The Imaginative World of the Reformation

The Imaginative World of the Reformation

The Imaginative World of the Reformation

The Imaginative World of the Reformation


"Sweeping through Europe, the Reformation caught the imagination of whole peoples. Traditionally it has been understood as a change in social and political structures and in doctrine. Peter Matheson argues that the underlying shift was in the very perception of reality, that the Reformation replaced the 'enchanted world' of the medieval church with a different imaginative world. It was this profound shift which accounts for the radicality and extent of the Reformation." "A work of original research and analysis - by one of the world's leading Reformation historians. Comprehensively illustrated." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


This book had its genesis in the invitation by the Divinity Faculty of Edinburgh to give a series of Gunning Lectures in 1998. This gave me the opportunity to develop the theme of imagination in the Reformation. My heartfelt thanks are due to New College for its extraordinarily kind hospitality and encouragement during my time there. My debt to such New College luminaries as Professor John McIntyre and Principal Ruth Page for their pioneering work in the relationship between theology and imagination will also be obvious.

Moreover, my fascination with church history grew from the notable example of Professor Alec Cheyne in my student days at New College, and later when I was a junior colleague of his. It is a pleasure to record my gratitude to him here. I have sought to retain something of the immediacy of the oral delivery of the lectures in preparing them for publication.

I would also like to take this chance to thank Dr Geoffrey Green, of T&T Clark, for his support and friendship over some twenty years, and to his staff. As always, responsibility for the final product remains mine.

Warm thanks for permission to reproduce documents and illustrations is given to: the Bayerisches Haupstaatsarchiv, Munich; the Gothaer Kultur- und Fremdenverkehrsbetrieb Schlossmuseum, Gotha; the Thüringer Museum, Eisenach.

Peter matheson

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