A Brief Introduction to Martin Luther by Steven D. PaulsonIn the sixteenth century, Martin Luther started a reformation movement that revolutionized Europe and the history of the Christian faith. His far-reaching reforms of theological understanding and church practices dramatically changed both church and society in Europe and beyond. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Steven Paulson provides an engaging, concise introduction to Martin Luther's life and the major themes in his theology.
The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome, and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences arestill with us today. In All Things Made New, Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of the New York Times bestseller Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, examines not only the Reformation's impact across Europe, but also the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the special evolution of religion inEngland, revealing how one of the most turbulent, bloody, and transformational events in Western history has shaped modern society.The Reformation may have launched a social revolution, MacCulloch argues, but it was not caused by social and economic forces, or even by a secular idea like nationalism; it sprang from a big idea about death, salvation, and the afterlife. This idea - that salvation was entirely in God's hands andthere was nothing humans could do to alter his decision - ended the Catholic Church's monopoly in Europe and altered the trajectory of the entire future of the West.By turns passionate, funny, meditative, and subversive, All Things Made New takes readers onto fascinating new ground, exploring the original conflicts of the Reformation and cutting through prejudices that continue to distort popular conceptions of a religious divide still with us after fivecenturies. This monumental work, from one of the most distinguished scholars of Christianity writing today, explores the ways in which historians have told the tale of the Reformation, why their interpretations have changed so dramatically over time, and ultimately, how the contested legacy of thisrevolution continues to impact the world today.
The Reformation was a seismic event in history, whose consequences are still working themselves out in Europe and across the world. The protests against the marketing of indulgences staged by the German monk Martin Luther in 1517 belonged to a long-standing pattern of calls for internal reformand renewal in the Christian Church. But they rapidly took a radical and unexpected turn, engulfing first Germany and then Europe as a whole in furious arguments about how God's will was to be discerned, and how humans were to be "saved".However, these debates did not remain confined to a narrow sphere of theology. They came to reshape politics and international relations; social, cultural, and artistic developments; relations between the sexes; and the patterns and performances of everyday life. They were also the stimulus forChristianity's transformation into a truly global religion, as agents of the Roman Catholic Church sought to compensate for losses in Europe with new conversions in Asia and the Americas.Covering both Protestant and Catholic reform movements, in Europe and across the wider world, this beautifully illustrated volume tells the story of the Reformation from its immediate, explosive beginnings, through to its profound longer-term consequences and legacy for the modern world. The storyis not one of an inevitable triumph of liberty over oppression, enlightenment over ignorance. Rather, it tells how a multitude of rival groups and individuals, with or without the support of political power, strove after visions of 'reform'. And how, in spite of themselves, they laid the foundationsfor the plural and conflicted world we now inhabit.