From the Social History of the Reformation (1960-1980) to the Reformation as Communication Process (1990-2000)

Costas Gaganakis

This article attempts to chart the “paradigm shift” from social history, dominant until the early 1980s, to new cultural history and the various interpretive trends it engendered in the 1990s and 2000s. The privileged field of investigation is the history of the Protestant Reformation, particularly in its urban aspect. The discussion starts with the publication of Bernd Moeller’s pivotal Reichsstadt und Reformation in the early 1960s – which paved the way for the triumphant invasion of social history in a field previously dominated by ecclesiastical or political historians, and profoundly imbued with doctrinal prerogatives – and culminates in the critical presentation of interpretive trends that appear to dominate in the 2010s, particularly the view and investigation of the Reformation as communication process.

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Author Biography
Costas Gaganakis, National & Capodistrian University of Athens
Costas Gaganakis teaches European History at the Department of History, University of Athens. He specializes in the social and cultural history of Early Modern France, with main emphasis in the French Wars of Religion. He is the author of The War of Words. Religious dispute and propaganda in the French Religious Wars (in Greek, Athens, Nefeli, 2003). Other publications: “Religious zeal and Political Expediency on the Eve of the French Wars of Religion”, Historein, 6, 2006, “Stairway to heaven: Calvinist grief and redemption in the French Wars of Religion”, Ηistorein, 8, 2008, “Thinking about History in the European 16th Century: La Popelinière and his quest for ‘perfect history’”, Historein, 10, 2010. His forthcoming book has the title, Thycydides or Eusebius? Protestant Hisyoriography in France during the Wars of Religion.
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