The Era of Reformation
by Bill Hayes
In The Era of Reformation for the New York Times Book Review, Michael Massing reviews Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450–1650 by Carlos M. N. Eire.
Few periods pose as great a challenge to historians as the Protestant Reformation. It features a vast canvas of people, texts, conclaves, and political and intellectual developments, including the birth of printing, the rise of humanism, Wycliffe and Hus, the 95 Theses, the Diet of Worms, Leo X, Charles V, Henry VIII’s divorce, Thomas More’s execution, the Anabaptists, the Puritans, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the King James Bible and a series of epic conflicts, culminating in the Thirty Years’ War — a horrific bloodletting that itself has generated a shelf-ful of studies. Historians must also address the Reformation’s consequences, apparent in everything from Pope Francis’ efforts to reform the Roman Curia to the prominence of the Bible in American life. [more]