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An Introduction to German Pietism

, 520 pages

11 halftones, 3 line drawings

March 2013



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An Introduction to German Pietism

Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe

Winner, 2014 Dale Brown Book Award, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies

An Introduction to German Pietism provides a scholarly investigation of a movement that changed the history of Protestantism. The Pietists can be credited with inspiring both Evangelicalism and modern individualism.

Taking into account new discoveries in the field, Douglas H. Shantz focuses on features of Pietism that made it religiously and culturally significant. He discusses the social and religious roots of Pietism in earlier German Radicalism and situates Pietist beginnings in three cities: Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Halle. Shantz also examines the cultural worlds of the Pietists, including Pietism and gender, Pietists as readers and translators of the Bible, and Pietists as missionaries to the far reaches of the world. He not only considers Pietism's role in shaping modern western religion and culture but also reflects on the relevance of the Pietist religious paradigm of today.

The first survey of German Pietism in English in forty years, An Introduction to German Pietism provides a narrative interpretation of the movement as a whole. The book's accessible tone and concise portrayal of an extensive and complex subject make it ideal for courses on early modern Christianity and German history. The book includes appendices with translations of German primary sources and discussion questions.

Douglas H. Shantz is Professor of Christian Thought at the University of Calgary and the author of Between Sardis and Philadelphia: The Life and World of Pietist Court Preacher Conrad Bröske.

"In Shantz’s book there is a fine balance between the 'old' and the 'new' approaches to the movement, keeping what is of proven importance and adding to this the 'new' that has opened Pietism to the modern world in the past three decades... It offers in its conclusion and in its argument a whole strategy for assessing what is of continuing value in the cultural and religious legacy of German Pietism."

"Shantz's lively book explores the sweep of Pietism from its sixteenth-century antecedents to the later figures of Bengel and Oetinger. Drawing on his own research and the wealth of recent scholarship, he makes sense of Pietism's diverse streams, the competing attempts to define it, and its ambivalent legacy for modernity. Without question, this is now the most cogent account of Pietism in English."

"Shantz documents the great diversity within Pietism through accounts of scores of individuals and their unique contributions... Highly recommended."

"An excellent entree to the history and character of Pietism."

"This book creates a critical foundation for grasping many of the significant influences on transatlantic Evangelicalism... It is an excellent introduction to the study of German Pietism... This book can be read by anyone interested in learning more about German Pietism."

"Shantz succeeds in providing a detailed, but largely accessible introduction to a movement that becomes harder to define, or to ignore, the more attention it gathers from scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. Among its other virtues, An Introduction to German Pietism also serves as an introduction to German scholars on the subject."

"Douglas Shantz's book An Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe... is easily the most thorough history Pietism available in English... No other recent book as effectively expounds the past thirty years of historians' struggles with this topic or provides as thorough a narrative, or suggests as many appropriate avenues for further inquiry. The work is nuanced, detailed, and fully conversant with the hundreds of years of sectarian debate in its social context and current historiography."

"[ An Introduction to German Pietism] is an outstanding introduction to German Pietism. The theme itself if a complex one and Shantz makes an admirable attempt to elucidate it... In sum, this book is a laudable contribution to the field of Pietist studies."

" An Introduction to German Pietism is an impressive scholarly work... This book is clearly written and well structured. It tackles a complicated historiographical field while still emphasizing Shantz's own interpretation of Pietism's importance in the development of modern Europe and modern religion. Most importantly, it serves its primary purpose as an engaging and clear introduction to the study of German Pietism."

"Not only will it correct loads of bad and biased information, it will provide you with a full and nuanced understanding of the subject."

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