Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Atlas of the European Reformations

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Atlas of the European Reformations

Article excerpt

Atlas of the European Reformations BY TIM DOWLEY FORTRESS, 160 PAGES, $24

Tim Dowley's Atlas of the European Reformations offers a plentitude of useful, well-organized information. After eight pages of timeline and a short introduction, the next 120 pages generally follow the format of text on the left (often accompanied by pictures of the persons and places described) and a map taking up the entirety of the righthand page. Dowley divides his text into four sections: the late medieval world, the Protestant reformations, the Catholic reformation, and the wars, exploration, and evangelization projects of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

This text is a necessary contribution to the vast array of Reformation resources because so few of the standard texts have sufficient maps, and those that do are not as informative as the ones presented in this book. Indeed, the major histories usually have fewer than ten maps, if they have any at all; a book containing sixty is in a league of its own. Furthermore, even the books that do include maps do not use the full-color format, which allows for considerably more nuance in presentation.

By packing his maps with information, Dowley demonstrates the power of visual images. For example, the map of "The rise and distribution of the Jesuits" (map 40) shows areas that were Catholic in 1560, Catholic areas lost to Protestantism after 1560, areas regained by Catholicism by 1648, and areas that were consistently Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim. …

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