Suspicious Moderate offers the first detailed analysis of Sancta Clara's works. In addition to his notorious Deus, natura, gratia (1634), Sancta Clara wrote a comprehensive defense of episcopacy (1640), a monumental treatise on ecumenical councils (1649), and a treatise on natural philosophy and miracles (1662). By carefully examining the context of Sancta Clara's ideas, Davenport argues that he aimed at educating English Roman Catholics into a depoliticized and capacious Catholicism suited to personal moral reasoning in a pluralistic world. In the course of her research, Davenport also discovered that "Philip Scot," the author of the earliest English discussions of Hobbes (a treatise published in 1650), was none other than Sancta Clara. Davenport demonstrates how Sancta Clara joined the effort to fight Hobbes's Erastianism by carefully reflecting on Hobbes's pioneering ideas and by attempting to find common ground with him, no matter how slight.
Anne Ashley Davenport is a lecturer in the Boston College Honors Program. She is the author of Descartes's Theory of Action and Measure of a Different Greatness: The Intensive Infinite, 1250–1650.
Peter Wilson's book is a major work, the first new history of the war in a generation, and a fascinating, brilliantly written attempt to explain a compelling series of events. Wilson's great strength is in allowing the reader to understand the tragedy of mixed motives that allowed rulers to gamble their countries' future with such horrifying results. The principal actors in the drama (Wallenstein, Ferdinand II, Gustavus Adolphus, Richelieu) are all here, but so is the experience of the ordinary soldiers and civilians, desperately trying to stay alive under impossible circumstances.
The extraordinary narrative of the war haunted Europe's leaders into the twentieth century (comparisons with 1939-45 were entirely appropriate) and modern Europe cannot be understood without reference to this dreadful conflict.