The Kingdoms and Churches of Scandinavia, The title of this book and the cross that ornaments its jacket seem to promise an account of the religious changes that swept the North in the first half of the sixteenth century. The reader will therefore be surprised to find that what Professor Larson has produced is nothing so banal.
In this case the word "reforming" must be read in its broadest sense.
Larson's work is not primarily about the Reformation as it is normally conceived. Rather, his study is focused on understanding the tumultuous and literal re-forming of the social, economic, political, and religious institutions of Scandinavia in the period stretching from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Larson's work is a direct response to the overwhelming majority of scholarship on this period and the Reformation in particular that, as he notes in his introduction, tends to a nationalistic focus that separates the experience of the individual Northern Kingdoms both from one another and from events in continental Europe while privileging the religious Reformation as the defining movement of the age.
Meanwhile, the huge quantity of documentation that survives from the period and the complexity of the issues that make the sixteenth century so vital to an understanding of the subsequent history of the region have encouraged authors to become ever more specialized and narrow in their focus.
Reforming the North
While Larson recognizes the impossibility of completely escaping these tendencies, his work is a brave attempt at overcoming these limitations and at providing a broad overview of Scandinavia that demonstrates the complex relationships between the Northern Kingdoms, social and economic change, the consolidation of political power, religious change, and similar trends in continental Europe.
His two main goals are to demonstrate Scandinavian integration in the process of European state formation and the process by which the resources of medieval religious and social institutions were appropriated and redirected to the princely state and territorial churches. Larson's approach is ambitious, nonconformist and, yet at the same time, seems occasionally distinctly "old fashioned.
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American Historical Association members Sign in via society site. This book traces the chaotic and often violent transfer of resources and authority from the decentralized structures of medieval societies to the early modern states and their territorial churches.
Religious reform is regarded as an essential element in the process - in the context of social unrest, political conflict, and long-term changes in finance, trade, and warfare. Reforming the North offers a broad perspective on this turbulent period and on the implications of the Protestant Reformation for Northern history. Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x 42mm Bestsellers in European History. The Man of Numbers Keith Devlin. Red Notice Bill Browder. Kursk Roman Toeppel.
Reforming the North by James L. Larson
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