Christianity did not reach the modern age by straight paths, but by crooked ones: For two centuries after the Reformation, Catholics and Protestants fought over the truth of their religion. They waged merciless wars and concluded fragile peace treaties. They invested in education and culture. They professionalized clerics and civil servants and tried harder than ever to shape the everyday lives of ordinary people in the villages and towns. They persecuted witches and learned to control the fear of magic.
The Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars created completely new conditions for making Christianity plausible for the modern age.
The book describes the enormous efforts under which Catholic and Protestant men and women faced the upheavals between the Reformation and the Revolution. Many of these efforts were similar. And yet ‘religious knowledge’ developed significantly apart.