Review – Saracens by John Tolan

Tolan has produced a clear, thorough, and comprehensive introduction to the perception of Islam in the West. While somewhat restricted in terms of source material—it relies almost exclusively on histories and treatises—it is chronologically wide-ranging. The reader can follow the developments and disagreements over centuries. Tolan synthesizes massive amounts...


Book Review: Erasmus by Cornelis Augustijn

Cornelis Augustijn, Erasmus: His Life, Works, and Influence, trans. J. C. Grayson (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1991) This biography of Erasmus is extraordinary for its lucid brevity. It is no easy task to depict a figure of Erasmus’ stature—his life, works, and influence!—in 200 pages, but Augustijn delivers. A...


Book Review: Sacred History by Van Liere et al.

Van Liere, Katherine, Simon Ditchfield, and Howard Louthan, eds. Sacred History: Uses of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. What if ecclesiastical history in the era after the Reformation was not just a detour or even an impediment to “modern” secular history, but rather a...