(Craig E. Harline)
Born in CA. Education: Rutgers University, Ph.D., 1986.
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, professor of history, 1992—. Visiting professor at Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium, 1996 and 2001, and the University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, 2006.
Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, American Council of Learned Societies, Catholic University of Louvain, and University of Antwerp; Miracles at the Jesus Oak: Histories of the Supernatural in Reformation Europe was named a Booklist Top Ten Book in Religion.
(As Craig E. Harline) Pamphlets, Printing, and Political Culture in the Early Dutch Republic, M. Nijhoff (The Hague, Netherlands), 1987.
(Editor; as Craig E. Harline) The Rhyme and Reason of Politics in Early Modern Europe: Collected Essays of Herbert H. Rowen, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Boston, MA), 1992.
Miracles at the Jesus Oak: Histories of the Supernatural in Reformation Europe, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2003.
Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2007.
Craig Harline is a professor of history who teaches courses on the Reformation, history of civilization, and history of film. He is also the author of many volumes, including A Bishop's Tale: Mathias Hovius among His Flock in Seventeenth-Century Flanders, written with Belgian Eddy Put. Thirteen years of research resulted in a biography of Archbishop Hovius (1542-1620) and commentary on life in the Diocese of Mechelen during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including a study of Martin Luther's impact and the Council of Trent. The narrative consists of sixteen interrelated stories about the clergy, town councils, and peasants, which provides a broad view of the times.
Harline and Put had access to the only surviving volume of the ten journals Hovius wrote in his lifetime and which covered his last years, from 1617 to 1620. Hovius was a scholar, canon, and lastly archbishop of Mechelen. He served before and after the Twelve Years Truce in 1609, and so faced difficult times during which his own life was threatened. The Spanish Netherlands were torn between Catholicism and Calvinism, making it a dangerous time for the clergy. The book begins with Hovius hiding in a wardrobe as protestant soldiers pillage the church. He was also put in the position of intervening in the actions of his rural pastors, who in some cases were extreme in their expectations of how much of their harvest farmers should tithe. He also had to sort out the aftermath of drinking, gambling, and general havoc wreaked by some of the clergy. Hovius wrote of early developments in Catholicism, his relationship with Rome, his advocacy for education of priests, fundraising, interactions with men and women in the religious orders, the validation of relics, and harmful books and heresy. He patiently heard the problems of people of all classes and situations, oversaw hundreds of parishes, was chaplain to soldiers and a public health reformer, and yet, according to the authors, Hovius was ‘not beloved, but rather respected,’ and he was not considered a candidate for sainthood.
Church History reviewer William V. Hudon wrote: ‘The authors presented all of these vignettes with details and turns of phrase that are simply a delight to read…. Their work does more than bring to mind classic narrative tales on early modern history. It is considerably better…. They have taken a fascinating individual, placed his career and character in context, and have shown decisively that such uniformity just was not so.’ Christian Century contributor Debra Bendis wrote that the stories ‘entertain as they educate, offering a close-up of day-to-day Catholicism, village life and the bawdy humor generated by human frailty and feistiness. A Bishop's Tale is an historical feast."
His research in the archives of the Archdiocese of Mechelen in Brussels, Belgium, led Harline to the letters from a convent in which Sister Margaret Smulders claimed she was being sexually harassed by the father confessor. The Burdens of Sister Margaret: Inside a Seventeenth-Century Convent is the story of a member of the Nuns of the Grey Sisters of Leuven (Louvain) who was twice exiled for being difficult and sarcastic and for talking with the male workers. The claim was also made that Margaret was possessed by demons. The book relates that approximately ten percent of the population lived in convents or monasteries—although not all chose holy orders but rather chose to live there in simplicity—and that ninety percent of people burned as witches were women. Christianity Today contributor Kevin A. Miller wrote that ‘Harline's graceful writing allows the women and men in this religious community to breathe, gossip, pray with tears, eat noon meals of soup and an egg. We begin to sense what it was like to be a nun when the profession was central to every town."
Miracles at the Jesus Oak: Histories of the Supernatural in Reformation Europe consists of five individual accounts of events that occurred in seventeenth-century Holland, the details of which Harline discovered in a Belgian monastery. Dimpna Gillis was cured of her blindness after visiting the Jesus Oak. The prayers of Maria Caroens were rewarded when her mother's milk returned, saving her fourteenth child from starvation. One story tells of priests who frequent brothels. Booklist reviewer Donna Chavez wrote that the stories ‘read almost like fiction, though … Harline's exhaustive research makes them factually precise."
Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl is Harline's study of the observance of Sunday over time, in which he also notes restrictions on Sunday activities, both church and state mandated. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: ‘Harline's engaging and wonderfully written popular history deserves a wide readership."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 2001, Philip Benedict, review of A Bishop's Tale: Mathias Hovius among His Flock in Seventeenth-Century Flanders, p. 1476.
Biography, spring, 2002, Edward Peters, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 382.
Booklist, August, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of The Burdens of Sister Margaret: Inside a Seventeenth-Century Convent, p. 1996; March 1, 2003, Donna Chavez, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak: Histories of the Supernatural in Reformation Europe, p. 1128; March 1, 2007, June Sawyers, review of Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl, p. 43.
Catholic Historical Review, April, 2001, R. Hsia, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 328.
Choice, December, 2003, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak, p. 726; December, 2003, D.P. King, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak, p. 726.
Christian Century, November 22, 2000, Debra Bendis, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 1236; September 6, 2003, Ken Sawyer, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak, p. 40; August 7, 2007, James C. Howell, review of Sunday, p. 34.
Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, Kevin A. Miller, review of The Burdens of Sister Margaret, p. 42.
Church History, March, 2003, William V. Hudon, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 200.
First Things, March, 2001, Charlotte Allen, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 56.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April, 2002, Robert Bireley, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 393.
Journal of Modern History, December, 2002, Benjamin J. Kaplan, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 881.
Library Journal, October 15, 2000, John Leonard Berg, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 76; January, 2003, L. Kriz, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak, p. 118; April 15, 2007, Elizabeth Morris, review of Sunday, p. 102.
Publishers Weekly, July 11, 1994, review of The Burdens of Sister Margaret, p. 36; March 3, 2003, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak, p. 72; February 12, 2007, review of Sunday, p. 83.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1996, Larissa Taylor, review of The Burdens of Sister Margaret, p. 896; autumn, 2001, Hilmar M. Pabel, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 970.
Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 2001, D. Jonathan Grieser, review of A Bishop's Tale; spring, 2002, Darcy Donahue, review of The Burdens of Sister Margaret; spring, 2005, Karin Maag, review of Miracles at the Jesus Oak.
Times Literary Supplement, September 7, 2001, Alastair Hamilton, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 31.
U.S. Catholic, July, 2007, Michael Farrell, review of Sunday, p. 49.
Washington Monthly, May, 2007, Jamie Malanowski, review of Sunday, p. 70.
Wilson Quarterly, autumn, 2000, Laura Ackerman Smoller, review of A Bishop's Tale, p. 136; spring, 2007, Stephen Miller, review of Sunday, p. 96.