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Protestants : The Radicals Who Made the Modern World - Alec Ryrie


The Radicals Who Made the Modern World

Hardcover Published: 6th April 2017
ISBN: 9780007465033
Number Of Pages: 528

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Five hundred years ago Protestant Christianity began with one stubborn monk. Today, it includes a billion people across the globe. The upheaval Martin Luther triggered inspired one of the most creative and destructive movements in human history.

Protestants is the story of the men and women who made and remade this quarrelsome faith. Fired by life-changing encounters with their God, they set out for every corner of the world, demanded alarming new freedoms and experimented in new systems of government. Inspired by their newly accessible Bibles, they transformed their inner lives, a transformation that spilled over into social upheavals and political revolutions.

In the process, they have played decisive roles on both sides of the great ideological battles of modern times. Protestants have been both for and against liberalism, imperialism, slavery, Nazism, communism, apartheid and women’s rights. Yet beneath it all is a shared passion for God, a vital belief in the principle of self-determination and a readiness to fight for their beliefs.

As this ever-changing faith puts down deep roots across contemporary China, Africa, and Latin America, Alec Ryrie’s dazzling history explores how its restless energy made and is still making the modern world.

About the Author

Alec Ryrie was born in London. He studied History and Theology at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and is now Professor of the History of Christianity at Durham University. A specialist on the Reformation, he is the author of The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England , the prize-winning Being Protestant in Reformation Britain, and is the co-editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

`A book about Protestants could so easily mirror crude stereotypes. Protestants are supposedly staid, prudish, law-abiding and dull. Ryrie instead exposes their infinite variety - the weird, wicked and wonderful. This is a fun book about people obsessed with sin' Books of the Year, The Times

`A treat. Its scholarship showcases one of the leading historians of Protestantism writing today, but the delight of it is the crisp prose, the quiet, cool wit, the wise judgements and the sheer scope from the gates of Wittenberg to the streets of Seoul. Ryrie has a gift for showing how the history of religion is the history of people, in all their glorious, baffling, frightening and endearing variety' Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of `Reformation and Christianity'

`This is a book of breathtaking range and penetrating insight. It will shape our perception of the Reformation and its long shadow for years to come' Andrew Pettegree, author of `Brand Luther'

`Spectacularly good. Ryrie guides us sure-footedly along the broad paths of Protestant history without neglecting its many fascinating by-ways. He writes with empathy but without illusions; his trademark combination of wit and erudition makes the journey as enjoyable as it is enlightening' Prof. Peter Marshall, University of Warwick

`A learned, lively look at the various faiths lumped together as Protestant, from Martin Luther in the 16th century to today... Rarely has an author of such deep faith offered such a tolerant, engaging history of any religion' Kirkus

`Ryrie's agile mind, pithy style and energetic narrative bring 500 years of Protestant history to life and into the present global era. Profound and capacious, `Protestants' is scintillating, shrewd, incisive and proceeds at an astonishing pace. If you wish to buy one book to understand the impact Martin Luther has had on the modern world, this is it' The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion


Chapter 1. Luther and the Fanatics
Chapter 2. Protectors and Tyrants
Chapter 3. The Failure of Calvinism
Chapter 4. Heretics, Martyrs and Witches
Chapter 5. The British Maelstrom
Chapter 6. From the Waters of Babylon to a City on a Hill

Chapter 7. Enthusiasm and Its Enemies
Chapter 8. Slaves to Christ
Chapter 9. Protestantism's Wild West
Chapter 10. The Ordeals of Liberalism
Chapter 11. Two Kingdoms in the Third Reich
Chapter 12. Religious Left and Religious Right

Chapter 13. Redeeming South Africa
Chapter 14. Korea in Adversity and Prosperity
Chapter 15. Chinese Protestantism's Long March
Chapter 16. Pentecostalism: An Old Flame
Epilogue: The Protestant Future

Plate Section
Illustration Credits

ISBN: 9780007465033
ISBN-10: 0007465033
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: 6th April 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.5  x 4.5
Weight (kg): 0.85