Professor of History of Christianity
at the University of Catania
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Teologia e societÓ moderna nel pietismo luterano [Collezione storica], Laterza, Roma-Bari 1990, pp. 424


In Seventh Century Europe, battered by the fire and iron of wars and violence that reached its height in the thirty-years war, there arose a new religious movement from the heart of Lutheranism. It repudiated every form of falseness, hypocrisy, and injustice and preached a return to pure evangelical virtue. Ironically dubbed as "pietism" by its adversaries, it remained viable up until the time of the French Revolution. Its standard-bearers were theologians and proponents of Lutheran culture. Alongside them came committed individuals and communities ready to reform themselves at their bidding. Peasants, artisans, merchants, teachers, soldiers, and aristocrats all contributed with enthusiasm to the spread of a spiritual movement which had a profound effect upon both the German and European culture of that time and of successive generations as well.