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The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 A Reassessment of the Counter-Reformation by Robert Bireley

The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 A Reassessment of the Counter-Reformation

Part of the European History in Perspective Series


The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 A Reassessment of the Counter-Reformation by Robert Bireley

Unlike the traditional terms Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reform, this book does not see Catholicism from 1450 to 1700 primarily in relationship to the Protestant Reformation but as both shaped by the revolutionary changes of the early modern period and actively refashioning itself in response to these changes: the emergence of the early modern state; economic growth and social dislocation; the expansion of Europe across the seas; the Renaissance; and, to be sure, the Protestant Reformation. Bireley devotes particular attention to new methods of evangelization in the Old World and the New, education at the elementary, secondary and university levels, the new active religious orders of women and men, and the effort to create a spirituality for the Christian living in the world. A final chapter looks at the issues raised by Machiavelli, Galileo and Pascal.Robert Bireley is a leading Jesuit historian and uniquely well placed to reassess this centrally important subject for understanding the dynamics of early modern Europe. This book will be of great value to all those studying the political, social, religious and cultural history of the period.


'In summary, this book transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries to synthesise extremely well the best of recent writing on the history of modern Catholicism (the bibliography provides the proof of this).' - Marc Venard, Revue d'Histoire de l'Eglise de France 'The emphasis throughout on the centrality of the lay piety is an excellent corrective to versions of confessionalization theory which remain too institutionally concerned with the state's direction of its subjects. Instead both casuistry and Jansenism are admirably apporached with a proper Jesuit sensitivity.' - A.D. Wright, Catholic Historical Review'

About the Author

ROBERT BIRELEY is Professor of History at Loyola University, Chicago.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th June 1999


Robert Bireley

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Palgrave Macmillan


231 pages


General & world history
Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700

Christian theology



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