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Volume LII 1 - 2018

Luther and Europe

Massimo Firpo, pp. 83-94
Abstract
The article suggests an interpretation of the long-term significance of the Reformation in European history, bringing out how profoundly different the outcomes were to the original aims behind Luther’s formulation of his dramatic protest. Unleashed by the desire to restore the doctrinal basics of a faith that the Church of Rome had betrayed, the Reformation quickly led to a religious fragmentation of Europe that saw the final decline of christianitas and the rise of religious pluralism. The result of bloody wars of religion, this pluralism finally forced States to recognize the principles of tolerance and, later, religious freedom, which constitute an essential aspect of European civilization and its cultural heritage. In short, the story is a classic example of the heterogenesis of ends.