The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction
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The Reformation was a seismic event in European history, one which left an indelible mark on the modern world. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Marshall illuminates the causes and consequences of this pivotal movement in western Christianity. The Reformation began as an argument about what Christians needed to do to be saved, but rapidly engulfed society in a series of fundamental changes. This book provides a lively and up-to-date guide that explains doctrinal debates in a clear and non-technical way, but also explores the effects the Reformation had on politics, society, art, and minorities. Marshall argues that the Reformation was not a solely European phenomenon, but that varieties of faith exported from Europe transformed Christianity into a truly world religion. The complex legacy of the Reformation is also assessed. Its religious fervor produced remarkable stories of sanctity and heroism, and some extraordinary artistic achievements. But violence, holy war, and martyrdom were equally its products. A paradox of the Reformation--that it intensified intolerance while establishing pluralism--is one we still wrestle with today.
Coligny, French Protestants ambitiously imagined they could convert a kingdom. Political instability was compounded by the premature death of Henry II, and attempts by the fervently Catholic Guise family to dominate the regency of Francis II. The result was civil war, or rather, a generation’s worth of civil wars which ran in ﬁts and starts from 1562 to almost the end of the century. Earlier scholarship emphasized politics in all of this, but recent studies tend to think the ‘French Wars of
point of reference, to annul the Edict of Restitution). The independence of Protestant Holland was formally recognized, as was the Habsburg coup de main in the east. Within the empire, Calvinism was at last given full legal recognition, and, in a striking innovation, Lutheran 38 subjects in Catholic territories, and Catholics in Lutheran lands, were granted the right to worship quietly at home ‘without investigation or disturbance’. It is usually asserted that in the second half of the 17th
developed justiﬁcations for tyrannicide that caught up with the Calvinist position. For Catholics as for Protestants, much of the momentum came from The Reformation 10. A procession of the militant and anti-royalist French Catholic League in 1590, with prominent and heavily armed priests and friars the situation in later 16th-century France, where the crown’s move towards an increasingly ‘politique’ position infuriated the militant Catholic League, formed to resist political compromise with
little to change existing stereotypes that women were unruly and sexually voracious. Unmarried (and therefore masterless) women might be regarded as dangerous, and laws in various places prohibited them from taking up residence in cities, or living on their own. Within marriage, contemporary attitudes could be bruising to modern sentiments. ‘Reasonable’ physical chastisement of wives by husbands was a social norm, and in a notorious passage Luther remarked that ‘if women grow weary or even die
adapted aspects of the reforming programme that spoke to their needs, demonstrating in the process a capacity for ‘agency’ which an older tradition of scholarship was not always prepared to allow them. The Reformations affected everyone’s eternal destiny – the rules for getting to heaven were revised, reﬁned, or reinforced, and people were expected to know what they were. But they also impacted on virtually all aspects of existence in the meantime, from the political structures under which people