From Publishers Weekly
When Michael Servetus was burned at the stake for heresy in 1553, he had spent much of his life running from the Church. Born into a noble Spanish family, he studied medicine and the humanities extensively. By age 20, he had written a treatise on the Trinity that incensed Church authorities and led him into self-imposed exile. But the book that doomed Servetus was Christianismi Restitutio (Christianity Restored), which challenged, among other ideas, John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination and argued that God exists in all people and all things. The reaction to Servetus’s text was so vehement that all copies discovered were destroyed. As the Goldstones (book collectors and authors of Used and Rare, etc.) reveal, three copies of the book still exist. In this lively account, the authors vividly recreate a Renaissance world of revolution and reform in which the dissemination of ideas flourished thanks to the printing press. They also trace the paths of the surviving copies of Christianismi Restitutio as they make their way through the hands of Voltaire, Rousseau, Jefferson and physician William Osler. More than a theological treatise, the Christianismi Restitutio contains a paragraph that explains pulmonary circulation, decades before William Harvey generally credited with this discovery announced his find. The Goldstones offer both a portrait of an important but neglected Renaissance humanist and a testimony to the power of books to shape minds and hearts.
This book has ranked in my top five books of all time. The Goldstones (Lawrence and Nancy) are also authors of several other books I will review in the future. This book, focusing on one of the rarest books in existence today, brings us through the years prior to the birth of Servetus, the events that lead up to his birth, and the hotbed of religious dissension during his early years and carrying into his adulthood. This book is a historical gem, often causing you to shake your head and think, “wow, I did not know that!”
Servetus, for those who do not know, was a strong opponent of the Trinitarian formula and was very outspoken in regards to the writings and teachings of John Calvin. In fact, you would be surprised the viciousness of John Calvin towards Servetus (though Servetus was anything but docile). This book is a treasure that brings us into a world few know little about. From cradle to grave, we are led through the events, history, and world of Servetus. Sadly, not all bodes well for him…
This is a must have book! Get it here