Brad S. Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation traces the absence of any substantive common good—and the triumph of capitalism, consumerism, and individualism—to the long-term effects of the Protestant Reformation. Yet can the social and political ills of modern societies be understood as more or less direct, if unforeseeable, consequences of the Reformation? What is the contemporary import of thinking of modernity as the degradation of an earlier, more wholesome age? What sort of philosophical or theological premises underlie Gregory’s understanding of history, and how are political and socioeconomic factors to be incorporated into his account of modernization? We have invited scholars to respond to these and other questions, to evaluate Gregory’s thesis, and to offer their critiques of how his work might fit into broader historical patterns of interpreting the relationship between modernity and its past.
Browse all contributions below, and keep an eye on The Immanent Frame for further contributions and Gregory’s response.