European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities, 1830-1930

European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities, 1830-1930

European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities, 1830-1930

European Religion in the Age of the Great Cities, 1830-1930

Synopsis

Europe in the nineteenth century saw spectacular growth in the size and number of cities and in the proportion of the population living in urban areas. Many contemporaries thought that this social revolution would bring about an equally dramatic change in religious life. This book, written by an international team of specialists, provides an authoritative account of religious change, both at the institutional and popular level, in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox cities, in seven European countries.

Excerpt

The main themes of this book are the impact on religious beliefs and institutions of the urbanization of European societies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the ways in which the churches responded to these social changes. Although many historians have studied these themes in the context of individual cities, or sometimes countries, very little attempt has been made to approach these issues in a more systematic way by comparing what happened in different countries or within different religious traditions. This book will not attempt to be in any way comprehensive, but by selecting several major themes, and then looking at them from the point of view of cities with different religious histories and different confessional composition, it could mark the first step towards a more systematic comparative history, and it ought to permit more subtle and nuanced generalizations than those current at the moment.

The four chapters in Part I examine in three contexts (Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox) the familiar problem of the difficulties faced by the churches in responding to the very rapid growth of cities in this period. The two chapters in Part III, drawing respectively on British and on German evidence, attempt an overall assessment of the connections between urbanization and religious change, focusing especially on the debate over secularization. The theme of Part II, entitled 'Urban religious cultures', is less sharply defined. One aim is to present something of the range of possibilities inherent in the urban religious situation in this period. Another is to permit the kind of highly detailed exploration of popular religious attitudes or local church life which would be out of place in the other sections of the book. This part also offers an opportunity to consider aspects of urban religion that are largely neglected elsewhere-for instance, the

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