A Popular History of the Reformation
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By Philip Hughes
“The one who is righteous by faith will live.” Around Luther’s explanation of these words from the Prophet Habakkuk, per Philip Hughes, would turn the entire Protestant Reformation, for they would usher in a revolution in how Christians viewed the very foundations of reality. This trenchant history tells the story of that multipart, multilateral revolution: the appearance of new theories and their eventual predomination in some parts and the rejection of them in others across sixteenth-century Europe. First, Hughes examines the background to the Reformation: the institutional stagnation and corruption which incited demand for reform as well as the pre-Lutheran efforts to accommodate those demands. Next, he brings to the forefront the pivotal players: Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin; Henry VIII, Cranmer, and Erasmus; Thomas More, Ignatius of Loyola, and Pope Paul III. Concluding the volume is a study of the momentous Council of Trent and its many achievements in arresting the Reformation movement.
Commended, when it first appeared in 1957, as “a masterpiece of historical writing,” A Popular History of the Reformation remains a vivid portrayal and objective appraisal of an exceptionally complex and controversial period in history.
Philip Hughes (1895–1967) was a Roman Catholic priest, ecclesiastical historian, and prolific author. After holding a professorship in history at St. Thomas College, he served as pastor at various English parishes, as archivist for the Archdiocese of Westminster, and as professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. Outstanding among his many works are the three-volume A History of the Church and The Church in Crisis.