Douglas Shantz’s An Introduction to German Pietism

The revival of Pietism studies continues! As of last week, the newest book published by Johns Hopkins University Press is An Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe, by Douglas Shantz.

Holder of the chair of Christian thought at the University of Calgary, Shantz contributed a chapter to our Pietist Impulse collection, examining the influence of alchemy and theosophy on the German Pietists’ conceptions of transformation: “new birth” and “new man.” He also wrote on the migration of Radical Pietists for the 2009 collection (Pietism in Germany and North America 1680-1820) edited by Jonathan Strom, Hartmut Lehmann, and James Van Horn Melton. For another introduction to Shantz, watch this 2006 lecture on Christian understandings of conversion:

Shantz, An Introduction to German PietismI’ll be interested to see if (to blend a couple of elements from the JHU Press introduction) this book manages to be the rare “scholarly investigation” that manages to maintain an “accessible tone.” (In his blurb, Strom — another of our contributors — calls it “lively” and “the most cogent account of Pietism in English.”) But for scholars of Pietism, the following description is certainly exciting:

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.

I should add that the book is part of a series developed by the Young Center of Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. (Most of the previous entries have focused on the first descriptor, covering Amish, Brethren, Hutterite, and Mennonite pasts and presents.)

You can order Shantz’s Introduction in paperback for about $30 from Amazon (or save eleven bucks and get it on Kindle).


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