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Luther's Scottish Connection
By James Edward McGoldrick (2008)


There is no doubt whatever that the Protestant Reformation in Scotland received its principal direction from the indomitable John Knox, a rigorous and courageous adherent to the Reformed version of evangelical teaching as espoused in Geneva by John Calvin and his disciples. The stature of Knox looms large over the Scottish church and rightly so, for his contributions to its reformation were major and decisive. It is highly unlikely that the movement to reform that church could have succeeded without Knox, or at least without a leader of his conspicuous ability. Any serious examination of the Reformation in Scotland must at least acknowledge his monumental importance.

Although even those who have only a casual acquaintance with Scottish history usually have some appreciation for the significance of Knox, few seem to realize that he was not literally the father of the Reformation in his homeland. There were several precursors of Knox who laid the foundations upon which he built, and those forerunners were, for the most part, disciples of Martin Luther. It is the purpose of this book to identify the most prominent Scottish Lutherans and to relate the roles they played in the first phase of Scotland's Protestant history.

The author makes no claim to originality. His objective is to bring together in one place information that heretofore has appeared only in articles and as relatively minor emphases in books narrating the Scottish Reformation. It has been well over a hundred years since anyone has published a book dealing at length and in a systematic manner with the Lutheran phase of the Reformation in Scotland, and even then some of the figures who appear in the present volume received only slight attention.

The present author has examined most of the primary sources employed by previous writers on this subject and has found that his predecessors have, for the most part, understood them well and used them appropriately. I am therefore indebted to all of them, and I hope that I have done them justice in drawing upon their learning. The decision about which early Protestants to include in this study and the interpretations expressed and implied are, of course, my own. Although a few other personalities from the first half of the sixteenth century might have been included, those who do appear in this book were selected because, in my judgment, they were all important links in the chain of Luther's Scottish connection.

Download Luther's Scottish Connection in pdf format

See also the article on Mapping the Scottish Reformation (pdf)

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