Religious Transformations in the Early Modern World: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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The early modern period witnessed sometimes startling, sometimes subtle transformations in the religious and intellectual life of peoples across the globe. For reasons that varied widely, leaders and thinkers from Mexico to the Ottoman Empire and from China to the Indian subcontinent sought to reform existing religions, develop new spiritual practices, promote innovative texts, and, on occasion, even create new religions. Presenting documents from different regions and different religious and philosophical traditions, including Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Confucianism, this volume allows students to explore and analyze these varied transformations. A general introduction introduces the framework for examining the chapter case studies, while the chapters provide context, a group of primary sources, and a set of questions to consider. Useful pedagogic supports include headnotes to the documents, a chronology, a set of broader questions to consider that help students compare transformations, a selected bibliography, and an index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312458867
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/9/2009
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,232,435
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the co-editor of the Sixteenth Century Journal and the author or editor of twenty books and many articles that have appeared in English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. These include Early Modern Europe 1450-1789 (2006); Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (3rd ed. 2008), and Gender in History (2001). Her research has been supported by grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim Foundations, among others. She currently serves as the Chief Reader for Advanced Placement World History, and has also written a number of source books for use in the college classroom, including Discovering the Global Past (3rd ed. 2006), and a book for young adults, An Age of Voyages, 1350-1600 (2005).

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Table of Contents



A Note about the Texts


Religious Innovations and Reforms

Interwoven Transformations

Primary Themes


  1. Mesoamerica: Mexica Innovations and Mexican Catholicism

    1. Gods of Life and Death from the Codex Borgia, c. 1500

    2. Hymn to Huitzilopochtli from the Codices Matritenses, c. 1550

    3. Mexica War Songs, 1560s

    4. Diego Durán, The History of the Indies of New Spain, c. 1580

    5. Chimalpahin, Annals, 1613

    6. Bernardino de Sahagún, Sermons, 1540

    7. Bernardino de Sahagún, Christian Psalmody, 1583

    8. Andres de Olmos (?), Final Judgment, 1530s

    9. Chimalpahin, Annals, 1613

  2. Europe: Reforms and Reformations in Christianity

    10. Desiderius Erasmus, The Praise of Folly, 1511

    11. Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, 1520

    12. Martin Luther, A sermon on marriage, 1525

    13. Matthias Gerung, Protestant woodcut, 1546

    14. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 1520s

    15. Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, 1565

    16. Pope Pius IV, Injunctum nobis, 1564

    17. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1536

    18. John Calvin, Ordinances for the Regulation of Churches, 1547

  3. Africa and Southwest Asia: Politics and Mysticism in Islam and Judaism

    19. The Replies of Muhammad Al-Maghili to the Questions of Askia al-Hajj Muhammad, 1498

    20. Letters Between Sultan Selim I and Shah Isma’il, 1514

    21. Mystical dance of a Sufi brotherhood, sixteenth century

    22. Abdulwahhab b. Ahmad al-Sharani, Qualities of a Sufi saint, c. 1560

    23. Katib Chelebi, The Balance of Truth, 1656

    24. Moses Cordovero, The Palmtree of Deborah, 1560s

    25. Isaac Luria, Bringing Forth Sparks, 1570

    26. The Pious Customs of Abraham Galante, 1580s

  4. South Asia: Syncretism and Sikhism in the Mughal Empire

    27. Abu’l Fazl, Akbarnama, c. 1590

    28. ‘Abd ul-Qadir Bada’uni, Selected Histories, c. 1590

    29. Nan Singh, Scholars Gather at Akbar’s Court, 1605

    30. Muhsi-i-Fani, School of Religion, c. 1650

    31. The Japji Sahib from the Guru Granth

    32. Hymns of Guru Amar Das, 1560s

    33. Sikh texts for a wedding, 1560s

  5. East Asia: Combining and Competing Traditions in China and Japan

34. Wang Yangming, Questions on the Great Learning, 1527

35. Wang Yangming, The Community Compact for Southern Ganzhou, 1520s

36. Li Zhi, A Book to Burn (Fenshu), 1590

37. Li Zhi, Two Letters, 1590s

38. Tao-chi, A Man in a House Beneath a Cliff, 17th century

39. Hayashi Razan, Ruling and Living in Conformity with the
Order of Heaven and Earth, c. 1620

40. Hosukawa Tama Gracia, Letter to the Jesuit Superior Gregorio de Cespedes, 1590

41. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Letter to the Viceroy of the Indies, 1591



Chronology: Global Religious Transformations, 1450-1650

Questions for Consideration

Selected Bibliography


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