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Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods

, 1995
ISBN: 9780802808264
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This book arose out of a methods seminar for graduate students at the beginning of their doctoral work. It is not only a practical resource for students studying church history and history of doctrine, but also for those interested in the areas of systematic and philosophical theology. Church History offers graduate students who plan to become professional historians the guidelines, methods, and basic reference tools needed for successfully researching and writing in the disciplines of church history and theology. It is organized to aid students in the ability to define a topic, locate the source materials, and write quality papers. The bibliography and appendix are considered an integral part of the book, and students will find particularly useful the information on the use of computer applications in research.

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Top Highlights

“is that secondary and tertiary sources must not be used to fill gaps in one’s knowledge of the primary sources” (Page 41)

“It is far more useful (and methodologically justifiable) to follow the history of ideas and the way those ideas develop and change in a particular time, noting the contributions of the various writers who contributed to the development, than it is to discuss a host of similar thinkers individually or to claim that one writer can represent an entire age.” (Page 30)

“The importance of history lies instead in the realm of the identification and definition of issues and of the cultivation of objectivity in judgment. The assignment of value—whether ethical, philosophical, or theological—to the ideas and events of the past is not, per se, a historical task.” (Page 60)

“The historian, he argues, ‘must not only tell what was done, but also why this or that thing happened, that is, events are to be joined with their causes.” (Page 15)

“Secondary sources, therefore, are sources that offer information about an event but stand removed from it either in time or by a process of transmission of information. The secondary source is not a direct result of an event but itself rests on other sources such as documents, oral reports, or historical investigation of artifacts.” (Page 41)

This is the most comprehensive and most lucidly written introduction to the methods of historical research and writing in the field of church history that I have seen. The authors are to be commended for engaging issues of faith and critical scholarship in ways that detract neither from personal commitment nor from historical rigor. Although directed to the advanced ‘student’ of church history, this work is of equal value to advanced scholars in the field who are not current on recent computer application in research. . . All in all, a magnificent achievement.

—Harry S. Stout, Berkeley College, Yale University

Anyone beginning research in church history—as well as many old hands—will find this book to be the best singe-volume resource for theory and practice, incorporating bibliographical information and guidance on computer aids.

—David Bebbington, University of Stirling, Scotland

This carefully prepared book is a very useful introduction to research and methods for the whole field of church history and historical theology, but it also contains rich information and insight for those researching or teaching any aspect of this vast subject. It will stretch the mind of serious beginners as it provides basic information distilled from the authors’ wide experience in research, teaching, and writing, but equally well it will bring much help and guidance to professional and lay church historians in mid-career. It effectively points out how to locate and use significant classics in the field and also how to make use of the cascading resources and powers of the computer. Neither dissertation writers nor those laboring on historical lectures, articles, or monographs should miss this book.

—Robert T. Handy

  • Title: Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods
  • Authors: James Bradley, Richard Muller
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 1995
  • Logos Release Date: 2008
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Church history › Study and teaching; Church history › Historiography; Church history › Bibliography; Church history › Reference books
  • ISBNs: 9780802808264, 0802808263
  • Resource Type: text.monograph.church-history
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T22:36:16Z

James E. Bradley is Geoffrey W. Bromiley Professor of Church History at Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his B.A. from Pasadena College, a B.D. from Fuller, and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He is the author of Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism.

Richard A. Muller is the P.J. Zondervan Professor for Doctoral Studies in Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He acquired an M.Div from Union Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Duke University. His many books include A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms and Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics.


4 ratings

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  1. JRP



    Perhaps the best introductory book on how to conduct research in church history and historical theology. While I may suggest a few tweaks to what I think would be for the better, nothing so significant that I would not give it 5 stars!
  2. W.M. Shelton Sr.
  3. Gabriel



  4. John Vignol

    John Vignol



Digital list price: $19.99
Save $4.00 (20%)