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The Reformation Paperback – March 25, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
It went something like this: (1) the Catholic Church allowed people to buy their way into heaven (via indulgences); (2) this made Martin Luther mad so he challenged the church by nailing his position on the door of the church (and he also wanted to get married) and so did John Calvin; (3) Henry VIII wanted a divorce but the pope wouldn't let him (which made him mad); (4) therefore, lots of Protestant churches came into being; and (5) the Puritans were part of one of them and they discovered America.
The truth of these statements was murky and the causal relationship between them was harder for me to understand than the theory of relativity.
I have a feeling I'm not alone. I knew it was all important, but trying to put it all together was beyond by ability. Well, now none of us need to do it alone, because Professor MacCulloch has written a history of the Reformation that is encyclopedic in scope and brilliant in its exectution. He fills in the gaps and clears up the many misconceptions.
This is not an easy book to read. But while MacCulloch doesn't make it easy, he avoids the jargon of the professional historian. That said, this is not a casual beach read--it demands a careful and thoughtful reading. And the rewards are great. For the first time, I have a real clue why the reform movement took off is so many ways and in so many places. I have a far better idea of the relationships between and among men like Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Cramner and so many more.Read more ›
MacCulloch's main virtue is thoroughness. This is a history of the Reformation that covers almost all of Western Christianity. Not merely do Britian, France, the Netherlands and what is now Germany all play their parts, but we also get special sections on the suprisingly cosmopolitan culture of late 16th century Poland, the Protestant redoubt that was then Transylvania, as well as accounts of the Counter-Reformation in Italy and Spain.Read more ›
Do you know what a Protestant is? A Roman Catholic? An Anabaptist? Do you have any idea how important Jewish thought was to the Reformation? How did Reformation era thinking inform our political philosophy? Which version of the 10 Commandments is at issue in some schools and government offices? Did you even know that there are at least two "official" versions? This book shows how a million doubts and questions were addressed by some great and courageous thinkers and how the debates changed the world.
In a very direct way, ordinary Europeans began to trust thinking outside the box (Church) during the Reformation. The imperative to put ideas into action was part of the revolution in thinking and drove many communities to gather themselves to remake their societies. Many of them came here. Did you ever wonder why so many religious communities came to colonize North America and were so careful not to allow us to become a Theocracy?
This book manages to show a huge variety of the different trains of thought, all of which are different, all of which fall under the definition of Reformation.
I've studied the history of thoughts and communities MacCulloch characterizes so well here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I seldom trash authors....but this guy cannot write. I seldom (maybe 2 books) have given up...but this guy cannot write. I am surprised he is published.... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Corbey Dukes
Magisterial in is scope this thorough account of the Reformation, Diarmaid MacCulloch's work is by far the most useful and enganging text on this subject. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Learned a lot. We Protestants have been as bad to each other as the Catholics! Shame on us ALL.Published 4 months ago by Iride Therefore Iam
This is an expansive and thoroughly useful guide to the European Reformation. It begins with a brief discussion on pre-Reformation Europe from political, social and religious... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ben