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The Reformation (2003)

de Diarmaid MacCulloch

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2,081295,587 (4.11)80
At a time when men and women were prepared to kill-and be killed-for their faith, the Protestant Reformation tore the Western world apart. Acclaimed as the definitive account of these epochal events, Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning history brilliantly recreates the religious battles of priests, monarchs, scholars, and politicians-from the zealous Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses to the polemical John Calvin to the radical Igantius Loyola, from the tortured Thomas Cranmer to the ambitious Philip II. Drawing together the many strands of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranging widely across Europe and the New World, MacCulloch reveals as never before how these dramatic upheavals affected everyday lives-overturning ideas of love, sex, death, and the supernatural, and shaping the modern age.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 29 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A thorough and readable history of the Protestant Reformation, both of the events and people but also, crucially, of the ideas. One will come out of this book knowing not just who Martin Luther and John Calvin were and what they did, but what beliefs animated them and fueled the tumultuous two centuries of conflict where men burned other men over disagreements about the manner in which bread was turned into wine during the Holy Eucharist. A long read, but accessible. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Magisterial and tremendous. So much to unpack; MacCulloch also does a great job of tying developments in Europe to their offshoots and developments in the New World. In short, we're still living through the consequences of the Reformation... ( )
  goliathonline | Jul 7, 2020 |
This is a comprehensive history of the Reformation, rich in detail, and even-handed, teasing out the strands of the many varieties of both Catholic and Protestant Christianity that developed in Europe over the 15th to 17th century, and connecting this history meaningfully to our modern religious, national, gender identities. Something very special about MacCulloch's book is that he is able to synthesize many perspectives - theology, politics, social changes - putting it all together in a narrative that makes sense. I have always found this period of history confusing, and as a result, I had an oversimplified concept. This book is illuminating, both a challenge and a joy. Well worth the effort to read.
  aquariumministry | Aug 26, 2019 |
After finally finishing this book, I was really tempted to give this only a 1 star or 2star. This is because this book is clogged with too much information and written in such a dry manner as to make it very difficult to read. However, i did learn something from this book and although i was only interested in the political, military and diplomatic history of the reformation, this book gave me so much more. It would painstakingly explain to the reader everything about the history of the reformation, including cultural history, social history and all the religious doctrines that originated from the reformation. This makes it a complete history and would have been the best book on the subject had it not been for the way it was written and organized. ( )
  zen_923 | Feb 6, 2018 |
I found this a difficult read. The topic is vast - two centuries of European history, with side trips the New World, India, China and Japan. The first half of the book is ostensibly a history of the times; the problem is it jumps around geographically and historically to the extent that it's very confusing unless you already are well grounded in Eurpean history for the 16th and 17th centuries. There's also something about the writing style that I couldn't quite put my finger on but that made things hard to follow. And although the period is populated by fascinating characters - Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Erasmus, Cramer, Xavier, Borromeo - none of them gets a linear biography - you find out a little about Calvin in one chapter, then a little more in the next, and so on.

That being said, this is fascinating stuff. There are all sorts of little quirks and details - I never realized that the Transylvanians were Lutherans, or that "effeminate" once described men who were thought to be excessively interested in heterosexual sex.

Several things come through to me:

One is that we have a tendency to think of cultures temporally separated from ours, especially cultures of our ancestral heritage, as "people just like us"; perhaps not having the benefits of automobiles, television, People magazine and Starbucks, but nevertheless people that we could easily relate to assuming there were no language barriers. Historical novels always seem to take this as a given, with 12th Century Scots inevitably behaving like Manhattan yuppies in tartans. In fact, this is a "given" in the modern liberal outlook (I mean "liberal" in the classic sense here, not the modern political sense): that our ancestors would cheerfully embrace the virtues of democracy, religious tolerance, women's rights and free market economics if only they were exposed to them. I admit I am as prone to this belief as the next guy; it just seems "right" somehow; something every intelligent person should see, regardless of when or where they live. It becomes apparent, instead, that if I had time-travelled back to visit my distant ancestors in Reformation Germany and tried to explain things to them, I most likely would have been burned alive. If thus for our own culture across time, why not for different cultures across space? It does not bode well for the situation in the Middle East.

A second result is the reinforcement of something I already knew - there have been and are now a lot of people who take religion very seriously indeed. A lot of my liberal friends (now I'm using "liberal" in the modern sense) just "don't get" faith and its implications. Yet the most caricatured fundamentalist Bible-thumper of modern editorial cartoons is nothing compared to people of the Reformation, who were quite willing to kill their neighbors over whether or not they had communion rails in their church. I willing to bet if you asked the average American what happened during "the Reformation", they would say there was a liberalization of religious attitudes (assuming they even knew what the "Reformation" was, since modern schools can't teach anything, history or otherwise, that has anything to do with religion). The actuality was, of course, the reverse - 200 years of religious warfare. Modern liberals tend to see religious belief as just another political/economic choice - something that is easily negotiable to accommodate current politics. And if the faithful refuse to negotiate, that just indicates stubbornness or ignorance or ill-will on their part. I'm not sure whether religious education - I don't mean education in a religion, but education about religions - would help here - I fear it would be counterproductive, by reinforcing prejudice against religion in the same people whose self image is based on their belief that they are fighting religious prejudice.

I also find a disturbing sense of deja vu. A lot of politics in the 16th and 17th century was based on the expectation that these were the Last Days - the world had been more or less stable for so long, now it was turning upside down - what else could that mean but the imminent Apocalypse? Well, religious people who feel the Apocalypse is upon us are still around, but we now have the phenomenon of the non- and anti-religious also becoming Apocalyptic. What else are the writings of Paul Ehrlich and the rest of the doomsday environmentalists but the preaching of Apocalyptic prophets? When earthquakes and two-headed calves and unusually weather were once looked on as signs of the disfavor of God, they are now seen as the result of global warming and environmental pollution. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

The final unsettling similarity between now and then is the use of terrorism. Terrorists then were just as suicidal as they are now - Henri III, Henri IV, and Willem III were all done in by suicidal assassins, for religious reasons. It's true that terrorists then had a little less in the way of technology - carriage bombs never caught on. But Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot is not all that different from the London bombings and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre is not that different from what went on in Bosnia or Rwanda and what's going on in Darfur and Baghdad.

Thus, I'd say it's worth a read = maybe 3.5 to 4 stars. ( )
2 vote setnahkt | Jan 2, 2018 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 29 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
‘Reformation’ is set to become a landmark for academic historians
adicionado por DouglasAtEik | editarThe Observer, Lisa Jardine (Dec 7, 2003)
 
In its field it is the best book ever written.
adicionado por DouglasAtEik | editarThe Guardian, David L Edwards (Nov 1, 2003)
 

» Adicionar outros autores

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
MacCulloch, DiarmaidAutorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brooke, ChristoperPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Flosnik, Anne T.Narradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hübner, JuliusArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Varga, BenjáminTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Voß-Becher, HelkeÜbersetzerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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At a time when men and women were prepared to kill-and be killed-for their faith, the Protestant Reformation tore the Western world apart. Acclaimed as the definitive account of these epochal events, Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning history brilliantly recreates the religious battles of priests, monarchs, scholars, and politicians-from the zealous Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses to the polemical John Calvin to the radical Igantius Loyola, from the tortured Thomas Cranmer to the ambitious Philip II. Drawing together the many strands of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranging widely across Europe and the New World, MacCulloch reveals as never before how these dramatic upheavals affected everyday lives-overturning ideas of love, sex, death, and the supernatural, and shaping the modern age.

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