The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society

The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society

by Brad S. Gregory
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674045637

ISBN-13: 9780674045637

Pub. Date: 01/01/2012

Publisher: Harvard University Press

In a work that is as much about the present as the past, Brad Gregory identifies the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation and traces the way it shaped the modern condition over the course of the following five centuries. A hyperpluralism of religious and secular beliefs, an absence of any substantive common good, the triumph of capitalism

Overview

In a work that is as much about the present as the past, Brad Gregory identifies the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation and traces the way it shaped the modern condition over the course of the following five centuries. A hyperpluralism of religious and secular beliefs, an absence of any substantive common good, the triumph of capitalism and its driver, consumerism—all these, Gregory argues, were long-term effects of a movement that marked the end of more than a millennium during which Christianity provided a framework for shared intellectual, social, and moral life in the West.

Before the Protestant Reformation, Western Christianity was an institutionalized worldview laden with expectations of security for earthly societies and hopes of eternal salvation for individuals. The Reformation’s protagonists sought to advance the realization of this vision, not disrupt it. But a complex web of rejections, retentions, and transformations of medieval Christianity gradually replaced the religious fabric that bound societies together in the West. Today, what we are left with are fragments: intellectual disagreements that splinter into ever finer fractals of specialized discourse; a notion that modern science—as the source of all truth—necessarily undermines religious belief; a pervasive resort to a therapeutic vision of religion; a set of smuggled moral values with which we try to fertilize a sterile liberalism; and the institutionalized assumption that only secular universities can pursue knowledge.

The Unintended Reformation asks what propelled the West into this trajectory of pluralism and polarization, and finds answers deep in our medieval Christian past.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674045637
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
849,728
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.72(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The World We Have Lost? 1

1 Excluding God 25

2 Relativizing Doctrines 74

3 Controlling the Churches 129

4 Subjectivizing Morality 180

5 Manufacturing the Goods Life 235

6 Secularizing Knowledge 298

Conclusion: Against Nostalgia 365

Abbreviations 389

Notes 391

Acknowledgments 537

Index 541

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