Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800

Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800

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In the pre-industrial societies of early modern Europe, religion was a vessel of fundamental importance in making sense of personal and collective social, cultural and spiritual exercises. Developments from this era had immediate impact on these societies, much of which resonates to the present day. Published in German seven years ago, Kaspar von Greyerz important overview and interpretation of the religions and cultures of Early Modern Europe now appears in the English language for the first time. He approaches his subject matter with the concerns of a social anthropologist, rejecting the conventional dichotomy between popular and elite religion to focus instead on religion in its everyday cultural contexts. Concentrating primarily on Central and Western Europe, von Greyerz analyzes the dynamic strengths of early modern religion in three parts. First, he identifies the changes in religious life resulting from the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. He then reveals how the dynamic religious climate triggered various radical and separatist movements, such as the Anabaptists, puritans, and Quakers, and how the newfound emphasis on collective religious identity contributed to the marginalization of non-Christians and outsiders. Last, von Greyerz investigates the broad and still much divided field of research on secularization during the period covered. While many large-scale historical approaches to early modern religion have concentrated on institutional aspects, this important study consciously neglects these elements to provide new and fascinating insights. The resulting work delves into the many distinguishing marks of the period: religious reform and renewal, the hotly debated issue of "confessionalism", social inclusion and exclusion, and the increasing fragmentation of early modern religiosity in the context of the Enlightenment. In a final chapter, von Greyerz addresses the question as to whether early modern religion carried in itself the seeds of its own relativization.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 22.86mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195327659
  • 9780195327656

Review quote

Von Greyerz's Religion and Culture is the first book to examine the entire range of its subject from the late Middle Ages to the 18th century. It is based on an encyclopaedic knowledge of the era and written from a truly European perspective, free from any trace of intellectual or national bias. Perhaps its most unusual feature is that von Greyerz successfully contextualizes religion without reducing it to a function of something else. For anyone who wants the big picture of how the Protestant and Catholic reformations change European culture, this is the book. * Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Peder Sather Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley * An accomplished account by a leading authority - strongly recommended for all early modern survey courses. * Beat Kumin, Associate Professor in History, University of Warwick * Religion and Culture is a wonderful guide to many issues in religious history ... fascinating and important * Ronald H. Fritze, Journal of Ecclesiastical History *show more

About Kasper Von Greyerz

Kaspar von Greyerz is Full Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Baselshow more