A century before Martin Luther and the Reformation, Jan Hus confronted the official Church and helped to change the face of medieval Europe. A key figure in the history of Europe and Christianity and a catalyst for religious reform and social revolution, Jan Hus was poised between tradition and innovation. Taking a stand against the perceived corruption of the Church, his continued defiance led to his excommunication and he was ultimately burned at the stake. What role did he play in shaping Medieval Europe? And what is his legacy for today? In this important and timely book Thomas A. Fudge explores the man, his work and his legacy. Beginning his career at Prague University, this brilliant Bohemian preacher was soon catapulted by virtue of his radical and popular theology to the forefront of European affairs. After a five year legal struggle, he was martyred for his beliefs and his controversial execution in 1415 provided the Prague reform movement with a martyr. Spurred on by his controversial execution and left without his moderating influence, Hus's followers were free to follow a more radical doctrine and in the turbulent years that followed his death the country descended into a protracted war. Hus has been variously portrayed by modern historians as a communist, faithful priest, ardent nationalist or simply an unoriginal thinker. In contrast, Fudge offers a full, revealing and much more nuanced portrait of this enigmatic figure. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources in many languages, Fudge sheds light on Hus's ideas and writings and analyses the consequences of his execution and the Hussite Revolution. This book fills a real gap in contemporary understanding of the medieval Church and offers an accessible and authoritative account of a most significant individual and his role in history. Jan Hus belongs to the pantheon of extraordinary figures from medieval religious history. His story is one of triumph and tragedy in a time of chaos and change.
Religious Reform and Social Revolution in Bohemia