The Reformation which engulfed England and Europe in the sixteenth century was one of the most highly-charged, bloody and transformative periods in their history, and has remained one of the most contested. In this dazzling book, Diarmaid MacCulloch explores a turbulent and endlessly fascinating era.The Reformation which engulfed England and Europe in the sixteenth century was one of the most highly-charged, bloody and transformative periods in their history. Ever since, it has remained one of the most contested.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is one of the leading British historians of this turbulent and endlessly fascinating era. Many essays in this volume expand upon his now classic Reformation: Europe's House Divided, tracing, for example, the evolution of the English Prayer Book and Bible or reassessing the impact of the Reformation on Catholicism. Henry VIII and his archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, are both central presences, and MacCulloch swiftly dispatches some of the received wisdom about them. Throughout the book, he brilliantly undermines one persistent English tradition of interpreting the Reformation - that it never really happened - and establishes that Anglicanism was really a product of Charles II's Restoration in 1660 rather than the 'Elizabethan Settlement' of 1559.
The inexhaustible variety of the Reformation is seen in a delightful mix of writings on angels, Protestant opinions about the Virgin Mary and such diverse personalities as William Byrd, John Calvin and the extraordinary seventeenth-century forger Robert Ware, some of whose malicious fantasies have polluted parts of Reformation history ever since.