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Recently the orthodoxies of Reformation study have changed, several times. Electronics are disseminating access. Records of sixteenth-century Eastern Europe are showing experiences more important and flexible than had been thought: central Europe was more of a cultural unity than our post-Second World War notion of East and West has implied – Wittenberg is far nearer to Prague than to London. Extraordinary things happened all over Europe, some of them only now being approached. Radical changes were either repulsed, as in Italy or Spain, or quite quickly accepted, as in Germany. The Reformation’s ‘second wind’ of Calvinism became central in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, England and Scotland. No longer does anyone think of the Reformation in England as being from 1529 to 1559: it now has a long pre-history, and an even longer reach forward, even to 1800. Moreover, England’s Reformation emerges as something of an anomaly: in Patrick Collinson’s question, how did ‘one of the most Catholic countries become one of the least?’ To this ‘how?’ has been added the question whether the Reformation in England was ever more than ‘a succession of legislative enactments’.
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