A Religious Revolution: The Protestant Reformation, Volume 1
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By Henri Daniel-Rops
A Religious Revolution: The Protestant Reformation is the fourth installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ magnificent History of the Church of Christ. This volume includes the first four chapters of that work, examining the triple crisis in the Church—of authority, as the scandal of the antipopes leads to the Great Western Schism; of unity, as the Hundred Years War, the chaos of famine and plague, and the fall of Byzantium spell the disintegration of Christendom; and of spirit, as moral decay and intellectual decline find no effective remedy in erratic reforms—and the dazzling duality of the Renaissance: glorious genius of artistic, literary, and scientific achievement alongside exuberant sensuality verging upon debauchery. In this grand tapestry stand the figures of Sts. Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc; John Wycliffe and John Huss; St. Colette and Savonarola; and the Renaissance popes: Nicholas V, Alexander VI, and Leo X.
This picture of an unedifying Papacy, a dubious hierarchy, and the faith threatened by evils of the worst kind would soon be replaced by one of a Church rejuvenated and renovated… But before this redemptive tremor could take effect a dramatic tragedy was to take place, whose prologue had just been enacted in a small German town… (Henri Daniel-Rops)
A superb presentation of the tumultuous years of 1350–1564, A Religious Revolution: The Protestant Reformation brings to life an epoch in which “everything everywhere was changing and falling apart; systems opposed systems, new dogmatisms clash with old; rigid formulae only half conceal uncertainty and anguish; the whole of human activity held increasingly fast in the grip of an indefinable kind of agonizing fermentation.”
Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.
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