World Views and Worldly Wisdom

Religion, Ideology and Politics, 1750-2000

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Jan De Maeyer, Vincent Viaene
KADOC Studies in Religion, Culture and Society
  • Leuven, Belgium: 
    Leuven University Press
    , May
     424 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


The attraction and repulsion between the Roman Catholic Church and modernity in Europe between 1750 and 2000.

Emiel Lamberts (1941), professor emeritus of contemporary history at KU Leuven, is an international expert in the political and religious history of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

His work and the central themes in his research are the starting point in World Views and Worldly Wisdom. No less than eighteen leading international researchers put different aspects of his work in the spotlight. A recurring theme, however, is the attraction and repulsion between the Roman Catholic Church and modernity in Europe between 1750 and 2000.

The ambivalent relationship with modernity is therefore the leitmotiv of the first part of this volume, whereas the second part focuses on the repositioning of the Church and the tensions between religion, ideology and politics. In this way the volume reflects Lamberts’s fascination for the history of political institutions as well as his research on Christian democracy. The contributions address – in a comparative way and from a transatlantic viewpoint – this broad period of time in history, which gave rise to different social movements and different models of society in Belgium and elsewhere.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Jan De Maeyer is full professor at KU Leuven and director of KADOC KU Leuven, Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society. He is president of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome and author of several publications on political and social Catholicism, material Christianity, and the development of religious institutions.

Vincent Viaene studied history and international relations at KU Leuven, the Sorbonne and Yale University. He obtained a doctorate in history in 1999, and was afterwards a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at KU Leuven (1999-2008), a senior Fellow at KADOC (2008-2009) and a Marie Curie Fellow at Oxford University (2009-2011). He published on international history, religious history and history of colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. His most recent book is Religious Internationals in the Modern World (with Abigail Green, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). He joined the Belgian diplomatic corps in 2011, and was First Secretary at the Belgian Embassy in Nairobi from March 2012 to August 2015. Since September 2015, he is seconded to the Belgian Royal Household as private Secretary to King Philip and Attaché for culture.


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