An entertaining and enlightening expose of over-inflated claims about the Reformation and what it has done for us, written by a Pulitzer Prize shortlisted historian of international standing. Containing scathing indictments of popular historical distortions and misrepresentations of the birth and legacy of Protestantism in the West, the book is a welcome antidote to all the triumphalist books on the Reformation flooding the market this year.
Rodney Stark is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, Texas. He is Founding Editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Honorary Professor of Sociology at Peking University in Beijing, China, and past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. His most recent book is Bearing False Witness: Debunking centuries of anti-Catholic history (SPCK, 2017), his bestselling book The Rise of Christianity was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and three of his other books have received Distinguished Book Awards. Raised as a Lutheran, he has identified himself as an agnostic but now calls himself an 'independent Christian'.
Introduction: The Mythical 'Protestant' Chapter 1. The Myths of Full Pews, Pious Kings, and Limited Monarchies Chapter 2. The Misfortune of State Churches, Forced Piety, and Bigotry Chapter 3. The Misfortune of Nationalistic States Chapter 4. The Myth of the Protestant Ethic Chapter 5. The Myth of the Protestant Scientific 'Revolution' Chapter 6. The Myth of Protestant Individualism and Suicide Chapter 7. The Myth of Protestant Secularization Chapter 8. The Myth of Harmful Protestant Effects on the Catholic Church