© 2013

Protestant-Catholic Conflict from the Reformation to the Twenty-first Century

The Dynamics of Religious Difference

  • John Wolffe

About this book


Taking a fresh look at the roots and implications of the enduring major historic fissure in Western Christianity, this book presents new insights into the historical dynamics of Protestant-Catholic conflict while illuminating present-day contexts and suggesting comparisons for approaching other entrenched conflicts in which religion is implicated.


Christianity Europe history reform reformation religion theology

Editors and affiliations

  • John Wolffe
    • 1
  1. 1.The Open UniversityUK

About the editors

John Bell, Institute for Conflict Research, Belfast, Ireland Thomas Carty, Springfield College, Massachusetts, USA Mark Greengrass, University of Sheffield, UK Colin Haydon, University of Winchester, UK Andrew Holmes, Queen's University Belfast, Ireland Helmut Walser Smith, Vanderbilt University, USA Philomena Sutherland, Open University, UK Yvonne-Maria Werner, University of Lund, Sweden

Bibliographic information


"This collection of essays provides a sophisticated and admirably balanced comparative analysis, equally historical and social scientific, of contentious issues constantly subject to polemical and inflammatory readings. It looks equally at times and places where conflict did occur and where it did not, it examines key events and episodes that build up mythic representations, especially the so-called 'wars of religion', it draws attention to the complex mix of factors, in particular the role of state power, it points up the role played by insecurity, and it destabilises the sweeping categories and topoi that bedevil discussion. It provides a major contribution to an issue too often subject to circular arguments and definitions." - David Martin, London School of Economics, UK

"It can never have been easy to devise and assemble a collection of essays on religious conflict, since both the phenomenon itself, and its various interpreters, tend to indicate rather narrowly defined explanations. This compendium, notably well edited by John Wolffe, happily transcends received commonplaces, and offers the reader acute insights into the causes and circumstances of conflict without imposing really precise generalisations. This is in itself valuable: what emerges from these excellent studies is the significance of ever-changing historical circumstances in the determination of particular occasions of conflict, and the manner in which individual personalities generated action. ... This collection of essays is sober and considered; it is consistently of a high standard of scholarship and reflection. As Mark Greengrass puts it in his contribution (and in a modern mode of expression), they take into account 'the significant polyvalence and polysemy in confrontational content'. The financial sponsors of the book, the 'UK Global Uncertainties Programme' of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council, ought to be impressed." - Edward Norman, Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, UK