Thomas A. Donlan, The Reform of Zeal. François de Sales and Militant French Catholicism. St Andrews: Centre for French History and Culture of the University of St Andrews, 2018. Pp. iv + 145

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


In this slim volume about the life and work of François de Sales (1567−1622), Thomas A. Donlan tackles a very large theme. Indeed the central point of the book — to explore François de Sales’s contributions to non-violent religious cultures in Counter-Reformation French Catholicism — is so intimately tied to major historiographic debates about violence and emotions that one hopes Donlan will build upon his research findings in a further monograph. The ideas developed in The Reform of Zeal are of considerable relevance to current interdisciplinary work on ‘contentious politics’, to borrow a phrase from Charles Tilly and Sidney Tarrow. Violence, in all its various manifestations and in different historical contexts, is currently occupying a space to the fore of historians’ interests, not least as a result of scholarly reactions to Steven Pinker’s thesis on the subject.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Ecclesiastical History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jan 2020


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