Download Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind Audiobook

Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind Audiobook, by Michael Massing Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Michael Massing Narrator: Tom Parks Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780062696106
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A deeply textured dual biography and fascinating intellectual history that examines two of the greatest minds of European history—Desiderius Erasmus and Martin Luther—whose heated rivalry gave rise to two enduring, fundamental, and often colliding traditions of philosophical and religious thought.

Erasmus of Rotterdam was the leading figure of the Northern Renaissance. At a time when Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael were revolutionizing Western art and culture, Erasmus was helping to transform Europe’s intellectual and religious life, developing a new design for living for a continent rebelling against the hierarchical constraints of the Roman Church. When in 1516 he came out with a revised edition of the New Testament based on the original Greek, he was hailed as the prophet of a new enlightened age. Today, however, Erasmus is largely forgotten, and the reason can be summed up in two words: Martin Luther. As a young friar in remote Wittenberg, Luther was initially a great admirer of Erasmus and his critique of the Catholic Church, but while Erasmus sought to reform that institution from within, Luther wanted a more radical transformation. Eventually, the differences between them flared into a bitter rivalry, with each trying to win over Europe to his vision.

In Fatal Discord, Michael Massing seeks to restore Erasmus to his proper place in the Western tradition. The conflict between him and Luther, he argues, forms a fault line in Western thinking—the moment when two enduring schools of thought, Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity, took shape. A seasoned journalist who has reported from many countries, Massing here travels back to the early sixteenth century to recover a long-neglected chapter of Western intellectual life, in which the introduction of new ways of reading the Bible set loose social and cultural forces that helped shatter the millennial unity of Christendom and whose echoes can still be heard today. Massing concludes that Europe has adopted a form of Erasmian humanism while America has been shaped by Luther-inspired individualism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Massing has read widely and intelligently, and he writes superbly.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A sprawling narrative around the rift between the two men, laying out the sociological, political and economic factors that shaped both them and Europe’s responses to them, and tracing their theological disputes back to the earliest days of Christianity…Though a massive amount of material is marshaled, Massing’s journalistic skills keep the story line crisply coherent.”

    New York Times

  • “Riveting…Massing argues persuasively that the discordant views represented by the two men continue to shape Western culture. An impressive, powerful intellectual history.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Massing writes an entertaining, briskly paced narrative that whisks readers among the Low Countries, Paris, Germany, and England to ground the story within the complex theological history that helped to shape the work and lives of Luther and Erasmus…A masterly work.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A penetrating…double biography of two leading figures in the making of the modern West…Fatal Discord is a stellar achievement.”

    Todd Gitlin, author of The Whole World Is Watching

  • A New York Times Pick of 11 New Books We Recommend This Week

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About the Author

Michael Massing is a former executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books. He is the author of Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind; The Fix; and Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq. He is a cofounder of the Committee to Protect Journalists and sits on its board. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1992, he was named a MacArthur Fellow, and from 2010 to 2011, he was a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY.

About the Narrator

Tom Parks is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator who has also been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been involved in recording audiobooks and voice-overs for over thirty years and through an eclectic range of projects. In addition to performing and directing, he is also an active musician, drumming in musical theater productions in the Midwest, and is in demand as a conference speaker.