Chapter

Church History in Early Modern Europe: Tradition and Innovation

Anthony Grafton

in Sacred History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594795
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741494 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594795.003.0001
Church History in Early Modern Europe: Tradition and Innovation

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This chapter offers an overview of early modern ways of writing the history of the Christian Church, tracing central practices to their ancient origins, examining their revival in later periods and showing how they were transformed by the impact of Renaissance humanism, printing, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Major Renaissance scholars such as Lorenzo Valla and Desiderius Erasmus articulated detailed visions of the Church’s development and applied new scholarly techniques to the sources. In the sixteenth century and after, both Catholics and Protestants created research groups, assembled libraries, and produced massive histories of the Church. These histories were innovative in more than scale. Unlike their ancient and medieval predecessors, early modern histories of the Church examined the Jewish world in which Christianity was born.

Keywords: historiography; Eusebius; Valla; Erasmus; Judaism; Flacius; Baronio

Chapter.  11347 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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