Reformations: A Radical Interpretation of Christianity and the World, 1500-2000

Front Cover
Scribner, 1996 - Religion - 324 pages
1 Review
Almost from the moment Martin Luther tacked his theses to the door, Protestants and Catholics have disagreed violently on the question of the Reformation's merits - some Catholics have traced a direct line from the Reformation to Nietzsche and the death of God, while Protestants have given it credit for everything from the rise of capitalism to the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions - but they have been as one in agreeing that the Reformation was an unprecedented event, a seismic shift in consciousness that divides the history of Christianity into before and after. Or does it? Eight years ago, world-renowned historians Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and Derek Wilson were brought together by the BBC to debate this very point. The more heatedly they argued, the more their once-rigid positions melted and merged, and they resolved to link hands in an extraordinary journey of exploration into the nature of Christianity over the past five hundred years. Forged from the fire of their joint work is a book breathtaking in its sweep and radical in its implications. Reformations explains how and why the Reformation was not a unique watershed at all, but rather a typical episode in a long history, shared by all the main Christian traditions, of evangelical commitment and confrontation with the world. The authors create a loom vast in time and space on which they weave a many-colored cloth, one whose unfurling brings our time closer to Luther's, and our churches closer to each other. On that cloth, they map the evolving relationships between the Bible (the Word), the Church (tradition), and individual experience (the spirit), revealing an ongoing cycle of stagnation and renewal that began not longafter Christ's death and flows onward to this day. The authors lay out their argument with grace, virtuosity, and penetrating intelligence, without once losing sight of the human scale, the individual and social experience of being a Christian in modern history. Their insights are as a salve to the wounds of five hundred years of sectarian bitterness and bloodshed.

What people are saying - Write a review

Reformations: a radical interpretation of Christianity and the world, 1500-2000

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Usually described in cataclysmic terms, the Reformation exemplifies a decisive moment in Western culture. Not so, claim Fernandez-Armesto (history, Oxford) and Wilson (The Astors, LJ 10/1/93), who ... Read full review

About the author (1996)

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, the William P. Reynolds Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration and Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States. He lives in South Bend, Indiana, and London.

Derek Wilson, one of our leading biographers and novelists, came to prominence thirty years ago, after graduating from Cambridge University, with "A Tudor Tapestry: Men Women and Society in Reformation England," This was followed by several critically acclaimed and best-selling books, such as "Rothschild: A Story of Wealth and Power; Sweet Robin: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; Hans Holbein: Portrait of an Unknown Man"; and, most recently, "The King and The Gentleman: Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell 1599-1649," He has also written and presented numerous radio and television programs. Now, after three decades of study and reflection, he returns to those themes he first explored in "A Tudor Tapestry."

Bibliographic information