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The Larger Catechism: A Critical Text and Introduction - Principal Documents of the Westminster Assembly (Bower, ed.)

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Reformation Heritage Books

The Larger Catechism stands as one of the three major doctrinal standards produced by the Westminster Assembly.

Often overshadowed by the Shorter Catechism and the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism exhibits the Assembly’s most mature theological reflection and insight.

In this remarkable volume, John Bower provides extensive historical background for the making of this colossal catechism. He traces the history of the Assembly’s efforts from the initial call for a catechism, through deliberations on its form and content, and down to the intricate process of monitoring its printing.

The centerpiece of the volume is Bower’s critical text of the catechism. Painstakingly checked and indexed, the critical text is supported by a four-column comparison of the authoritative manuscripts and printings. Graced with a glossary and a catalog of corrected proof-texts, Bower’s text is sure to be the benchmark for future study, modern editions, and foreign translations for years to come.This is the initial volume of the Principal Documents of the Westminster Assembly series.

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Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Making of the Catechism

1. One Catechism for Three Kingdoms

2. Exact and Comprehensive: A New Catechism

3. Completing the Work

4. Manuscripts and Editions

5. Critical Editing Methods and Conventions

A Critical Edition of the Larger Catechism

Authoritative Texts: A Parallel Column Comparison 


Series Description 

The Principal Documents of the Westminster Assembly Series presents the six chief works authored by the Westminster Assembly for establishing covenanted uniformity of religion in England: the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, the Shorter Catechism, the Directory for Public Worship, the Directory for Church Government, and the Psalter. Each volume will contain a historical introduction, the critical text, and parallel columns comparing original manuscripts and authoritative editions.



"The Westminster Standards are today of interest both to the confessional tradition of Reformed Christianity and to a growing number of scholars who see the Westminster Assembly as an important factor in understanding British politics and religion in the seventeenth century. Thus, the arrival of this new series, dedicated to the production of scholarly editions of documents associated with the Assembly, will be greeted with pleasure by both groups. This first volume, a critical edition of the Larger Catechism, will no doubt rapidly establish itself—and the series as a whole—as a standard starting-point for anyone wishing to learn more about Reformed life and thought as articulated by the Westminster Divines." - Carl R. Trueman

"John Bower has produced an excellent critical text of the Westminster Larger Catechism, accompanied by a fine introduction to the document. Given the vagaries of 17th century publication and the existence of two highly significant pre-publication manuscripts, Bower's careful editing of the text and comparative display of both manuscripts and of the two primary printed versions of the Catechism is a major contribution to the study of the Assembly's work. This volume marks an auspicious beginning for a promising series." - Richard A. Muller, P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids