Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Reformations and Religious Change

This session will look at some of the momentous changes experienced in the period as a result of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. It will focus on both the national and international dimensions of religious change as well as its political, social and cultural impact. In particular, we will discuss the 'confessionalization' debate and how this has shaped the historiography of the Reformation. The position of minorities and the extent to which they were tolerated, as well as the relationship between religious belief and the Enlightenment, will also be considered.


Should we properly speak of the Reformation or of Reformations?

To what extent did national and regional contexts shape the course of the Reformation(s)?

How useful is the confessionalization thesis?

General Reading

R. Birely, The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 (1999)

J. Bossy, Christianity in the West (1985)

E. Cameron, The European Reformation (1991)

P. Collinson, The Reformation (2003)

W. Coster and A. Spicer (eds), Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe (2005)

E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (1992)

H. J. Goertz, The Anabaptists (1996)

M. Greengrass, Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648 (2014)

B. S. Gregory, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (1999)

K. von Greyerz, Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe (2008)

R. Hsia, The World of Catholic Renewal (1998)

R. Hsia (ed), Cambridge History of Christianity Volume 6: Reform and Expansion 1500-1660 (2007)

B. Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (2007)

B. Kümin (ed.), The European World (2009 or later edns), part 3: ‘Religion’

D. MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (2003)

P. Marshall, The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction (2009)

P. Marshall (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation (2015)

P. Matheson (ed), Reformation Christianity (2007)

A. McGrath, Reformation Thought: An Introduction (1988; second edn 1992)

J.W. O’Malley, Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (2000)

L. Palmer Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation: Incarnation and Liturgy (2006)

A. Pettegree (ed.), The Reformation World (2000)

A. Pettegree, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (2005)

U. Rublack, Reformation Europe (2005)

A. Ryrie (ed), Palgrave Advances in the European Reformations (2006)

R. Scribner et al. (eds), The Reformation in National Context (1994)

J. D. Tracy, Europe’s Reformations 1450-1650 (1999)

P. G. Wallace, The Long European Reformation (2004)


Specifically on the ‘Confessionalization’ debate:

P. Benedict, ‘Confessionalization in France? Critical reflections and new evidence’, in R.A. Mentzer and A. Spicer (eds), Society and Culture in the Huguenot World (1559-1685) (2002), pp. 44-61, and also in P. Benedict, The Faith and Fortunes of France’s Huguenots, 1600-85 (2001), pp. 309-25

John M. Headley, Hans J. Hillerbrand, and Anthony J. Paplas (eds), Confessionalization in Europe, 1555-1700: Essays in Honor and Memory of Bodo Nischan (Aldershot, 2004)

Ute Lotz Heumann, ‘Confessionalization’, in David M. Whitford (ed.), Reformation and Early Modern Europe: A Guide to Research (2008)

W. Reinhard, ‘Pressures towards Confessionalization? Prolegomena to a Theory of the Confessional Age’, in C. S. Dixon (ed.), The German Reformation: The Essential Readings (1999)

H. Schilling, Religion, Political Culture and the Emergence of Early Modern Society (Leiden, 1992), esp. pp.205-45 (‘Confessionalization in the Empire’)