Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

20 Hegel’s Ghost: Europe, the Reformation, and the Middle Ages

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

According to an old historical tradition the Reformation marked a fundamental break from the Middle Ages. The tradition has a point, because the Reformation really did bring major change. The work of Reformation historians retains a residual identification with nations and confessions that conflicts sharply with the perspective adopted in this chapter. The confessionalization paradigm amounts to a contemporary version of Hegel's vision of the modern state, minus Hegel's fondness for the sincerity of the German people and his distaste for Catholic corruption, plus the gloomy descent of Weber's inner-worldly asceticism and Oestreich's social discipline on ordinary folk in lieu of Hegel's happy rise of liberty. The self-understanding of the protagonists in the early modern transformation of European society is obviously crucial for the history of the Reformation. In Catholic self-understanding the Catholic Church did the opposite of what the Protestants were doing: it maintained an immutable tradition.

Keywords: Catholic Church; European society; Hegel's vision; Protestants; Reformation historiography; Renaissance



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Past Sense — Studies in Medieval and Early Modern European History  — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation