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The Reformation: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The religious reformations of the sixteenth century were the crucible of modern Western civilization, profoundly reshaping the identity of Europe's emerging nation-states. In The Reformation, one of the preeminent historians of the period, Patrick Collinson, offers a concise yet thorough overview of the drastic ecumenical revolution of the late medieval and Renaissance eras. In looking at the sum effect of such disparate elements as the humanist philosophy of Desiderius Erasmus and the impact on civilization of movable-type printing and "vulgate" scriptures, or in defining the differences between the evangelical (Lutheran) and reformed (Calvinist) churches, Collinson makes clear how the battles for mens' lives were often hatched in the battles for mens' souls.
Collinson also examines the interplay of spiritual and temporal matters in the spread of religious reform to all corners of Europe, and at how the Catholic Counter-Reformation used both coercion and institutional reform to retain its ecclesiastical control of Christendom. Powerful and remarkably well written, The Reformation is possibly the finest available introduction to this hugely important chapter in religious and political history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Reformation was not a one-time event, but an ongoing process over many centuries. The timeline Collinson provides at the start begins at 1378, the start of the Great Schism, the era of popes and antipopes, which provided some fertile ground for later Reformation in fact if not in theology and ecclesiology. This is of course 150 years prior to Martin Luther's grand pronouncements, followed quickly by John Calvin and others. Collinson's time frame continues up to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in Britain, which finally established the Protestant rule in Britain.
Collinson's explorations show interesting sides to this tumultuous period of history. Luther's conversion story, often retold by Luther himself, changes periodically into not-always-consistent versions. This is part of the tension Collinson describes, the tension between Reformation as a process and Reformation as an historical event. Collinson also develops the idea of Reformation as something not necessarily tremendously radical - Martin Luther, according to many historians quoted by Collinson, can be seen as a medieval rather than a modern man - he `...offered new answers to old questions. He asked no new ones.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a solid introductory summary of a complex and difficult subject in Church history. The author treats the different phases of the Reformation, in all its geographic and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Matthew
This is a great, basic introduction touching on a variety of themes (art, war, politics, family) in a basic linear historical narrative arch. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ryan Mease
I am not a specialist in the area, just interested. It was just the right length for me and the prose flows well. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Nancy B Cole
to plagiarize another reviewer -- "too little on too much." Then this long essay at the end on post-reformation effects wasn't very interesting. Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by Al From Virginia
What's so good about a book that throws a huge bunch of names of people and places? Given his credentials, sure the author knows what he's talking about. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by James
Histories of the Reformation are hard to use. The events of the reformation have never lost their power to polarize. Read morePublished on March 8, 2012 by Matt Metevelis
The major problem I have with this text is that it's definitely not what the cover reviews call it, and it is certainly not for those without a strong background in early modern... Read morePublished on September 13, 2010 by The Empress of Fabulous
If you know nothing of the Reformation or the basis of the religious conflict involved this book is a fine place to start. Read morePublished on April 1, 2008 by W. David McGuinn Jr.