Teaser Tuesday: Fatal Discord

Like a blue moon, the Wheel of Time has finally turned ‘round again to Teaser Tuesday.

So, it’s been incredibly too long since I shared what I’ve been reading. Not that I haven’t been reading, though, since I’ve finished the following books since my last Teaser Tuesday:

Read by Oct 30

This week I’m reading Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing.

Heady, I know.

The Goodreads Blurb:

An engrossing dual biography and fascinating intellectual history that examines two of the greatest minds of European history—Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther—whose heated rivalry gave rise to two enduring, fundamental, and often colliding traditions of philosophical and religious thought.

Erasmus was the leading figure of the Northern Renaissance. At a time when Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael were revolutionizing Western art and culture, Erasmus was helping to transform Europe’s intellectual and religious life, developing a new design for living for a continent rebelling against the hierarchical constraints of the Roman Church. When in 1516 he came out with a revised edition of the New Testament based on the original Greek, he was hailed as the prophet of a new enlightened age. Today, however, Erasmus is largely forgotten, and the reason can be summed up in two words: Martin Luther. As a young friar in remote Wittenberg, Luther was initially a great admirer of Erasmus and his critique of the Catholic Church, but while Erasmus sought to reform that institution from within, Luther wanted a more radical transformation. Eventually, the differences between them flared into a bitter rivalry, with each trying to win over Europe to his vision.

In Fatal Discord, Michael Massing seeks to restore Erasmus to his proper place in the Western tradition. The conflict between him and Luther, he argues, forms a fault line in Western thinking—the moment when two enduring schools of thought, Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity, took shape. A seasoned journalist who has reported from many countries, Massing here travels back to the early sixteenth century to recover a long-neglected chapter of Western intellectual life, in which the introduction of new ways of reading the Bible set loose social and cultural forces that helped shatter the millennial unity of Christendom and whose echoes can still be heard today. Massing concludes that Europe has adopted a form of Erasmian humanism while America has been shaped by Luther-inspired individualism.

The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 420:

In Wittenberg, as in university towns across Europe, the students were a rowdy and volatile lot. Living far from home in overcrowded conditions; dealing with cold, hunger, and unforgiving workloads; and finding their sole release in alcohol, the posed a perennial threat to public order.

Fatal Discord cover

What are you reading today?

2 thoughts on “Teaser Tuesday: Fatal Discord

  1. I look at what you’ve read lately and feel like I’ve come to a dead stop. I have been fumbling through Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak, and cannot gain traction. I want to love it, reviews tell me I will, but it should not take a week to get through 40 or so pages. I literally fall asleep with it in my hands nightly. My swing at Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng finally came up on my Kindle’s public library app, so I’ve begun that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What you are reading goes so well chronologically with what I’m reading, The Agony and the Ecstasy – Irving Stone’s biographical novel about Michelangelo. Fascinating and critical period. I appreciate your information about Luther and Erasmus.

    Liked by 1 person

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