The History of Christianity in the Reformation Era : The Great Courses: Christianity

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Brad S. Gregory
  • Series: The Great Courses: Christianity
  • 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

It still takes a major effort of historical imagination to enter the minds of those who lived during the Reformation Era, who were willing to suffer martyrdom or martyr others for what we would regard as minor doctrinal differences. These 36 lectures are designed to take you inside the minds of those who supported the Reformation and those who resisted it. They cover the three broad religious traditions that endured or arose during these years: Roman Catholicism, both as it existed on the cusp of the Reformation and as it changed to meet the Protestant challenge; Protestantism, meaning the forms approved by political authorities, such as Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism; and "radical" Protestantism, meaning the forms often at odds with political authorities, such as Anabaptism. The goal: to understand historically the theological and devotional aspects of each of these three broad traditions on its own terms and to grasp the overall ramifications of religious conflict for the subsequent course of modern Western history.
Along the way you'll encounter the era's many influential figures, including: Erasmus, Martin Luther, Charles V, Henry VIII, Ignatius Loyola, John Calvin, and Menno Simons. Professor Gregory also raises questions that any student of the period must ponder. Was the late medieval Church vigorous or, as Martin Luther and others came to insist, horribly corrupt? How do the events of the Reformation reveal the shifting balance between religious and secular authorities? Did the Reformation succeed or fail? Ultimately, the long-term payoff of these lecture series is a better understanding of the relationship between the world of early modern Europe - and the modern world to which it gave rise.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Admittedly Anti-Catholic

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Protestants and anyone who likes to put down Catholicism and Catholics; a big audience, it seems.

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

When the author/narrator/professor stated in the first lesson that the Reformation happened to replace a corrupt Church. While no one disagrees individuals in Church hierarchy, including a number of Popes, had some corrupt practices, and that the Church itself had some systemic corruption, I expected a scholarly review of the facts, issues, key debates, participants, short term outcomes, and longer term impacts, both on Christianity and on the secular world, especially the Western nations (Europe & the Americas) and the Near Eastern nations, where Christianity held prominence. Instead, the opening session expressed an educated (and admittedly biased) opinion of the Reformation. TV & movies already have a big Catholic-bashing party going. So, thanks, but no thanks.

What three words best describe Professor Brad S. Gregory’s performance?

Sadly, academically disappointing.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment, BIG TIME.

Any additional comments?

While this does not turn my opinion of Prof. Brad Gregory totally negative (impressive credentials), it makes me critically hesitant with regard to his courses (books articles, etc.). For the future, his work falls far lower on my Audible/Great Courses choice priorities.

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- Amazon Customer

Very balanced and informative.

This was a very good performance and subject that not only approached the Reformation as such, but also looked to fit it in the wider world of both its time and ours. It set a good pace and didn't leave the areas of Western Europe alone for long before cycling back.
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- Philip

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses