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Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe

Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe

Hardback Harvard Historical Studies

By (author) Brad S. Gregory

List price $71.50

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Paperback $36.83
  • Publisher: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 544 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 243mm x 40mm | 830g
  • Publication date: 3 December 1999
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674785517
  • ISBN 13: 9780674785519
  • Illustrations note: 5 halftones, 30 line illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,584,150

Product description

Thousands of men and women were executed for incompatible religious views in 16th-century Europe. The meaning and significance of those deaths are studied here comparatively, providing an argument for the importance of martydom as both a window onto religious sensibilities, and a crucial component in the fomation of divergent Christian traditions and indentities. Brad Gregory explores Protestant, Catholic and Anabaptist martyrs in a sustained fashion, addressing the similarites and differences in their self-understanding. He traces the processes and impact of their memorialization by co-believers, and he reconstructs the arguments of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities responsible for their deaths. He employs a wide range of sources, including pamphlets, martyrologies, theological and devotional treatises, sermons, songs, woodcuts and engravings, correspondence and legal records. Reconstructing religious motivation, conviction and behaviour in early modern Europe, this text shows the shifting perspectives of authorities willing to kill, martyrs willing to die, martyrologists eager to memorialize and controversialists keen to dispute.

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Review quote

Brad Gregory's important and highly original book is a social history of religion that eschew the reductionism that treats religious practices as "behaviors" having no transcendent meaning. That is welcome news, as is the forthright way in which Gregory critiques earlier scholarly approaches to his topic...Aside from enriching our understanding of how martyrdom functioned for Reformation Christians, and aside from his trenchant critique of methodologies that fail to give martyrs their due, Gregory offers something to readers seeking transhistorical insights. The very empathy, evenhandedness, and historical imagination that enable Gregory to recapture the age of religious intolerance can enable ecumenically minded Christians to listen to Christians of other persuasions, and to take their doctrines seriously while avoiding the temptation to trivialize or relativize them in aid of an easy but ultimately vacuous accommodation. By showing us where we have been, Gregory gives us intellectual