The Reformation was the seismic event in European history over the past 1000 years, and one which tore the medieval world apart. Not just European religion, but thought, culture, society, state systems, personal relations - everything - was turned upside down. Just about everything which followed in European history can be traced back in some way to the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation which it provoked. The Reformation is where the modern world painfully and dramatically began, and MacCulloch's great history of it is recognised as the best modern account.
Christianity, one of the world's great religions, has had an incalculable impact on human history. This book, now the most comprehensive and up to date single volume work in English, describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organisation and spirituality, but how it has changed politics, sex, and human society.Diarmaid MacCulloch ranges from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth. He is one of the most widely travelled of Christian historians and conveys a sense of place as arrestingly as he does the power of ideas. He presents the development of Christian history differently from any of his predecessors. He shows how, after a semblance of unity in its earliest centuries, the Christian church divided during the next 1400 years into three increasingly distanced parts, of which the western Church was by no means always the most important: he observes that at the end of the first eight centuries of Christian history, Baghdad might have seemed a more likely capital for worldwide Christianity than Rome. This is the first truly global history of Christianity.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, acknowledged master of the big picture in Christian history, unravels a polyphony of silences from the history of Christianity and beyond. He considers the surprisingly mixed attitudes of Judaism to silence, Jewish and Christian borrowings from Greek explorations of the divine, and the silences which were a feature of Jesus's brief ministry and witness. Besides prayer and mystical contemplation, there are shame and evasion; careless and purposeful forgetting. Many deliberate silences are revealed: the forgetting of histories which were not useful to later Church authorities (such as the leadership roles of women among the first Christians), or the constant problems which Christianity has faced in dealing honestly with sexuality. Behind all this is the silence of God; and in a deeply personal final chapter, MacCulloch brings a message of optimism for those who still seek God beyond the clamorous noise of over-confident certainties.
A brilliant kaleidoscope on the Reformation from its leading scholar and 'one of the best historians writing in English today' (Sunday Telegraph)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.All Things Made New shows Diarmaid MacCulloch at his best - learned, far-seeing, sometimes subversive, and often witty. At the end of his essay on the great Elizabethan divine Richard Hooker, he writes 'The disputes which currently wrack Western Christianity are superficially about sexuality, social conduct or leadership style: at root, they are about what constitutes authority for Christians. The contest for the soul of the Church in the West rages around the question as to how a scripture claiming divine revelation relates to those other perennial sources of human revelation, personal and collective consciousness and memory; whether, indeed, there can be any relationship between the two.' There is much wisdom, as well as much enjoyment, in this book.
The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning history of the Reformation-'from the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity and Silence
At a time when men and women were prepared to kill-'and be killed-'for their faith, the Protestant Reformation tore the Western world apart. Acclaimed as the definitive account of these epochal events, Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning history brilliantly re-creates the religious battles of priests, monarchs, scholars, and politicians-'from the zealous Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses to the polemical John Calvin to the radical Igantius Loyola, from the tortured Thomas Cranmer to the ambitious Philip II.
Drawing together the many strands of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranging widely across Europe and the New World, MacCulloch reveals as never before how these dramatic upheavals affected everyday lives-'overturning ideas of love, sex, death, and the supernatural, and shaping the modern age.
The New York Times bestseller and definitive history of Christianity for our time-'from the award-winning author of The Reformation and Silence
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.
A provocative meditation on the role of silence in Christian tradition by the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity
We live in a world dominated by noise. Religion is, for many, a haven from the clamor of everyday life, allowing us to pause for silent contemplation. But as Diarmaid MacCulloch shows, there are many forms of religious silence, from contemplation and prayer to repression and evasion. In his latest work, MacCulloch considers Jesus's strategic use of silence in his confrontation with Pontius Pilate and traces the impact of the first mystics in Syria on monastic tradition. He discusses the complicated fate of silence in Protestant and evangelical tradition and confronts the more sinister institutional forms of silence. A groundbreaking book by one of our greatest historians, Silence challenges our fundamental views of spirituality and illuminates the deepest mysteries of faith.
A fascinating history of the growth in monastic and papal power that preceded the Crusades-'excerpted from Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning New York Times bestseller, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years stretches from the Greek Platonists and the origins of the Hebrew Bible to the present and encompasses the globe. In this excerpt, MacCulloch chronicles the rise of monasteries like the great Cluny Abbey, which formed orders that reached across secular kingdoms, enjoying exclusive papal privileges and encouraging their followers to make pilgrimages among towering cathedrals and far-flung shrines. Meanwhile, the introduction of the tithe, expanding control over marriage, and a new emphasis on Purgatory brought penitent parishioners even closer to the Church and dependent on ministry. By the time Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade, the practice of indulgences had made possible his grant that all who died in a state of repentance and confession while fighting would gain immediate entry into heaven. Holy War spawned whole new orders, most famously the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller, as soldiers from across Europe joined the campaigns of conquest toward Jerusalem. The many causes and consequences of these clashes between Christianity and Islam are captured here in illuminating detail with elegance and wit.
Diarmaid MacCulloch's latest book, Silence: A Christian History, is available from Viking.