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The National Book Critics Circle Award–winning history of the Reformation—from the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity and Silence
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 re-creates 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.
acknowledge that the Ordinances delivered the power of excommunication into civic hands, and there were many other features of his ministry that increasingly irritated some of the citizens who had done most to secure his recall. Proud of Geneva’s heritage, they were infuriated that Calvin’s hatred of idolatry led him to ban the name of Claude, the city’s own saint, for babies baptized in the city; in fact, there were a number of ugly scenes at the font when ministers refused to confer this and
of independence had suffered during the long years of struggle. Many must have regarded Arminius as no better than the assassin of William the Silent. Arminius thus stirred up potent enmity and his health was undermined by constant theological rows, particularly with his ultra-Calvinist colleague at Leiden University, Franciscus Gomarus. Yet he died in his bed unscathed; despite repeated efforts to have him condemned by a variety of church and university disputations, his enemies could never win
bishoprics seized from it since the Treaty of Passau, back in 1552 (chapter 6, p. 274). The Edict also reinforced in newly explicit terms a ban on Reformed Protestantism throughout the Empire except in the free cities. The Edict proved to be a disastrous move which undermined the Habsburg gains of the previous decade. Even moderate Catholics were uneasy at its intransigent terms, but the Emperor’s Lutheran allies among the imperial princes were furious, seeing it as a travesty of the 1555
commendatory system could be found in abbeys right across Europe. Similarly, most bishops would be chosen from among the canons or prebendaries of cathedrals, particularly in regions governed by the Concordat of Vienna; so the great dioceses of Europe became noble preserves. An odd exception was England, where although the dioceses were large and said to be wealthier than anywhere else except Hungary, bishops tended to be sons of lesser gentry or even humbler folk who had come up the hard way by
physical body. Erasmus bequeathed his spiritualist and interiorized vision of Christian faith to Catholic and Protestant alike, though he was not alone in this: we have seen the Thomist Cardinal Cajetan step in in 1506 to quash what he saw as the alarming implications of uncontrolled emotion in the growing cult of the sufferings of Mary (chapter 2, p. 87). Equally significant was Erasmus’s remark of 1518 that the state was ‘a great monastery’: everybody, laity just as much as clergy, should