The LA Review of Books has gathered some of the English-speaking world’s best historians of the Protestant Reformation to reflect on its 500th anniversary. Here is a taste of Yale Divinity School’s Bruce Gordon‘s introduction:
As we mark the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in all its forms, the older verities seem less certain. The authoritarian nature of both Protestantism and Catholicism created a world in which the faithful were disciplined into conformity with well-defined forms of Christianity. Whether through a pure heart or obedience to the sacramental nature of the Church, Protestants and Catholics made heavy demands on men, women, and children in the early modern world. Among other new realities, the Reformation created cultures in which people of opposing religions had to live side-by-side in rural villages and urban centers. Religious co-existence changed Europe and the Atlantic world, fostering, at least embryonically, the possibility for debates about religious toleration in a later age.
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