, students, and `laymen'.

4-0 out of 5 stars Church History Today
Stephen Nichols is quite the prolific author. A professor at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School and a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, Nichols has written several notable books in the past few years and it seems that he always has at least one title on the "Coming Soon" lists at Crossway or P&R Publishing. Nichols has a gift for presenting church history in a way that is interesting and in a way that appeals to those who may not otherwise know (or care) about the long, storied history of the church. He shows how church history is relevant precisely because the controversies we face today are strikingly similar to ones the church has dealt with long ages ago.

The early church fathers wrestled with the same problems presented by The Da Vinci Code phenomenon and its fanciful speculations about Jesus. They wrestled with the same problems presented by Islam and its adamant denial of the deity of Christ. And they wrestled with the same problems presented by the scholars working in the Jesus Seminar or in gnostic texts like the Gospel of Judas who quickly dismiss the four canonical Gospels as God's true revelation to humanity. In the days of the early church, the names of the opponents were different from those faced by us today, but the underlying issues bear a striking resemblance. When the church fathers responded with the orthodox view of Christ, they did the church of all ages a great service.

Nichols' latest effort is titled For Us and for Our Salvation and it examines the doctrine of Christ in the early church. "This book explores [the] controversies over Christ faced by the early church. This book also looks to tell the story of the people involved." The timing of this title is no coincidence. In the past few years we have seen several attacks on the doctrine of Christ, most of the accusers claiming that the doctrine of Jesus' divinity was a fabrication of those who followed centuries after His death.

This book tells the story of how the doctrine of Christ was formulated by the early church and how this doctrine was forged in the fires of controversy. It relies, as do many of Nichols' books, on primary source materials from the key councils and theologians. Nichols offers compelling proof that the divinity of Jesus Christ was not fabricated by his followers centuries later, but was central to the church from its earliest days.

He ultimately has to conclude that

The early church was right in spending so much time and effort on the doctrine of Christ. They were right to contend that Christ is the God-man, very God of very God and at the same time truly human with flesh and blood. They were right to content that Christ is two natures conjoined in one person without division, separation, confusion, or mixture, to use the language of the Chalcedonian Creed. They were also right to contend that the gospel collapses without this belief. In the words of Athanasius and the Nicene Creed, Christ is the God-man "for us and for our salvation."

I've long believed that church historians do not receive their due in today's church. But a man like Stephen Nichols shows what an integral role they can (and should!) play. Historians have a unique perspective on contemporary struggles in the church and are able to show, to borrow a great little phrase from French, "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." Or, to translate, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." There is a sense in which history seems cyclical--controversies arise and are put to rest for a time, but seem to rise again. Those with a view to the church's past are specially equipped to see these controversies for what they are and to teach how the church dealt with them in the past. Nichols does just this in For Us and for Our Salvation. He leaves no doubt that the answers to these contemporary issues lie in the past. ... Read more

5. J. Gresham Machen's The Gospel And The Modern World: And Other Short Writings
by J. Gresham Machen, Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 48 Pages (2005-01)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$2.52
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Asin: 0875526373
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) taught New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1906 to 1929, when he founded Westminster Theological Seminary.Does the gospel of Christ have a future in our increasingly secular world? J. Gresham Machen, who paid a steep price, professionally and personally, for his adherence to the gospel, pondered that question in the writings that comprise this thought-provoking booklet:

• "The Gospel and the Modern World" (1929)

• "Selected Correspondence with Harold John Ockenga" (1931)

• "Preaching the Gospel in the Modern World" (1931)

• "Skyscrapers and Cathedrals" (1931) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Eyeopening
Was amazed at how much the world happenings then were the same as today.Man never changes - always trying to say the Bible is irrevelant.I was really saddened when it was removed from the schools in the 60's.Our children are really missing out.Don't make assesrtions about the Bible unless you have read it, searched it, and understood it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding explanation of modernity's erosion of Christianity
I was introduced to the life and ministry of J. Gresham Machen by the book by David Hart titled Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America, which is an outstanding read, and then again in John Piper's wonderful Book Four of his Swans Are Not Silent series titled Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen.This was the first selection of Machen's own writings that I have read and I was greatly impressed.This short book is comprised of four different selections from Machen: "The Gospel and the Modern World," some selected correspondence between Machen and a student named Harold John Ockenga, a charge delivered to Ockenga's ordination titled "Preaching the Gospel in the Modern World," and a short essay published in McCall's in 1931 titled "Skyscrapers and Cathedrals."Each selection demonstrates Machen's profound understanding of the world around him and the severe implications facing a church that was moving away from the truth of Scripture in an attempt to be relevant and consistent with the world.

As I was reading the first essay, "The Gospel and the Modern World," I couldn't help but think about another profound selection written at the same time - Huxley's Brave New World.Machen's conclusion in this essay is that instead of protecting or expanding liberty, the modern world actually ends up destroying human liberty.In the battle between the natural and the supernatural, Machen recognizes that as the naturalistic worldview prevails, it not only eliminates the supernatural explanation of God, it also eliminates the need for God and the life lived in pursuit of any higher purpose or transcendent calling.While man has succeeded in becoming the master of his own universe, he has also succeeded in destroying any meaning or purpose for his very existence.This thought is probably best summarized in his final essay titled "Skyscrapers and Cathedrals" where he writes about the contrast between the modern builders amazing buildings that can lift the body to great heights in comparison to the medieval cathedrals that we able to uplift the soul of a man.

I have a tremendous appreciation for the life and ministry of Machen - he was a man that stood at the turn of the century and understood the profound changes that were taking root in Europe at the time and he sounded a clarion call to the United States warning us not to follow the folly overseas.But, as we stand here a century later, we realize that we as a nation, with much of the church included, did not heed his warning.I pray that a new generation of Christians will rise and understand the significance of following Christ and the cost that will be required to stand firm on the gospel and I believe that Machen's writings will be an essential element of our return to authentic Christianity if that day, indeed, does come. ... Read more

6. The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards: American Religion and the Evangelical Tradition
Paperback: 256 Pages (2003-08-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$21.43
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Asin: 0801026229
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Three hundred years after Edwards' birth, experts on Edwards examine the vision, theology, and legacy of this theological giant. Scholars contributing essays include Harry S. Stout, George M. Marsden, Gerald McDermott, and Douglas Sweeney. The first part of the book focuses on the vision of Jonathan Edwards, discussing how Edwards understood Native American mission, preaching, and Christian spirituality. A second section looks at Edwards' theology and its relevance for contemporary church issues, including the crisis of character and open theism. The third section examines how Edwards' legacy was carried on by later church leaders. And the final section offers personal reflections by long-time Edwards scholar George S. Claghorn and a survey of the best literature on Edwards. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the Life and Thought of Jonathan Edwards
Perhaps best known for his fiery sermons evoking images of fire and brimstone, Jonathan Edwards was actually one of the most influential thinkers America has ever produced.Even today, philosophy is forced to contend with his carefully crafted responses to the Enlightenment, the leading intellectual movement of his day.Historians must acknowledge the influence he wielded in eighteenth century New England.Protestant theologians still wrestle and debate his ideas on God's sovereignty, revival, joy in the Christian life, and Heaven and Hell. American society is particularly indebted for his contributions toward dealing with Native Americans and black slaves, which in his time, were nothing short of revolutionary.Indeed, Jonathan Edwards was a man who left an enduring and imposing legacy.

The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards consists of chapters written by different scholars and professors from around the country, each examining one aspect of Edwards' thought and life.The book includes scrutiny of Edwards' theology, apologetics, and philosophy.Specifically, some of the chapters deal with the eighteenth century Puritan's thoughts on open theism and God's sovereignty, experimental Calvinism and spiritual conversion, his intellectual response to the Enlightenment, slavery and Native Americans, church missions, apologetics, God's covenant with America, and the art of preaching.

The different authors involved in the book give each chapter a different flavor and make it difficult to accurately summarize and review the book in a concise manner.The idea for the book stemmed from a 2001 conference at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.The conference, entitled "Jonathan Edwards and the Future of Evangelicalism," was so well received that each of the keynote speakers eventually translated their lectures into a chapter for this joint effort.

Before reading this book I must confess of my general ignorance towards Edwardsian thought and theology beyond a general knowledge that he was one of the last Puritan preachers.This book served as an excellent introduction to his writings and thoughts.

I was most impressed by Stephen Nichols' chapter, "Last of the Mohican Missionaries." I had never known that Edwards chose to serve as a missionary to Native Americans for almost a decade at the height of his popularity in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a rural outpost town, when he could have commanded a much larger congregational audience every Sunday.Edwards' dealings with the tribes in western Massachusetts set an early example for missionaries in North America concerning the preaching of the gospel to foreign cultures.Most interesting, Edwards adopted the Native Americans' ways of living, including their language and living accommodations.

Other noteworthy chapters include Sam Storms "Open Theism in the Hands of an Angry Puritan."It was fascinating to read Edwards' thoughts on what is still a contemporary theological debate and, of course, he essentially destroyed the notion that open theism could be founded upon Biblically-based arguments.

The two closing chapters also added a lot to the overall work.In "Transcribing a Difficult Hand" George Claghorn recounts his experiences while spending over three decades of studying Edwards and tirelessly working to collect and transcribe old letters and documents written by the Puritan pastor.As you might guess from the chapter's title, Edwards was infamous for bad handwriting.Reading about Claghorn's personal experiences sometimes makes it sound like deciphering Edwards hand-written material was something akin to translating hieroglyphics! In the last chapter, Sean Michael Lucas gives a guided tour of books about Edwards, making it easy for interested readers to know where to learn more on the eighteenth century Puritan preacher.

As I stated above, The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards is a great introduction to Edwardsian thought and theology.The only thing I would have liked to see added is a chapter or two dedicated to the life of Edwards.A couple of chapters more biographical in nature would have made it easier for those unfamiliar with Edwards' life to understand what influenced and shaped him.This was the only glaring omission in the book and made it difficult at times to understand what prompted Edwards to write about the subjects he did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and Thoughtful Book for Edwards' 300th Birthday
This book is a welcome addition to many introductory books on the life, thought, and theology of Jonathan Edwards.Drs. D. G. Hart, Sean Michael Lucas (please correct his name- -it is Sean Michael Lucas, not 'Edwards'), and Stephen Nichols have done an outstanding job of writing clear and informative essays that will be appreciated by both those who are new to Edwards' influence on American Religion, as well as those trained as scholars in this field.

May Jonathan Edwards' life, thought, theology, and most of all his great devotion to God's glory and holiness recapture us all.This book will point those interested in the right direction and cause some to understand the evangelical tradition and theological stream in which we all live that flows from the influence of Dr. Edwards. Purchase this with the Marsden Volume on the life of Edwards, or Nichols' 'Guided Tour of Edwards' Life.
PS Please correct Dr. Lucas' name! ... Read more

7. Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 192 Pages (2008-09-01)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$1.95
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Asin: 1587432129
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In Getting the Blues, Stephen Nichols shows how blues music offers powerful insight into the biblical narrative and the life of Jesus. Weaving Bible stories together with intriguing details of the lives of blues musicians, he leads readers in a vivid exploration of how blues music teaches about sin, suffering, alienation, and worship. Nichols unpacks the Psalms, portions of the prophets, and Paul's writings in this unique way, revealing new facets of Scripture.Getting the Blues will resonate with all readers interested in Christianity and culture. In the end they will emerge with a greater understanding of the value of "theology in a minor key"--a theology that embraces suffering as well as joy.EXCERPTThis book attempts a theology in a minor key, a theology that lingers, however uncomfortably, over Good Friday. It takes its cue from the blues, harmonizing narratives of Scripture with narratives of the Mississippi Delta, the land of cotton fields and Cyprus swamps and the moaning slide guitar. This is not a book by a musician, however, but by a theologian. And so I offer a theological interpretation of the blues. Cambridge theologian Jeremy Begbie has argued for music's intrinsic ability to teach theology. As an improvisation on Begbie's thesis, I take the blues to be intrinsically suited to teach a particular theology, a theology in a minor key. This is not to suggest that a theology in a minor key, or the blues for that matter, utterly sounds out despair like the torrents of a spinning hurricane. A theology in a minor key is no mere existential scream. In fact, a theology in a minor key sounds a rather hopeful melody. Good Friday yearns for Easter, and eventually Easter comes. Blues singers, even when groaning of the worst of times, know to cry out for mercy because they know that, despite appearances, Sunday's coming. . . . The blues, like the writings of Flannery O'Connor, need not mention him [Christ] in every line, or in every song, but he haunts the music just the same. At the end of the day, he serves as the resolution to the conflict churning throughout the blues, the conflict that keeps the music surging like the floodwaters of the Mississippi River. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Look at "Real" Music
While I am not going to argue with Paul's words in Philippians, reality is also found in James 1:2 where we are told to rejoice "when trials come upon you," not "if."The blues deal with real life and Nichols does a great job of tying blues music to the gospel.

If you ever find yourself tiring of the happy-clappy joy-joy treacle found on Christian radio you should read this book.Not too many artists in the CCM scene have a name that starts with "Blind," like so many of the blues artists'.There are times when life is painful and the blues deal with that.

4-0 out of 5 stars An intriguing look at Christian theology through the lens of blues music
"The blues is a congregation that sings on Saturday night in expectation of Sunday" (171).The blues forces us to deal with the realities of life.The woman who "done me wrong," the death of friends, the strong allure of drink, smoke, and other vices.Yet at the same time, while in the fray of dealing with so much trouble, the blues points us to the hope of things to come.That glorious Sunday morning when all will be made right and salvation will surely come.

In his book, Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation, Stephen J. Nichols takes us on a musical journey through the early 20th century Mississippi Delta in search of a theology in the minor key.Too many American evangelicals, he states, live life as though it is always "spring and summer without winter or fall.Or always Easter and never Good Friday" (14).This attitude, for the author, is simplistic and naïve at best, borderline blasphemous at worst.This is because it is a rejection of the experience and intent of Jesus Christ, who, though fully God, left the spring and summer of heaven to take on flesh and dwell in the winter and fall of earthly life.

Half history book, half theology book, Getting the Blues delves into how the blues can give us insight for living in this constant tension between reality and the hope to come.Comprised of six chapters, this book begins with an orientation to the world of the blues--its musical characteristics, origins, key players--as well as an introduction to the theological themes of the blues in a chapter entitled, "What Hath Mississippi to Do with Jerusalem."The second chapter, "I Be's Troubled," explores the relationship between what both the blues and the Bible have to say about the human condition. "Man of Sorrows" turns to the individual, casting King David as perhaps the earliest blues singer, drawing parallels between many of the lament Psalms and Mississippi Delta blues.Men are not the only ones to sing the blues, however, and Nichols next turns to the experience of women in the Delta and Naomi from the book of Ruth in "Woman of Sorrows."

After spending a fair amount of time in the fall and winter of life through the lens of blues singers and Biblical characters, Getting the Blues starts the journey toward Sunday, first in chapter 5, "Precious Lord."This chapter discusses Christ as the answer for the curse that all of us feel the effects of, and that blues singers so often sing of.Finally, chapter 6, "Come Sunday," brings us home, showing us the preferred answer of the blues singers to life's struggles and hardships.Nichols concludes, "The blues is ultimately an eschatology" (166):the blues acknowledges and deals with suffering, works to make things better while we're here, and looks forward to the day when everything is new and right.

This was quite a fascinating book to read on several points.The history of the early blues singers that the author presents is quite impactful and is a history that has largely been lost or passed over in American culture, though that history provided much of the foundation, especially musically, for later 20th century culture.

The theological themes that the author was able to find in the blues are an important corrective to the prevailing timbre of modern American evangelicalism.Though the struggles of life are somewhat acknowledged by this group, as evidenced by the plethora of "self-help" type books that line the shelves of Christian bookstores, much of American evangelicalism has no framework for how to deal with such struggles.Nichols, and the blues music he presents, calls evangelicals to fully acknowledge and embrace the trials of life as a universal experience to life under the curse.But at the same time, he urges looking to the person and work of Jesus, the only one who can rescue the downcast soul and who promises to bring his people home safe and sound.

If there is one fault of the book, it is back and forth between history of the blues and exploration of theological themes in the blues.While the history is certainly important for context, there was almost too much of it, at least in a book that's only 179 pages long.Because there was so much recounting of history, there was not as much theologizing on the blues as I had expected in approaching this book, and even much of what was there was, at times, bogged down by lengthy strings of quotes.

Despite this, however, I would absolutely recommend this book.The last chapter alone is well worth the price and launches the discussion of the blues's place in modern evangelicalism into a couple of very fascinating trajectories.Perhaps there will one day be entire volumes dedicated to developing the blues as an eschatology or the blues as an ecclesiology.

Getting the Blues is certainly an enjoyable and informative read, and one that would do many, especially evangelical Christians, good to read.Having been a blues fan for much of my life, this book has given me a deeper sense of what it means to have the blues, to sing the blues, and to find hope and life in the blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, excellent book.
I am grateful for this book. It ranks with "Hungry for Heaven: Rock and Roll and the Search for Redemption" by Steve Turner. These books offer encouragement to those who want to reap the benefits of great, deep recorded art on their Christian journey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Getting The Blues
Being a blues musician I have always felt the blues is a biblical music. If you read the Psalms its easy to see that David had the blues. I believe David was a blues guitar player. Nichols calls the blues "theology in a minor key" and shows how this music relates to biblical themes of salvation and suffering. If you love music or history you should read this book. The author also includes some lyrics he has written. If you read the bible thinking about the blues you will see that every major character had the blues at one time or another and you will also see how God moves in their lives to save and deliever them. As a blues guitar playing Pastor of a local Church I recomend this book to you. Visit my blog www.marksgottheblues.blogspot.com

4-0 out of 5 stars Mac N' Cheese have nothing on this book
Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation by Stephen J. Nichols was definitely a great find. As one who knew practically nothing of the blues, this book opened my eyes to the soul behind the most soul-filled music ever created. Nichols also did an extremely well job of sticking to the thesis of this book and incorporating the very visible theological themes within this passionate genre of music.

The book doesn't stray far from the Delta River Blues and Blues musicians. As one of the oft-mentioned artist said, "Blues is the roots, the rest is the fruits." Nichols compares this area with that of Eden, a place where something more extrordinary began, but also a place where much torment and separation are always before your eyes and the back of your mind.

Nichols turns the Blues, which are generally thought of as extremely secular, into lessons on Christ, Suffering, Salvation, and Eternal Life in an extremely intricate way. You could definitely find some comfort in this book if you connect with the disheartened, and bedraggled of the world.

The only thing that really hindered my reading was the amount of lyrics inserted between Nichols own words to make his point. I can understand that attempting to make a point about a bunch of songs is difficult, especially when attempting to write for an audience that isn't familiar with these songs, but this made it seem like a college research paper. The points could have been made without so many. But, I would still recommend this book, it just may take a while to work through. ... Read more

8. Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 247 Pages (2001-10-12)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.46
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Asin: 0875521940
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Jonathan Edwards, a leader in the Great Awakening during the eighteenth century, still has much to teach the church. Evangelicals are rediscovering him through the efforts of several authors (John Gerstner, Iain Murray, Harry Stout, and others) and publishers (Banner of Truth, Soli Deo Gloria, and Crossway). Stephen Nichols offers Jonathan Edwards "as an introduction, a gateway into the vast and rewarding life, thought, and writings of Jonathan Edwards." He intends it for anyone who wants to read Edwards but who needs a little help. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Entry-Level Introduction
Jonathan Edwards: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought by Stephen J. Nicholas was at the same time excellent and disappointing. The disappointment was my fault and in no way reflects upon the book or the author, for I had begun reading it with unfair expectations. I had not read the cover carefully and thus I thought I was buying a short biography of Edwards and that is not what this book is. After I came to realize what the book was intended to be, I enjoyed it thoroughly. And in this way it was excellent. Despite not being a biography it contained all sorts of great information about Edwards and about the events and writings that shaped his life. It is, as it says in the title, a guided tour to his life and thoughts more than a chronological ordering of the events of his life. More than a biography, this is a gateway into the thoughts, writings and theology of this great man of God.

In the introduction Nichols writes that the book "is not an end in itself; it is not a substitute for reading Edwards. It is intended to help anyone who, like me, has wanted to read Edwards and even has tried to read him, but needs a little help." It might also be said that this book is not a substitute for reading a thorough biography of the man. Later Nicholas says "My hope is that this book will help you to see the relevance and importance of Edward's thought and that through these pages Edwards will help you, as he has helped so many others, to better understand God, his Word, his work in this world, and your place in it." In this regard, the book and the author succeed admirably.

The format of the book is as follows. It is divided into four sections. The first section, comprising two chapters is dedicated to a short overview of his life, from his upbringing in a Christian home to his untimely death from a failed smallpox innoculation. The following three parts, each comprised of three or four chapters, examine his writings and sermons. Part two examines his writings on revival and church life, part three his writings on theology and philosophy and part four several of his sermons. Each is presented in the appropriate historical context and is examined in light of the impact it had in his day and in its ongoing relevance to the church today.

This book is a solid entry-level introduction to Jonathan Edwards, and in particular, to his contribution to Christian thought and theology. I give it my recommendation, not as an alternative to his writings or biographies, but, as it was meant to be, a supplement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on a Great Man of God!
Nichols has written an excellent book on the ministry of Jonathan Edwards and will enlighten the reader on how a godly many Edwards really was.

While the book delves somewhat into his personal life, the majority of the text involves his writings on revival, church life, theology, and philosophy.

While I would recommend Iain Murray's book on Edwards for more personal information on the man, I still recommend Nichols' book on what Edwards thought.

An excellent read for knowing more about one of America's greatest theologians!

Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars A First...
This is an excellent book on the life of Jonathan Edwards. Dr. Nichols did an incredible job of depicting his life and thought...reflecting on what it was to be one of the most influential theologians ever! ... Read more

9. Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 240 Pages (2003-04)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$8.39
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Asin: 0875525563
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Protestants of all stripes have long read at least a few of Martin Luther’s works, but 21st-century readers need guidance and encouragement. Stephen Nichols’s Martin Luther provides both.

After an exciting overview of Luther’s life and theology, Nichols orients the reader to some of the Reformer’s major works: The Bondage of the Will, The Three Treatises, The Small Catechism, and On the Councils and the Church. Luther’s ethical writings, "table talk," hymns, and sermons also receive due attention. "A Select Guide to Books by and about Luther" concludes this volume, which displays more than 20 illustrations.

"I have chosen the texts and issues that seem to be both pivotal and prominent in Luther’s thought," writes Nichols. "This encounter is intended to serve as the gateway for further exploration in his life and thought."

"How do you write a book that’s easy to read and yet is theologically precise? How do you do a book on everything from training of children to hymns to preaching to political conflict—and have it always full and running over with the glorious gospel, which Luther found again for the whole Christian world? Well, Nichols has done it." —D. Clair Davis ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!!!
Martin Luther a man after truth.It is a must read. He sought truth and God showed him truth.God showed himself to Martin Luther and he wanted to share this experience with the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent read and scholarship
Nichols uses sound scholarship to make an easily accessible book that is an easy read in providing some of Luther's basics.

5-0 out of 5 stars 4 stars, but we need balance
First of all, please see my rebuttal to the awful one star reveiw in close proximity to mine.

And on to my reveiw...
Though this is certainly not the best work on Luther, I would venture to say that it is the best popular introduction. The book is layed out nicely. It reads quickly. Covers all of Luther's major epochs and works in a compact fashion. Having read the book, the average high schooler will have a reasonable amount of knowledge about Luther and a desire to learn more. My only complaint is that it would have been nice to have more than two chapters of biography at the front end. Nichol's is a good scholar and is doing a service to the church by writing history in a way that is easy for the layman to digest and enjoy. If you are mildly interested in understanding Luther, I would get this book, a good biography (Bainton or Kittelson), and Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings edited by Lull. Nichol's also has great suggested reading sections and a good bibliography for further study.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disinformation on Martin Luther
This is the worst book I have ever read on the topic of Martin Luther by a person claiming to be Reformed.

The book is littered with historical and theological mistakes from start to finish.

Nichols asserts that Luther himself wrote "Table Talk" in one part of the book.Nichols writes, "Luther, in one of his table talk entries..." page 162.Any novice of church history knows that Luther did not author "Table Talk."This is poor scholarship.

Another mistake is seen when Nichols asserts that the 5-Solas are Protestant presuppositions.This is the type of mistake we expect someone from a completely different religion to make, not one who is supposed to be Calvinistic.Nichols writes, "Perhaps more than any other person, Luther shaped the presuppositions that define Protestantism.Theologians use a series of Latin expressions to capture these concepts.Known as the "Reformation Solas," they include:sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone; sola fide, faith alone;sola gratia, grace alone;solus Christus, Christ alone;and soli Deo gloria, to the glory of God alone.These ideas all take root in Martin Luther's thinking" page 16.

Sola Scriptura is the Axiom of Christianity.It is the belief that the Bible alone is the word of God.It is the only "Sola" that is presupposed.The other 4 are either explicitly stated or logically deduced from the Bible alone.Nichols is therefore wrong.For Nichols to make the absurd claim that all of the "Solas" are presupposed by Protestants is to completely misrepresent Protestant theology.Furthermore, the "Solas" do not take their root in Martin Luther's thinking.Luther merely rediscovered these principles and published them openly.He did not come up with them.John Wycliffe and John Huss, for example, each asserted the Protestant principle of Scripture Alone.Both were persecuted for their profession, and Huss even died the martyr's death for it.

These are two mistakes I came across in my reading of this book.There are many more. ... Read more

10. Pages From Church History: A Guided Tour of Christian Classics
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 329 Pages (2006-11)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$7.19
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Asin: 0875526365
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars So much to learn about our past...
This summer I read Church History ABCsThe Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith by Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard.Reading that book made me realize how little I understood about church history and how much I really did want to know and understand.So often names come up in conversations with my husband that I know who they are, but can't seem to keep straight.So, I started looking for a book to help me fill in the blanks.

In college, I took a class called the History of Christianity.It was absolutely boring and the textbook was dry.That's why I thought the history of the church wasn't something I wanted to know anything more about. But, my mind has changed about that.

This summer I started reading another book by Stephen J. Nichols titled Pages From Church History.The book starts with an introduction about why we should care about history.I love this quote on page 13-14 "Without meaningful connections to the past, the soul does not grow deep, but constricts, growing more and more shallow.As many have observed, our age tends to be consumed with the present, the new, and even the future...There also lurks, however, a downside, as this tendency can lead to a certain ahistoricism, a sentiment that tells us the past is of little relevance and may be handily brushed aside." On page 14-15 Nichols then goes on to write, "Studying the past offers meaningful connections with our legacy.We are enriched through our study of the past, simultaneously humbled by testimonies of courage and emboldened by reflections of God's grace and faithfulness..Church history not only inspires, it also instructs."

There is a verse that often comes to mind when people claim to be original and that the past doesn't matter.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
It was humbling to read what people in the history of the church did with their lives and who they were.We are to learn from the past for so many reasons.But, as Nichols expresses in his book--we would do well not to forget those who have come before us.

From the introduction, Nichols begins the first chapter with a brief look at church history.Though brief, it is packed full of information and food for thought.After the first chapter, there are twelve chapters about different figures that are significant in the history of the church.Some of them I knew and others I didn't.But, even if I knew the name of the person, I learned as I read the chapters how much I truly didn't understand about that person and their place in history.

One of the reasons I felt the need to really understand church history is that I have been struck this year how the history of the world is taught absent God.The deist perspective is that God created the world and then simply checked out.Man was left to his own devices.Even if people don't believe in the big bang, evolution is so prevalent that the default many people come to believe, I think, is that of the deist perspective.I want to understand church history so that I can integrate it with what I teach my children through the years about history.I want them to understand and have a humble perspective of who they are, but recognize that God created them and that they have a place in the big picture--a place that God has planned for them.

I leave this book in my car and read a few pages at a time and discuss them with my husband.It is very meaty and has so many details in it.It is a book that my husband could sit down and easily read straight through.But, my concentration isn't quite as strong right now amidst the craziness of my life with 3 kids and homeschooling.Still, I am able to pick it up and truly enjoy a few pages at a time.I learn something every time I read this book.I am beginning to understand the Catholic church more than I ever have before as I learn where the roots of their traditions and beliefs come from.

If you find yourself looking for a wonderful, interesting, and engaging book about church history, I would highly recommend this book to any adult.It would be great also for a high schooler who is being homeschooled.You'd definitely want to discuss it and read it together, but this book is very easy to understand.

Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book from P&R Publishing for review.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Book to Buy
I am finishing my fist degree in Theology and have found this book the be detailed as well as inspirational. Its a great story of the development and movement of theology. ... Read more

11. An Absolute Sort of Certainty: The Holy Spirit and the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards
by Stephen J. Nichols
Paperback: 202 Pages (2003-10)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.21
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Asin: 0875527914
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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3-0 out of 5 stars Something of a disappointment
There are several positive aspects to this book. It gives a good presentation of the doctrine of illumination as being a wholly supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. It discusses Edwards's view of the Trinity, which is truly thought provoking, if speculative. It introduces the reader to Plantinga's theory of warrant and Coady's work on testimony, both of which can help Christians maintain their bearings in the midst of the prevailing postmodernism of our culture.

On the negative side, the book started life as Nichols's Ph.D. dissertation, and though presumably reworked somewhat for the popular reader, it still retains the polemic and strained tone of an academic work. I much prefer it when an author is motivated by passion than by the need to demonstrate his case in lawyer-like fashion. (See Calvin's "The Bondage and Liberation of the Will"--translated into English for the first time just eight years ago--for an example of passionate writing!) I also thought Nichols did a poor job of explaining difficult, nuanced concepts such as the internum testimonium Spiritus Sancti, though this may have been because his original audience consisted of seminary professors who didn't require an explanation from the ground up.

If you read everything on Edwards that you can get your hands on, you will probably want to read this. Otherwise, I would suggest you pass on this one. ... Read more

12. The New Medievalism (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
Paperback: 336 Pages (1991-10-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.12
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Asin: 0801841720
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"This is a substantial and readable volume, and it is supplied with a rich array of documentation in the notes and bibliography. It deals with a question of critical importance for current research on medieval `literature': namely, the relationship between this literature and us... This is an important collection, and one may congratulate the editors of their ambitious undertaking." -- Paul Zumthor, Speculum.

... Read more

13. Romanesque Signs: Early Mediaeval Narrative and Iconography
by Stephen G. Nichols
 Paperback: 264 Pages (1986-07-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$29.95
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Asin: 0300036779
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14. The Whole Book: Cultural Perspectives on the Medieval Miscellany (Recentiores: Later Latin Texts and Contexts)
Hardcover: 200 Pages (1997-01-01)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$70.00
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Asin: 0472106961
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In the last few decades it has become abundantly clear how important is the "archaeology of the manuscript-book" in literary and textual scholarship. This method offers essential contexts for an editor's understanding of a manuscript, and helps to set the manuscript in the historical matrix in which the work was first brought out and understood.
This group of papers, edited by two well-known scholars of the medieval world, offers both general and particular approaches to the issues surrounding manuscripts produced in the medieval habit of "miscellany," works of seemingly diverse natures bound together into one volume. Julia Boffey investigates how certain poetical miscellanies came to be assembled, for example, while Sylvia Huot suggests that the miscellany had many different sorts of function and significance. Siegfried Wenzel considers a taxonomy of such collections, and A. S. G. Edwards' paper considers Bodleian Selden B.24 as an example of how the notions of canon, authorship, and attribution might come into play. Ann Matter's final chapter offers the notion that what we call "miscellanies" are likely to have an internal logic that we have been trained to miss, but can come to understand. Other contributors are Ralph Hanna III, Georg Knauer, Stephen Nichols, James J. O'Donnell, and Barbara A. Shailor.
Because The Whole Book deals not only with the content of miscellanies but also with contemporary literary principles, this volume will be of interest to a wide circle of literary critics and historians, as well as to students of the survival of literature and of cultural values.
Stephen G. Nichols is James M. Beall Professor of French and Chair of the Department of French, The Johns Hopkins University. Siegfried Wenzel is Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania.
... Read more

15. The Evidence in Hand:Report of the Task Force on the Artifact in Library Collections
by Stephen G. and Abby Smith Nichols
 Paperback: 114 Pages (2001)

Isbn: 1887334882
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16. Rethinking the Medieval Senses: Heritage / Fascinations / Frames (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
Paperback: 344 Pages (2008-01-02)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$15.15
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Asin: 0801887372
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How much can we know about sensory experience in the Middle Ages? While few would question that the human senses encountered a profoundly different environment in the medieval world, two distinct and opposite interpretations of that encounter have emerged -- one of high sensual intensity and one of extreme sensual starvation.

Presenting original, cutting-edge scholarship, Stephen G. Nichols, Andreas Kablitz, Alison Calhoun, and their team of distinguished colleagues transport us to the center of this lively debate. Organized within historical, thematic, and contextual frameworks, these essays examine the psychological, rhetorical, and philological complexities of sensory perception from the classical period to the late Middle Ages.

Contributors: Marina Brownlee, Princeton University; Alison Calhoun, Johns Hopkins University; Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Stanford University; Daniel Heller-Roazen, Princeton University; Andreas Kablitz, Universität zu Köln; Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, University of Zurich; Joachim Küpper, Freie Universität Berlin; Stephen G. Nichols, Johns Hopkins University; David Nirenberg, University of Chicago; Gabrielle M. Spiegel, Johns Hopkins University; Eugene Vance, University of Washington; Gregor Vogt-Spira, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald; Rainer Warning, University of Munich; Heather Webb, Ohio State University; Michel Zink, Collège de France.

... Read more

17. Aucassin & Nicolette, A Chantefable from the Twelfth-Century Minstrels: A Facing-Page Translation
 Hardcover: 139 Pages (2008-03-30)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$99.95
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Asin: 0773451528
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18. The Life and Writings of John Frith, 1503-1533: The Development of His Concept of Religious Toleration in the Early English Reformation
by David C. Hard
 Hardcover: 221 Pages (2009-02-28)
list price: US$109.95 -- used & new: US$109.95
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Asin: 0773447520
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Reformer John Frith was burned as a heretic during the reign of Henry VIII because he denied the Roman dogmas of purgatory and transubstantiation. This study seeks to trace the origin of Frith's adiaphorism. Chapter one introduces Frith and his adiaphorism in the context of the early English Reformation. Chapter two examines the historical development of the adiaphora concept, particularly as it relates to the English Reformation. The influence of Christian Humanism is explored, especially the contribution of Erasmus. Finally, the famous debate between Erasmus and Luther is found to contain both reformers' thoughts on this issue. Chapter three is a study of the life of Frith. Special attention is given to experiences and influences that may have contributed to the development of his adiaphorism. The role that William Tyndale played in this regard is discussed. Chapter four contains a detailed analysis of Frith's development of doctrinal adiaphora against the background of his publication "A Disputation of Purgatory". A brief history of the doctrine of purgatory is included.Chapter five continues to analyze Frith's adiaphorism as developed in his treatise against transubstantiation entitled "Answer to More". A brief discussion of the doctrine of the real presence in the early fathers is also included. The basis of Frith's argument was that "Scripture" is the final authority in any dispute over doctrine. Any belief or ceremony not shown by "Scripture" to be essential to salvation was considered 'indifferent' and of secondary importance. This allowed Frith to argue for a toleration of divergent views in a spirit of Christian love. By applying his adiaphora principle to the most hotly debated issues of the sixteenth century, Frith courageously stood against the dogmatism and intolerance of his day. ... Read more

19. Kantorowicz: Stories of a Historian (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
by Alain Boureau
Hardcover: 136 Pages (2001-03-01)
list price: US$49.00 -- used & new: US$26.56
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Asin: 0801866235
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Ernst Kantorowicz was a complex figure whose longincident-filled life seemed to embody many of the contradictions ofthe twentieth century. A Jew from a disputed area between Germany andPoland who fought on the German side in World War I, he first achievedacademic success with Frederick II (1927), a work whose language, inGabrielle Spiegel's words, "often came perilously close to that of theNazi party" in its desire to see a reconstituted German nation onceagain dominant on the world stage. Forced to emigrate when the Naziscame to power, Kantorowicz later became embroiled in controversy when,at Berkeley during the McCarthy era, he refused to sign an oath ofallegiance designed to identify Communist Party sympathizers.Resigning from Berkeley as a result of the controversy over theloyalty oath, Kantorowicz moved to the Institute of Advanced Study inPrinceton, where he remained for the rest of his life and where hewrote his masterpiece, The King's Two Bodies.

Kantorowicz the historian, however, had no wish to see his own life become a subject of historical study. When he died in 1963, his will directed that all his personal papers be destroyed. Why had a historian so involved in history wished to erase himself from it? In Kantorowicz: Stories of a Historian, Alain Boureau confronts this question by writing a unique work which is as much a speculation on the nature of biography as it is a biographical study. In the absence of personal records, Boureau seeks to get at the interior life of this enigmatic individual through the recourse of "parallel lives"—real-life figures and characters from novels of the time who were faced with similar crises and who shared aspects of upbringing, training, and circumstance.

This fascinating, nontraditional biography, originally published in France in 1990, appears for the first time in English, translated by Stephen G. Nichols and Gabrielle M. Spiegel. ... Read more

20. Mindreading: An Integrated Account of Pretence, Self-Awareness, and Understanding Other Minds (Oxford Cognitive Science Series)
by Shaun Nichols, Stephen P. Stich
Paperback: 248 Pages (2003-10-09)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$40.13
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Asin: 0198236107
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The everyday capacity to understand the mind, or 'mindreading', plays an enormous role in our ordinary lives. Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich provide a detailed and integrated account of the intricate web of mental components underlying this fascinating and multifarious skill. The imagination, they argue, is essential to understanding others, and there are special cognitive mechanisms for understanding oneself. The account that emerges has broad implications for longstanding philosophical debates over the status of folk psychology.

Mindreading is another trailblazing volume in the prestigious interdisciplinary Oxford Cognitive Science series. ... Read more

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