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The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation 58484th Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813209517
ISBN-10: 081320951X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'In summary, this book transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries to synthesise extremely well the best of recent writing on the history of modern Catholicism (the bibliography provides the proof of this).' - Marc Venard, Revue d'Histoire de l'Eglise de France 'The emphasis throughout on the centrality of the lay piety is an excellent corrective to versions of confessionalization theory which remain too institutionally concerned with the state's direction of its subjects. Instead both casuistry and Jansenism are admirably apporached with a proper Jesuit sensitivity.' - A.D. Wright, Catholic Historical Review --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert Bireley is Professor of History Emeritus at Loyola University Chicago. He has served as president of the American Catholic Historical Association and on the editorial boards of the Catholic Historical Review and the Renaissance Quarterly. Bireley has been a prolific author in the field of European religious history, with a special interest in the Reformation, Roman Catholicism, and Jesuit history. His books include Politics and Religion in the Age of the Counterreformation: Emperor Ferdinand II, William Lamormaini, S. J., and the Formation of Imperial Policy (1981); The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450 1700: A Reassessment of the Counterreformation (1999); and The Jesuits and the Thirty Years War: Kings, Courts, and Confessors (Cambridge, 2003). He is the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships, including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press; 58484th edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081320951X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813209517
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting introduction to an era that traditionally bears the name "Counter Reformation." Bireley, a Jesuit Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago, argues persuasively in his opening remarks that the term "Counter Reformation" has outlived its usefulness in the study of Catholic history. In fact, he observes, nearly all of what we would call today post-Tridentine reform not only has roots in the fifteenth century but in many cases was in full bloom and inspired the council to do what it did. Trent, in his view of things, was the institutional crest of a wave that had been building for a century. Moreover, Bireley's global view-geographic, political, scientific, theological-invites the reader to view the Church against the backdrop of forces it could not control and critique the many accommodations made by the Church to the world of the seventeenth century.
Why 1450? One reason was geographic exploration. The exploits of DeGama and Columbus reflected a growing sense of the cosmos, later amplified by Galileo and others; a new economic world order, so to speak; and the increasing sense of nationalism and centralization of governments, later abetted by formalized "confessions" of religious doctrine and worship after Luther. Another reason for this new delineation of Catholic epochs was the Renaissance and the humanistic philosophy it nurtured, which the author maintains had significant impact upon many major Catholic leaders of the time, including Ignatius Loyola and Francis de Sales. At the other end of the chronological spectrum, Bireley designates 1700 as a marker because of the impact of Cartesian rationalism upon official Catholic thought in the bigger context of the Enlightenment itself.
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Even high school students should have heard and read about the [Protestant] Reformation, a little bit about Luther, Calvin, Henry8 etc., but in my experience almost zilch about the Catholic Reformation, or Counter-Reformation, emphasizing the reactive portion of the period, or Early Modern Catholicism, Bireley's favored term, because it underscores that the Catholic reform was not just about containing Protestantism, but also about missionary efforts to evangelize the newly discovered Americas, and the new religious orders devoted to the poor, the sick, and the education of children.

Birely's book focuses on the Council of Trent, which occurred from 1545-1563,with many inactive years in between. Certainly the main object of the Council was to theologically distinguish traditional Catholic Christian teaching and practice compared to the Reformation. But on many issues, the Council fathers conceded that the Reformers'critique was completely on target, that the some of the Church, especially in the hierarchy of Rome, were engaging in decadent practices, such as clerical unchastity, warrior-popes, and the selling of indulgences, which are sacramentals, rather than the 7 sacraments, but all forbidden to be sold(simony) but donations would be accepted. However, more of the Council reasserted traditional teaching and practice, explicitly defending the content ofimmemorial doctrine, but this time with better, more up to date argumentation. Perhaps the most far-reaching concrete (in both senses of the term) result of the Counter Reformation was the seminary, the sequestered institution where would-be priests were, again in both senses of the term, indoctrinated, to more effectively teach the Faith, as opposed to the slip-shod previous regime of apprenticeship.
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Actually, I cannot bear to read it. I would like all scholarly books to be witty in the best sense of the word, or "Chestertonesque" if you prefer.The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700: A Reassessment of the Counter ReformationI was attracted by the fine English Catholic name independently from the obvious high quality of the scholarship.
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