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The Church in an Age of Revolution (The Penguin History of the Church) (v. 5)

(Book #5 in the The Penguin History of the Church Series)

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Book Overview

The French Revolution dealt a fatal blow to the alliance of Church and State. The Christian church had to adapt to great changes - from the social upheavals of the Industrial Revolution to the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

A Quick Study of Nineteenth Century Christianity

I'm currently engrossed in reading Victorian history and literature, and purchased this book to get a quick infusion of church history for that period. The book was a perfect choice for my needs. While the book's coverage extends from the French Revolution to the present day, it is mainly concerned with the events of the nineteenth century in Europe, England and Scotland. Mr. Vidler starts with a discussion of Catholicism in France during the periods of revolution. He delineates the struggle between those favoring strong papal control and those who wanted a more secular society. He moves on to the Oxford movement in Britain where there was a tendency toward revival of Catholic beliefs and liturgy. The Chartist movement and the Christian Socialists were a development of the Industrial Revolution. Marked attempts were made to address the political and financial poverty of many of England's citizens.The author also covers the split in the Church in Scotland; the impact of Charles Darwin on Christian thinking; the growth of liberal theology and the Catholic modernists; the influence of Kierkegaard; and the impact of imperialistic missionary programs on European and British colonies. Although written by an Anglican theologian the book is a very even handed treatment of Protestant and Catholic movements and theology during modern times. He presents the good along with the bad, and in sum presents the reader with a concise, informative church history in slightly less than 300 pages. My only caveat is that if you are primarily interested in twentieth century coverage of this topic, then you had best look elsewhere. Coverage of the current period is relatively brief and extends only to 1971, the date of publication.

A Brilliant, Informed Analysis

In a small package, Vidler has written an analysis - - not merely an overview - - of reactions by the Christian Churches to moderrnity and its discontents from the French Revolution to Vatican II. This is a deceptively small book for it is dense, deep, and highly informed. It may even be too concise for the casual reader; I read it with an abundance of other source materials. Figures such as Coleridge, John Henry Newman, and Kierkegaard are portrayed with sympathy. This is essential to any understanding of the Western world in the 19th and 20th centuries.
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