Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reassessing Reform: A Historical Investigation into Church Renewal

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reassessing Reform: A Historical Investigation into Church Renewal

Article excerpt

REASSESSING REFORM: A HISTORICAL INVESTIGATION INTO CHURCH RENEWAL. Edited by Christopher M. Bellitto and David Zachariah Flanagin. Washington: Catholic University of America, 2012. Pp. xii + 289. $69.95.

This volume might well be read as a Festschrift for Gerhart Ladner's Idea of Reform: Its Impact on Christian Thought and Action in the Age of the Fathers (1959). The editors' choice of authors reflects their intent to assess and celebrate not so much the specific reforms of this or that period, but rather to look at the very idea of "reform" as a subfield of intellectual history.

John Howe's preface offers a brief memento of the importance of the work of Ladner, an "unassuming Viennese gentleman" (ix), not only in the history of ideas, but also in art history. The book is divided into two parts: Part I is devoted to Ladner's Idea of Reform after 50 years, while Part II treats models and case studies of medieval and Reformation reform. The latter section contains essays on such topics as Dominicans in the 14th century, how Nicholas of Cusa treated lay piety, and Carthusians as public intellectuals. …

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