I do not use the phrase “raving about it” very often, but…this is one of those times when it is the best thing I can think to say about the endorsements we are receiving for a forthcoming book.
Coming in June, we will be publishing an outstanding English translation of Ernst Walter Zeeden’s study of how Lutherans in German reformed the customs and traditions of the Medieval Roman Mass. This book will contain surprises for all concerned.Check out this line up of endorsements. I’ll keep you posted when the book comes out. It’s title is: Faith and Act: The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation.
Here are the endorsements we have received, so far:
Ernst Walter Zeeden was one of the most important Reformation historians of the twentieth century. Years before scholars began to weigh up the vitality of late-medieval religion or trace the broad outlines of the confessionalization process, Zeeden was shedding light on a religious culture that transcended the traditional late-medieval and early modern divide while thinking of new ways to comprehend the period as a whole, an approach that eventually led to his influential idea of the “formation of confessions.” Faith and Act was one of his earliest and most important works in this vein, a mix of exacting research and historiographical vision that may justly be viewed as one of the foundation texts of modern Reformation history.
—C. Scott Dixon, PhD
Queen’s University, Belfast
For 50 years Zeeden’s work has shaped historians’ knowledge of the confessionalizing of religious life and practice in Reformation-era Europe. Faith and Act provides a masterful account of the ritual system of the churches in Protestant Germany by means of a close analysis of the documents through which the Reformers both preserved and adapted elements of the Catholic tradition. Historians of liturgy and church discipline will welcome the re-appearance of Zeeden’s classic monograph, gracefully translated and with updated bibliographical references.
—Ralph Keen, PhD
Professor of History
Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation Chair in Catholic Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago
Kevin Walker’s translation of Faith and Act represents a necessary addition to contemporary scholarship on how liturgical practices shaped the lived religion of the Reformation churches. Zeeden’s original book was visionary in many ways; it anticipated both the scholarly discussion over confessionalization that has dominated the last generation of Reformation scholarship and the debate inspired by Gerald Strauss over the relative success or failure of the Reformation. Walker’s translation brings Zeeden’s original insights to light for an Anglophone audience, and his preface and notes update the scholarly apparatus to account for over fifty years of scholarship inspired by, and in dialogue with, Zeeden’s original. Walker’s additions never overshadow the text, however, and his explanation of ecclesiastical terminology in the preface provides a remarkably clear window into the diverse and potentially overwhelming world of organizational, disciplinary, and liturgical practices that characterized the nascent Lutheran churches. Taken as a whole, this new translation of Zeeden’s Faith and Act reveals a fluid religious culture in which secular and ecclesiastical leaders strove to synthesize traditional forms of worship with novel theological insights; this depiction adds depth and specificity to our knowledge of that process of synthesis, and delightfully unsettles easy generalizations about the transition from medieval to early modern Christianity.
—Phillip Haberkern, PhD
Assistant Professor of History
Ernst Walter Zeeden’s Katholische Überlieferungen in den lutherischen Kirchenordnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts is one of the most important works of German research from the past half century concerning the history of the Reformation and its ramifications. For comparative historical research of confessions, which consequently became focused under the key concepts of “confessional formation” and “confessionalization,” this book represented a decisive breakthrough in terms of methodology and substance. Zeeden was able to show that the separation of the confessions in the everyday religious life of people in the Holy Roman Empire was a slow process that stretched over several generations. In doing so, he qualified firmly ingrained views of history of Protestant and Catholic historians (and theologians), who had presumed an early separation of the confessions: Some saw the “introduction of the Reformation” at the earliest possible fixed date (with the first evangelical sermon and celebration of the Lord’s Supper under both kinds), others in the successful defense of Catholicism and beginning of the Counter-Reformation, also preferably as early as the 1520s and 1530s (with territorial prohibition mandates). By way of contrast, Zeeden pointed to the numerous cases of interference and mixed forms in practice, in which the old Church and new faith coexisted in many German territories and cities. Closed confessional states among the territories of the Empire were for a considerable time more the exception than the rule. The dogmatic confessional definitions of doctrine (Augsburg Confession, Council of Trent, Heidelberg Catechism) were put into practice in worship, piety, and everyday life also very gradually at first and with numerous compromises. In conjunction with this, Zeeden also drew attention to the significance of cultural-historical phenomena (art, literature, popular customs). It is to be highly welcomed that now after half a century this groundbreaking study for research is being translated into English.
—Professor Dr. Anton Schindling
Seminar für Neuere Geschichte
This book would be a helpful contribution to Lutheran theology and church life if it offered only an English translation of Zeeden’s classic study, which made clear the dense catholicity of earliest Lutheran church practice. Translator Kevin G. Walker offers here much more. In a highly informative preface, as well as dozens of new footnotes, he breathes new life into the work, making it much more useful and relevant for today. For everyone who really cares how the Lutheran Reformation came to life in a rich but varied liturgical practice, this book, now more than ever, is essential reading.
—Mickey Mattox, PhD
Associate Professor of Theology
Director of Undergraduate Studies in Theology
Kevin Walker has done us a service through his translation of Ernst Zeeden’s monumental study of the Lutheran church orders of the sixteenth century. These documents provide a unique insight into the Lutheran Reformation, both the successes it enjoyed as well as the perennial challenges and occasional failures. Anyone interested in the development of Lutheran liturgical practice, especially in light of medieval milieu from whence it came, will find Faith and Act to be an engaging resource.
—Paul Grime, PhD
Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions
Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
A gripping read awaits those who attend to Zeeden’s multi-faceted account of the nitty-gritty of classical Lutheran church life in its parish and public setting. As he shows how the first generations committed to the Augustana took care not to throw out the ‘catholic’ baby with the tainted ‘medieval’ water, a master historian of another confession poses searching questions to Lutherans of the present day. I commend Kevin Walker for toiling to make this significant study available to the reading public of the Anglosphere.
—John R Stephenson, PhD
Professor of Historical Theology
Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario
This meticulous historical study examines the complexities of liturgical practices in sixteenth century Lutheranism as reflected in the church orders. Faith and Act: The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation is an invaluable handbook providing detailed and documented data giving contemporary readers a glimpse into the way that liturgical texts and ceremonies were retained, modified, or rejected in various territories. Liturgical scholars as well as pastors will find this volume to be a useful guide to understanding the evangelical reception and appropriation of the catholic legacy of liturgical forms and practices in light of the immediate background of the medieval church.
—John T. Pless, MDiv
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions
Director of Field Education
Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
What a service Kevin G. Walker has done for the Lutheran Church in English speaking lands by providing this fine translation of Ernst Zeeden’s helpful monograph: Faith and Act: The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation. Both the medieval practices and the details of the early Lutheran appropriation of them are not nearly as well known as they ought to be, and this volume goes a long way towards remedying that. I heartily recommend the book to any and all who love the Lutheran liturgy and seek to become better acquainted with its formative development in the time of the great Church Orders. It’s the next best thing to having a full set of Sehling gracing your shelf!
—William C. Weedon, STM
Director of Worship
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod