Nineteenth Century Survey
Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, Vol, I—The Nineteenth Century in Europe, Background and the Roman Catholic Phase, by Kenneth Scott Latourette, (Harper, 1958, 498 pp., $6), is reviewed by Paul Woolley, Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary.
With this volume Dr. Latourette begins the publication of a great new work in a field where comprehensive surveys are sorely needed, namely, the history of the Christian church in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His intention is to produce five volumes, three on the nineteenth century (to 1914) and two on the twentieth to date. The first half of the current volume is, however, devoted to setting the stage and describing the background. It provides a masterly survey of the eighteenth century (would that it had begun in the mid-seventeenth), which is well-balanced and comprehensive.
“The Storm of Revolution” is considered in its bearing upon both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. This study of the revolutionary movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries has the merit of bringing events widely separated in space, and somewhat less so in time, together in an illuminating summation. The survey of the effect of the French Revolution on the Roman Catholic church is particularly valuable to Protestants who are less likely to be familiar with this story than they are with their own history.
The account is divided by rather sharp chronological divisions. The preparation for the Revolution is separated from the Revolution itself. This makes for orderliness, but one wonders whether it really promotes clarity. Is not one of the major objectives of the historian to encourage people to distinguish tendencies in cultural ...1
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