I surveyed Reformation history under one of McGrath's doctoral students, so I was nominally familiar with his narrative construction and outline of this pivotal period of Western culture. Still, McGrath managed to cram so much excellent information in this relatively small volume, I felt like the read was worth a credit in a graduate seminar. Sympathetic to the Protestant cause, McGrath is ever the scholar, elucidating not only the development of Protestant convictions, but also historical causes--theological, personal and political--as far as they may be confidently distilled from the evidence. Where confidence is lacking, appropriate skepticism is acknowledged, arresting romantic legends that fact might liberate a more truthful account of sixteenth century "reformations."
Still, Reformation Thought does not obscure the massive ideas covered and recovered by Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, etc. The "solas" are not given short shrift. Justification by faith alone is clearly stated and explained, as are the Protestant doctrines of scripture, church, sacraments and predestination, even if the latter is insufficiently untangled. Helpfully, McGrath's introduction takes the reader past the sixteenth century to survey the historical trajectory of Reformation thought as it diffused in Europe and influenced the New World.
Tony Craine's narration was unforced, well-paced and clear, if lacking only in style. Personally, I would have preferred a British narrator, perhaps the author himself. Overall, Reformation Thought is a thorough and inviting work for both students of history and generally interested readers.
Though I've enjoyed quite a few TGC courses, this is the first time I have listened through a lecture series packaged as a "book" on Audible. The unity of the course was probably enhanced by the platform. which formatted the individual lectures as chapters. The only downside was having no access to the course notes. (The Teaching Company does not normally provide them a la carte.) This course surveys the Supreme Court as a living institution from its beginnings until the beginning of the 21st century. (The course is copyrighted 2003.) Dr. Peter Irons is an unquestionably qualified guide to the subject, having both written and taught on the Supreme Court from the perspective of a lawyer who belongs to its bar.
Speaking of perspective, Irons admits his filter at the beginning of the course and several times where his narrative pertains to issues that reveal his bias. His career in civil liberties law has clearly shaped his thinking. And although I would differ with Dr. Irons politically and ideologically on several points, I did not feel his stance took away from the quality or content of the course in the slightest. The unique point of view of a scholar (who knows how to be dispassionate and objective) who also has spent his career in the field of practice, passionately arguing for his convictions, opens an aware listener's mind to a deeper, richer experience of the subject. I disagree with reviews that downgrade the course because of Irons's bias.
The content of the course focuses on key members of the court and key cases which support the theme: individual liberty in tension with the power of the state. For me, it was an entry into a facet of civil government and American history long obscured by educational emphasis on the legislative and executive branches. As a member of a church that maintains "courts," I found the overlapping applications fertile and fascinating.
One more item worth mentioning: an advantage of this audio presentation is the several examples of actual Supreme Court proceedings--short samples of the voices of individual justices or oral arguments. I found that fascinating. One could only wish more recent pieces were added in an updated version.
I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in law, history, civil rights or political studies.
Recommended by a literature professor-friend, this abridged edition of The Faerie Queene was the first Audible book I purchased and the reason I joined Audible.com. I was aware the story had been significantly truncated. As other reviewers noted, however, even the chosen sections were chopped, so it was hard to follow with a printed text. Still, for anyone who has four hours to spare and has never appreciated Spenser's classic, this is a great introduction for one compelling reason: the narration.
John Moffatt's read is lucid, well-paced and empathetic, the best one could hope for in rendering a historically distant story for a modern audience. Of course, I "studied" FQ in high school. then promptly flushed it from my consciousness. It was C.S. Lewis whose appreciation of and influence from Spenser sparked the desire to know this personally unappreciated work. So, even this abridged edition served to illuminate not only its author's original work, but also Milton's Paradise Lost, Lewis's stories and a whole bunch of English literature in-between.
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