June 12, 2012
IVP Pulls Reformation Textbook Over Inaccuracies
A review had pointed out dozens of significant errors in one section.
InterVarsity Press (IVP) has pulled a well-acclaimed book on the Reformation from shelves after a review pointed out at least two dozen significant errors in one section.
G. R. Evans’s book The Roots of the Reformation: Tradition, Emergence and Rupture, which was released in March, analyzed the relationship between the Reformation and the medieval church. Evans, a former British Academy Research Reader in Theology, is a noted scholar and a professor of medieval theology and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge. Her book received several notable endorsements, including one from J. I. Packer hailing it as “certainly the best of its kind currently available.”
But last month, Carl Trueman, departmental chair of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, published a review at the e-magazine Reformation21 that listed significant errors within Evans' section discussing the Reformation, including inaccurate dates, names, and omissions of key cultural factors that influenced it.
“The Reformation section is unfortunately replete with errors of historical fact, some of which are very serious, even if a few are possibly the result of typos,” Trueman wrote. “The sheer number of these errors renders the book a liability in the classroom and undermines its stated purpose as a textbook.”
In response, IVP said in a statement that though it stood by Evans’s work, it would be taking the book out of print until the publication of a revised second edition, set to be released by the end of August.
“We hope that this underscores the abiding value of Professor Evans' book, one that a number of internationally respected scholars have recommended as a masterful investigation of the Reformation's roots from the early church through the medieval era,” IVP stated.
In 2009, Christianity Today reported on scholarly publisher Wiley-Blackwell’s withdrawal of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization; the editor alleged the publisher was trying to censor the work.