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A study not of the institution of the Church but of Christianity itself, this book explores the Christian people, their beliefs, and their way of life, providing a new understanding of Western Christianity at the time of the Reformation. Bossy begins with a systematic exposition of traditional or pre-Reformation Christianity, exploring the forces that tended to undermine it, the characteristics of the Protestant and Catholic regimes that superseded it, and the fall-out that resulted from its disintegration.
Religion has dominated colonialism since the 16th century. 'Religion and the Secular' critically examines how religion has been used to subject indigenous concepts to the needs of colonial powers. Essays present the colonial relationship from the perspective of colonized cultures - including Mexico, Guatemala, Vietnam, India, Japan, South Africa and Canada - and colonizing powers, namely England, Germany and the United States. The volume offers a historical and ethnographical analysis of the relationship between the sacred and the secular, examining religion in relation to politics, economics and civil power.
This collection of nineteen essays is the fruit of ongoing collaboration in Biblical Studies between the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, Manchester and Sheffield. The essays are arranged under three headings (General Studies; Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism; and New Testament, Early Christianity and their Contexts) but share many overlapping interests. In particular, the studies show intriguingly that the concerns of ancient historians are both similar to and different from those of modern historians. Several contributions also demonstrate that the historical value of ancient texts can only become apparent if they are set alongside suitable co-texts, whether from Mesopotamia, from Greek and Roman writings, or from other sources. In addition it is clear in some of the contributions that the interplay between authors and readers is no less significant in history writing than in the production of other genres. Overall the set of essays shows forcefully that history writing, in antiquity as today, is principally about the meaning of the past for the present, only secondarily about the past for its own sake.
The first major study of the early Reformation and the Polish monarchy for over a century, this volume asks why Crown and church in the reign of King Sigismund I (1506-1548) did not persecute Lutherans. It offers a new narrative of Luther's dramatic impact on this monarchy - which saw violent urban Reformations and the creation of Christendom's first Lutheran principality by 1525 - placing these events in their comparative European context. King Sigismund's realm appears to offer a major example of sixteenth-century religious toleration: the king tacitly allowed his Hanseatic ports to enact local Reformations, enjoyed excellent relations with his Lutheran vassal duke in Prussia, allied with pro-Luther princes across Europe, and declined to enforce his own heresy edicts. Polish church courts allowed dozens of suspected Lutherans to walk free. Examining these episodes in turn, this study does not treat toleration purely as the product of political calculation or pragmatism. Instead, through close analysis of language, it reconstructs the underlying cultural beliefs about religion and church (ecclesiology) held by the king, bishops, courtiers, literati, and clergy - asking what, at heart, did these elites understood 'Lutheranism' and 'catholicism' to be? It argues that the ruling elites of the Polish monarchy did not persecute Lutheranism because they did not perceive it as a dangerous Other - but as a variant form of catholic Christianity within an already variegated late medieval church, where social unity was much more important than doctrinal differences between Christians. Building on John Bossy and borrowing from J.G.A. Pocock, it proposes a broader hypothesis on the Reformation as a shift in the languages and concept of orthodoxy.

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