cover image All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy

All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy

Diarmaid MacCulloch. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-19-061681-6

MacCulloch (Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years) has written an intriguing set of essays focused primarily on the English Reformation. In the first part, he places the larger European Reformation within the context of an almost unprecedented situation: the long unity of a huge portion of a faith under one banner. But rather than understanding Roman Catholicism as the one true church, he sees it as a product of Platonist innovation or reformation, locating those churches theologically closest to Christ in remnants in Ethiopia and India. MacCulloch then moves to the English Reformation and Henry VIII, whose theological fuzziness introduced a lack of theological clarity into Anglicanism that is perhaps the denomination’s greatest strength. MacCulloch leans into straight history in this section, and some of his best chapters beyond the opening overview essays explore Ann Boleyn, queens Mary and Elizabeth, and Cranmer and the Book of Common Prayer. MacCulloch goes on to discuss the legacy of the English Reformation. The book offers fascinating tidbits about theology and church history in a format well suited to those who enjoy browsing a volume and tasting what they will. (Sept.)