The Modern Scholar: Christianity At the Crossroads: The Reformations of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

  • by Thomas F. Madden
  • 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Esteemed history professor Thomas F. Madden explores the reformations that swept across Christendom in the 16th and 17th centuries. The impact of these reforms affected government, popes, and kings as well as commoners, for at this time the Church was an omnipresent part of European identity-and the import of Church reforms on every level of life at this time simply cannot be underestimated. Involved in this fascinating era are such notable personages as King Henry VIII, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. Through every aspect of this remarkable process of reformation, Professor Madden captures the essence of the era-and imparts a true, studied understanding of just what this time period meant to the course of human events.

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Clarity!!

I an something of a fan of Professor Maddens'lectures, I like the way he present complicated historical situation and narratives in short succinct series of lectures. This one certainly did not dissappoint. This lecture certainly did change my view on the Catholic church. A great buy for highschool seniors and undergrad students.
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- Chi-Hung

Bias and sloppiness

I've been studying the Reformation quite intensively, especially in England. Many people who write about religious subjects don't disclose their own religious commitment, though the most honest ones do. I always listen for indications of bias. I've never heard it so blatant as in chapter 10 of this work though I had wondered before in earlier chapters, hearing certain word choices, and tones of voice.

In Chapter 10 Madden flatly says:

1) that Catherine of Aragon's marriage to Arthur (Henry VIII's brother) was unconsumated because she was too young (born in 1485, betrothed at age 3, married in 1501 at age 15 or 16).

2) that Henry's motive for dissolution of the monasteries was solely greed for their money and that monks and nuns were lined up and forced to marry.

3) that Henry's biblical ground for believing his marriage to Catherine was unlawful, Leviticus 20:21. applies only to cases of divorce, not widowhood.

I have never before come across any author, of any background, saying or even hinting these things. Most acknowledge that Henry and Catherine told different stories about the consummation of her first marriage. Most acknowledge the financial motive in the dissolution, but also recognize the Protestant influence of Anne Bolyn and Thomas Cromwell. The story of monks and nuns being lined up for forced marriage seems unbelievable on its face and I've never heard of it before. As for the Bible, Madden cites Deuteronomy 25:5-6 though it's actually stronger than what he says; it commands a man to marry the childless widow of his dead brother, specifically to provide an heir for the dead. But I've never heard of anyone else saying that Leviticus 20:21 applies only to divorce, which is what he claims.

Throughout the work, Madden is trying to cover a lot of ground in a brief time, and is often rather sloppy in his summaries. But in this chapter he is either ignorant of the field or deliberately engaged in special pleading for the Roman Catholic supporters of Catherine of Aragon and Mary Tudor. Most historians give a taste of all points of view; here Madden does not even acknowledge other possible ideas.

p.s. Another clear case of bias is that he blames the St Bartholomew's day massacre soley on Catherine de'Medici, not even acknowledging other possible culprits, of whom there were several. He makes no mention of Pope Gregory's public approval of the massacre.
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- Red Diaper Baby

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-15-2009
  • Publisher: Recorded Books