Gregory's recent book is The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012). In a work that is as much about the present as the past, Gregory identifies the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation and traces the way it shaped the modern condition over the course of the following five centuries. A hyperpluralism of religious and secular beliefs, an absence of any substantive common good, the triumph of capitalism and its driver, consumerism—all these, Gregory argues, were long-term effects of a movement that marked the end of more than a millennium during which Christianity provided a framework for shared intellectual, social, and moral life in the West.
The Unintended Reformation has been widely praised. Carlos Eire has called the The Unintended Reformation "a revisionist manifesto, sharp-edged and provocative.... It analyzes the legacy of the Protestant Reformation with an eye firmly fixed on the present. Gregory challenges many revered assumptions and does so with verve and brilliance. Bound to stir debate for years to come, this magisterial history of the early modern era belongs on the shelf right next to Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Charles Taylor's A Secular Age."
This symposium, jointly sponsored by Duke's Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, will give participants the chance to discuss this book with the author. A future special issue of JMEMS will critically engage with Gregory's ideas.
Co-sponsored by the Dean of the Divinity School, Divinity School Historical Theology, and the Departments of English and History.