Religious Revolution to the Dawn of Modernity: Martin Luther to the Peace of Westphalia 1517-1648

Moderators: Richard Hamilton and Hy Edelstein
Role of participants: Each participant will be responsible for a presentation on an appropriate topic followed by a discussion.  Additionally, there will be recommended readings.
Number of participants (including the moderator): 16
Time: Wednesdays, 1:30–3:30 pm
Place: Amherst College, Converse Hall, Porter Lounge, 100 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst
Parking: You will be issued an Amherst College campus parking permit

The Protestant Reformation was in truth a revolution which destroyed the religious monopoly of the Catholic Church and a corrupt papacy.  It was also a conservative rear-guard reaction to the liberalism of the Renaissance.  A century of antagonistically competing religious doctrines and political entanglements culminated in the worst and last of the religious wars, the Thirty Years War.  The Peace of Westphalia not only marked the end of religious wars in Europe, but also the beginning of a new emphasis on the rights of sovereignty and a more rational approach to matters of state.

Among the topics to be explored are:

1) The reformers objections to the practices and doctrines of the Catholic Church;

2) The differences between the main Reformation sects;

3) The Catholic reaction: its own reformation or a counter reformation?

4) The Northern Renaissance: Science & the Arts;

5) Political-religious entanglements, war, civil and international.

Format: Seminar

Resources: Strongly suggested prior reading:  Peter Marshall, The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford U. Press, 2009.  For a more in depth reading, try Diamond McCulloch, The Reformation.

The moderators: Moderator Richard Hamilton taught European History for 37 years at HCC and Westfield State University and has moderated 2 other LIR seminars. Co-Moderator Hy Edelstein has been a 5CLIR member for over a decade, having moderated seminars in history, philosophy, and biology.

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