Early Modern European Civilization and Its Political and Cultural Dynamism/ Heinz Schilling

Based on a series of lectures given at the Historical Society of Israel in 2006, this volume offers a rare opportunity for English language readers to appreciate the groundbreaking work of historian Heinz Schilling. As Schilling argues here, the emergence of the European state system was a direct result of the rise of regionally dominant religious beliefs and the resultant formation of national identities. This is not only an introduction to his paradigmatic concept of “confessionalization” and the emergence of the state system in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; it is also an effort to understand the impact of migration and the role of religious minorities as agents of economic, social, and cultural change during this period. The book concludes with a tantalizing discussion of the way in which secular authority did not arise exclusive from religion but was often inspired by the inherent dualism of the Latinate culture, characterized by a long-held separation between the spiritual and secular powers. The very fundamentalisms that fed the inferno of the Thirty Years War were only brought to heel by the very nature of European religious authority. Schilling uses his discussion of the confessionalization concept and the rise of the state system as a model of historical typology that will serve to ease historians’ embrace of post-national, post-European, and global historiography.