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The Reformation Of The Enlightenment: German Histories In The Eighteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

German Protestantism and German Catholicism experienced their own crises, and an examination of their problems in the eighteenth century may shed light on the way in which the Reformation as a historical event was evaluated and its supposed lessons brought to bear on the "present". The crises faced by eighteenth-century Germans were of an intellectual and institutional nature. This chapter examines what the Protestant and Catholic evaluations of the Reformation tell us about their mutual interests in the age of Enlightenment. Moreover, the ways in which Protestants and Catholics shared this event shed new light on the centrality of the Reformation and the transformation of its meanings to modern German history. Michael Ignaz Schmidt's multi-volume narrative history, in many ways embodied the Gallican longings of Enlightened German Catholics, who sought a practical reform of the Church, and who favored, if not independence, then certainly more administrative autonomy from Rome.

Keywords: enlightened German Catholics; historical event; Michael Ignaz Schmidt; Protestant Church; reformation; Rome



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