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Heinz Schilling
1517. Weltgeschichte eines Jahres

© C. H. Beck Verlag, München, 2017 Heinz Schilling: 1517. Weltgeschichte eines Jahres © C. H. Beck Verlag, Munich, 20171517 was much more than Martin Luther’s publication of his 95 theses in the up-and-coming provincial backwater of Wittenberg, “at the frontiers of civilisation", as he put it, and the ultimate division of his own church as a result. 1517 was a breath-taking and multi-layered time full of contradictions, marked on the one hand by new beginnings and on the other by fears. (…) Those were rough, hard, brutal, dangerous times with a life expectancy of just over 30. The people faced the threat of epidemics and natural disasters and were dependent on a good harvest. They also had a literally hellish fear of the devil, regardless of whether they were farmers, monks like Luther, patricians or regents. The Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch depicted these nightmares in his apocalyptic paintings. “People were certain that the celestial powers, through their agents, intervened directly in world events,” is how Schilling describes the omnipresence of religion and magic in an age that was anything but enlightened.
Yet there were quite a number of approaches to new thinking – an amazingly large number almost simultaneously. As well as Luther’s Reformation of the Christian faith, 1517 also saw the publication of Querela Pacis, the Complaint of Peace, by the humanist Erasmus von Rotterdam in 1517. He far-sightedly saw conflicts and wars breaking out on account of the nationalism that was emerging in Europe, the disintegration of which he feared – thoughts that seem familiar to us in 2017.

Alexander Jungkunz: „Ängste und Aufbrüche“
© Nürnberger Nachrichten, 18 March 2017

Heinz Schilling
1517. Weltgeschichte eines Jahres
C. H. Beck Verlag, Munich, 2017
ISBN 9783406700699
363 pages


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