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The Birth of Modern Belief$
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Ethan H. Shagan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174747

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174747.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Birth of Modern Belief

Ethan H. Shagan

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter talks about how the transformation of belief, rather than the rise of unbelief, propelled Western thought into modernity. The resulting configuration has shaped the conditions of religion in a secular age. The explosion of religious conflict in the sixteenth century made belief an urgent problem in the Christian West. In addition, the chapter argues that the Reformation was not an engine of modernity; on the contrary, modern belief developed in reaction against the religion of Luther and Calvin as much as against the Council of Trent. However, despite their theological differences, Protestants, Catholics, and Anabaptists in the sixteenth century participated in a common project to make belief hard.

Keywords:   belief, unbelief, religion, secular age, Reformation, Christian West, modernity, Protestants, Catholics, Anabaptists

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