Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Melvyn Bragg on Calvinism

You can listen here to Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time discussion on Calvinism.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Catholic Reformation

‘Though in the 1530s and 1540s it appeared as if Europe might become Protestant, a century later the picture was reversed – Catholicism had ended its decline and was showing a vigour and dynamic that compared favourably with a now rigid Protestantism.’ H. G. Koenigsberger, George L. Mosse,. and G. Q. Bowler, Europe in the Sixteenth Century (Longman, 1989), 207.
There is a useful summary of the Catholic Reformation here. This post is also indebted to Diarmaid MacCulloch's quite excellent Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700 (Allen Lane, 2003).

List of Counter-Reformation popes

Paul III (1534-49) Alessandro Farnese
Julius III (1550-55) Giammaria Ciocchi del Monte
Paul IV (1555-59) Gian Pietro Carafa
Pius IV (1559-65) Giovanni Angelo Medici
Pius V (1566-72) Michele Ghisleri
Gregory XIII (1572-85) Ugo Buoncompagni

Reformations and changing cultures

[Above: Bernini's 'Saint Teresa in Ecstasy' at the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome.]

This post is heavily indebted to Diarmid MacCulloch's Reformations: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700 (Allen Lane, 2003).

Some historians now speak of a ‘Long Reformation’ that took place over a period of about two hundred years in both Catholic and Protestant Europe and profoundly changed the culture.

One symbol of a divided western Europe was that from 1582 Catholics and Protestants lived in different times. In that year Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar: ten days were suppressed, and the new year was to begin on 1 January rather than 25 March. France, Spain and Italy changed immediately. The Orthodox churches refused, as did Protestant Europe. (It was only in the eighteenth century that Western Europe had a single calendar; Russia did not come into line until 1918.)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The English evangelicals

Note: The term 'Protestant' is not appropriate for the early stage of the Reformation in England and historians prefer to use the contemporary term 'evangelicals', usually written with a lower-case 'e' to distinguish the from the Evangelicals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

John Calvin (1509-64)

This post owes a great deal to Diarmid MacCulloch's Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700 (Allen Lane 2003) a work as witty (in parts) as it is magisterial (always).

Calvin was born in Noyen in Picardy, the son of a lawyer. He taught theology at the Sorbonne and Roman law at Orléans and Bourges. Through his studies he came into contact with French humanism and had contacts with two influential Erasmian groups: that around the king’s sister Marguerite d’Angoulême (1492-1549) and the similar group at the court of Guillaume Briçonnet, bishop of Meaux and the theologian Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples.