Re-read January 18, 2010. I don't like this book any more on re-read, which is a shame, as my supervisor loves it. In an overly subtle argument (which I will admit to not having got the first time, and probably only understand now because NT explained it to me), Bossy argues that in the fifteenth century, "Christianity" encompassed a society of believers who were united through belief and the practice of ritual; but that by the end of the seventeenth century, "Christianity" was, instead, a collection of societies that were delineated less by practice and more by the written, printed and spoken word, and were united less through ritual than through a collected awareness of the ideas (expressed through words) that marked their unique corner of Christian society. A compelling argument, but utterly exhausting to read. Expects a high degree of familiarity with Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anabaptist (and other radical reform groups) theologies -- which I have, but oh my god so exhausting to puzzle through, as Bossy seems to think (for example) that the ridiculousness of a Ranter catechism (p. 114) is self-evident.