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The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid…

The Reformation: A History (2004)

by Diarmaid MacCulloch

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The Reformation is such a wide-ranging subject that covers so many areas but this book does a good job of organizing it, telling why it was important and the implications that still affect our lives today. Some parts of this history I was somewhat familiar with but not so much with others and it was difficult to keep straight a lot of different names and topics. And it makes me interested to learn more about some other areas covered. An interesting book, but not a quick read! ( )
1 vote Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
Good if rather over long read into the Reformation and being a Christian made for a lot of introspection. All the major players are here Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, pretty comprehensive look at this era. A little to comprehensive perhaps some of the book could of been left out for the sake of brevity. ( )
1 vote charlie68 | Mar 9, 2015 |
stunning; detailed, clear; gives excellent background to the Reformation's major issues; well balanced treatment of individuals and larger forces; more focused on religious than political figures
  FKarr | Apr 6, 2013 |
This is an amazing historic work, with a density of fact, of notable personalities, of church history, and underlying economic factors, all covering the period of time leading up to and following the Reformation in Europe. You will be surprised at some of the background information about the more famous names in church history, plus their motivations in moving toward or resisting change. A really awesome work showing an incredible body of research, yet never losing the narrative of real human lives unraveling between the Protestant upheaval and Catholic ecclesiastical fallout. ( )
  SiliconValyLibrarian | Jul 24, 2012 |
This large book (792 pages) is divided into three main parts. Part one (“A Common Culture”) covers the years 1490-1570 and discusses the people, places, politics, and issues the lead to a “reformed” church. Part two (“Europe Divided”) covers the years 1570-1700) and describes the nature of the reformed church in the various sections of Europe and the Americas. Part three (“Patterns of Life”) discusses ways in which the reformed church impacted the concept of “church” and how it and society impacted each other.

An “Appendix of Texts” contains the Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments, and the Angelic Salutation (The Hail Mary).

A topical bibliography is included. The index is good and takes up 42 pages.

The book is written for a college-level audience, and for me, was not an easy read, as much of the material was my first detailed exposure to it.

Several pages of plates and sketches (all black and white) enhance the book.

I found the book to be helpful in my understanding of the Reformation and as such, made me appreciate the foundation laid by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and others upon which leaders of my Stone-Campbell religious heritage leaders were able to build. I expect that I will return to the book from time to time as a reference source. ( )
1 vote SCRH | Jun 26, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014303538X, Paperback)

Diarmaid MacCulloch wrote what is widely considered to be the authoritative account of the Reformation—a critical juncture in the history of Christianity. "It is impossible to understand modern Europe without understanding these sixteenth-century upheavals in Latin Christianity," he writes. "They represented the greatest fault line to appear in Christian culture since the Latin and Greek halves of the Roman Empire went their separate ways a thousand years before; they produced a house divided." The resulting split between the Catholics and Protestants still divides Christians throughout the Western world. It affects interpretations of the Bible, beliefs about baptisms, and event how much authority is given to religious leaders. The division even fuels an ongoing war. What makes MacCulloch's account rise above previous attempts to interpret the Reformation is the breadth of his research. Rather than limit his narrative to the actions of key theologians and leaders of the era—Luther, Zingli, Calvin, Loyola, Cranmer, Henry VIII and numerous popes—MacCulloch sweeps his narrative across the culture, politics and lay people of Renaissance Western Europe. This broad brush approach touches upon many fascinating discussions surrounding the Reformation, including his belief that the Latin Church was probably not as "corrupt and ineffective" as Protestants tend to portray it. In fact, he asserts that it "generally satisfied the spiritual needs of the late medieval people." As a historical document, this 750-page narrative has all the key ingredients. MacCulloch, a professor of history as the Church of Oxford University, is an articulate and vibrant writer with a strong guiding intelligence. The structure is sensible—starting with the main characters who influenced reforms, then spreading out to the regional concerns, and social intellectual themes of the era. He even fast forwards into American Christianity—showing how this historical era influences modern times. MacCulloch is a topnotch historian—uncovering material and theories that will seem fresh and inspired to Reformation scholars as well as lay readers. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:17 -0400)

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A history of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation examines the lasting implications of this period, providing profiles of the individuals involved and discussing the impact of the Reformation on everyday lives.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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