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An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism: Sources, History, and Theology (Bierma)

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This work examines key aspects of the development of the Heidelberg Catechism, including historical background, socio-political origins, purpose, authorship, sources, and theology. The book includes the first ever English translations of two major sources of the Heidelberg Catechism--Ursinus's Smaller and Larger Catechisms--and a bibliography of research on the document since 1900. Students of the Reformed tradition and the Protestant Reformation will value this resource.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Historical Introduction

1. The Reformation of the Palatinate and the Origins of the Heidelberg Catechism, 1500-1562 - Charles D. Gunnoe Jr.

2. The Purpose and Authorship of the Heidelberg Catechism - Lyle D. Bierma

3. The Sources and Theological Orientation of the Heidelberg Catechism - Lyle D. Bierma

4. Early Editions and Translations of the Heidelberg Catechism - Karin Y. Maag

5. Bibliography of Research on the Heidelberg Catechism since 1900 - Paul W. Fields

Part 2: Translations of Ursinus's Catechisms

Introduction - Lyle D. Bierma

The Smaller Catechism

The Larger Catechism


Lyle D. Bierma is Dean of the Faculty and the Jean and Kenneth Baker Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is the author of Covenant Theology of Caspar Olevianus, The Doctrine of the Sacraments in the Heidelberg Catechism, and An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism.


"An Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism is a valuable addition to studies on the magisterial catechism ratified at Heidelberg. First, it summarizes and updates scholarly research on the purpose and authorship of the catechism. Second, it breaks new ground on the historical origins and the theological sources and orientation of the catechism. Third, it offers a helpful summary and bibliography of the early editions and translations of the catechism as well as a thorough bibliography of studies on the catechism since 1900. Finally, and most importantly, it provides the first English translations of Zacharias Ursinus's Smaller Catechism and Larger Catechism, from which so much of the Heidelberg Catechism was drawn." - Joel R. Beeke, president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

"This multifaceted volume contains invaluable resources for understanding the Heidelberg Catechism. The various authors make distinctive contributions toward understanding the background and theology of the catechism with the centerpiece being the translations of Ursinus's two catechisms, which provide fascinating parallels to the Heidelberg Catechism itself. Anyone interested in the Heidelberg Catechism will have their understanding and appreciation enriched by these studies." - I. John Hesselink, Western Theological Seminary

"This excellent study of the background to the Heidelberg Catechism is a splendid addition to the growing number of studies in Reformation and post-Reformation thought. Scholars and students will welcome its attention to detail, bibliographical references, and measured judgments. This is also a book for all Christians who love the Heidelberg Catechism. These pages are a treasure store of information on one of the truly great documents of the Reformed church." - Sinclair B. Ferguson, Westminster Theological Seminary, Dallas