• Fatal Discord

  • Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind
  • By: Michael Massing
  • Narrated by: Tom Parks
  • Length: 34 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 02-27-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 5 out of 5 stars 4.8 (25 ratings)

Regular price: $53.61

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Publisher's Summary

A deeply textured dual biography and fascinating intellectual history that examines two of the greatest minds of European history - Desiderius Erasmus and Martin Luther - whose heated rivalry gave rise to two enduring, fundamental, and often colliding traditions of philosophical and religious thought. 
Erasmus of Rotterdam was the leading figure of the Northern Renaissance. At a time when Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael were revolutionizing Western art and culture, Erasmus was helping to transform Europe's intellectual and religious life, developing a new design for living for a continent rebelling against the hierarchical constraints of the Roman Church. When in 1516 he came out with a revised edition of the New Testament based on the original Greek, he was hailed as the prophet of a new enlightened age. Today, however, Erasmus is largely forgotten, and the reason can be summed up in two words: Martin Luther. As a young friar in remote Wittenberg, Luther was initially a great admirer of Erasmus and his critique of the Catholic Church, but while Erasmus sought to reform that institution from within, Luther wanted a more radical transformation. Eventually, the differences between them flared into a bitter rivalry, with each trying to win over Europe to his vision. 
In Fatal Discord, Michael Massing seeks to restore Erasmus to his proper place in the Western tradition. The conflict between him and Luther, he argues, forms a fault line in Western thinking - the moment when two enduring schools of thought, Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity, took shape. A seasoned journalist who has reported from many countries, Massing here travels back to the early 16th century to recover a long-neglected chapter of Western intellectual life, in which the introduction of new ways of reading the Bible set loose social and cultural forces that helped shatter the millennial unity of Christendom and whose echoes can still be heard today. Massing concludes that Europe has adopted a form of Erasmian humanism while America has been shaped by Luther-inspired individualism. 
©2018 Michael Massing (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Donald Paul Gates, Jr. on 04-17-18

Sustained Magnificence

Where does Fatal Discord rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among the best

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fatal Discord?

As Luther defended his views of the Bible at the Diet of Worms, he declared in conclusion, "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise." At least that's what we've always been told! Apparently, he actually concluded with, "Amen." But it's not as good of a story.

Which character – as performed by Tom Parks – was your favorite?

I enjoyed Erasmus the most, as his humanist vision was ahead of his time and he presented an appealing alternative to the rigid ideologies of the day that led so many Europeans to kill one another.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

While a very flawed person, the incredible, fearless courage Luther showed in his defiance of the Catholic Church was astonishing. He could have faced burning at the stake many times over; indeed, it is a fate numerous of his followers suffered. Yet the threat never caused him to moderate his unbridled attacks against the Church, showing both the courage of his convictions and the power that beliefs of whose truth one is utterly convinced can have over a person's actions.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Nessun Dorma on 04-13-18

rich, and beautifully told

Where does Fatal Discord rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Right up there.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Luther. Massing does a wonderful job humanizing him, will all his (deep) flaws.

Any additional comments?

The juxtaposition of Luther and Erasmus is extremely effective in highlighting the importance of each.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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