Cover image for Religious warfare in Europe, 1400-1536
Religious warfare in Europe, 1400-1536
Housley, Norman.
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Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 238 pages ; 25 cm
The subject : religious warfare in the late Middle Ages and early Reformation -- A crucible of religious warfare : Bohemia during the Hussite wars, 1400-1436 -- The Christian commonwealth of Europe, 1436-1536 -- The assembling of authority : scripture, messainic individuals, and symbols -- The three Turks -- The critique of religious war -- Conclusion : perspectives.
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D203 .H68 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Religious warfare has been a recurrent feature of European history. In this intelligent and readable new study, the distinguished Crusade historian Norman Housley describes and analyses the principal expressions of holy war in the period from the Hussite wars to the first generation of theReformation. The context was one of both challenge and expansion. The Ottoman Turks posed an unprecedented external threat to the 'Christian republic', while doctrinal dissent, constant warfare between states, and rebellion eroded it from within. Professor Housley shows how in these circumstances the propensity to sanctify warfare took radically different forms. At times warfare between national communities was shaped by convictions of 'sacred patriotism', either in defending God-given native land or in the pursuit of messianicprogrammes abroad. Insurrectionary activity, espceially when driven by apocalyptic expectations, was a second important type of religious war. In the 1420s and early 1430s the Hussites waged war successfully in defence of what they believed to be 'God's Law'. And some frontier communitiesdepicted their struggle against non-believers as religious war by reference to crusading ideas and habits of thought. Professor Housley pinpoints what these conflicts had in common in the ways the combatants perceived their own role, their demonization of their opponents, and the ongoing critiqueof religious war in all its forms. This is a major contribution to both Crusade history and the study of the Wars of Religion of the early modern period. Professor Housley explores the interaction between Crusade and religious war in the broader sense, and argues that the religious violence of the sixteenth and seventeenthcenturies was organic, in the sens that it sprang from deeply rooted proclivities within European society.

Author Notes

Norman Housley is a Professor of History, University of Leicester.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The inspiration for this work was Housley's The Later Crusades, 1274-1580 (CH, Apr'93). Religious Warfare is equally scholarly and insightful. Housley (Univ. of Leicester) examines the principal expressions of holy war from the Hussite Wars to the first generation of the Reformation. In particular, he focuses on conceptions of religious warfare and highlights the various ways they were transformed throughout the period. By offering various geographical case studies, Housley illustrates how the crusading ideal was shaped by internal and external factors. Crusading exerted an influence on the development of a national messianic ideal that tapped into the persisting chivalric ideal in Portugal and the royal obligation of the Reconquista in Castile. In both the Hussite Wars (especially Tabor 1419-20) and Anabaptist Munster (1534-5), religious warfare was voiced by sectarian apocalypticism. Religious warfare helped to foster national messianic consciences during the Hundred Years' War in both England and France. Housley's work is eminently readable and extremely well researched. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. G. Traver Southeastern Louisiana University

Table of Contents

1 Religious Warfare in the Late Middle Ages and Early Reformation
2 A Crucible of Religious Warfare: Bohemia during the Hussite Wars 1400-1437
3 The Christian Commonwealth of Europe 1437-1536
4 The Assembling of Authority: Scripture, Messianic Individuals, and Symbols
5 the Three Turks
6 The Critique of Religious War
7 Conclusion: Perspectives