Mack P. Holt

Mack P. Holt

Mack P. Holt

Emeritus Faculty

Early modern Europe, especially France, the Reformation, the history of wine, the history of the book

Mack P. Holt is Professor of History Emeritus and received his Ph.D in History from Emory University in 1982. Before coming to George Mason in 1989 he taught at Harvard and Vanderbilt universities. From 1998 to 2002 he was also Director of the Honors Program in General Education, and he served as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies from 2004 to 2010.

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the political, religious, social, and cultural history of early modern Europe, ca. 1400-1800. His research focuses on France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In 1998-1999 he was Co-President of the Society for French Historical Studies, and in 2009-2011 he was President of the Society for Reformation Research. He was also a Visiting Professor of History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in Spring 2005 and in Spring 2014, and a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, University of Cambridge in Fall 2018. He has held fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is also co-editor of “Changing Perspectives in Early Modern Europe,” a monograph series published by the University of Rochester Press.

Current Research

Reading the Bible in Reformation France (monograph in progress), a study of how French lay Protestants and Catholics read their Bibles in the sixteenth century, and how we can use their textual markings, underlinings, marginalia, etc. to understand what they made of the texts they read.

Selected Publications

The Duke of Anjou and the Politique Struggle During the Wars of Religion (Cambridge University Press, 1986; paperback ed. 2002). Winner of the National Huguenot Society Book Prize, 1987.

The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629 (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 2nd edition 2005).

The Politics of Wine in Early Modern France: Religion and Popular Culture in Burgundy, 1477-1630 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Winner of the David H. Pinkney Prize awarded by the Society for French Historical Studies, 2019. For a podcast about this book, see: 

French translation: Des vignerons dans la ville: Vin, religion et culture politique à Dijon (1477-1630), trans Michèle Lurdos (Dijon: Éditions Universitaires de Dijon, 2022). 

(As editor) Society and Institutions in Early Modern France (University of Georgia Press, 1991).

(As editor) Renaissance and Reformation France, 1500-1650, vol. 4 of The Shorter Oxford History of France (Oxford University Press, 2002).

(As editor) Alcohol: A Social and Cultural History (Berg Publishers, 2006).

(As editor) Adaptations of Calvinism in Reformation Europe (Ashgate Publishers, 2007).

Grants and Fellowships

Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University, 1986-87

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1994-95

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1996-97

Courses Taught

HIST 100: Western Civilization

HIST 300: Introduction to Historical Methods

HIST 305: The Renaissance

HIST 306: The Reformation

HIST 387: Global History of Christianity

HIST 388: Shakespeare's Histories

HIST 388: History of the Book, 1400-1800

HIST 499: Senior Seminar in History: Witch Hunting in Old and New England

HIST 610: The Study and Writing of History

HIST 635: The History of the Book, 1400-1800

HIST 642: Humanism in the Renaissance

HIST 643: Reformation and Society

HIST 644: Society and Culture in Early Modern Europe


Recent Presentations

"Des vignerons dans la ville: Vin, religion et culture politique à Dijon, 1477-1630," at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, 22 November 2022.
"Readers and their Bibles in Sixteenth-Century France," at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium in March 2020
"Reading the Bible during the Reformation," at the Library of Congress, Washington DC, for the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies, 1 February 2019.

"The Bible as an Oral Text in the Reformation," at the University of Warwick, 30 November 2018.

"The Politics of Wine in Early Modern France," at the University of Cambridge, 8 November 2018.

"The Politics of Wine in Early Modern France," at the University of London, Institute of Historical Research, 5 November 2018.

"Reading the Bible in Reformation France," at the University of Oxford, 31 October 2018.

"Reading the Bible in Reformation France," at the University of Cambridge, 19 October 2018.

"Reading the Bible in Reformation France," at St. Andrews University, 27 September 2018.

"The Role of International Printing Presses in the French Wars of Religion," at the University of York, UK, in July 2018.

"La Bible comme livre pendant la Réforme en France," at the Université de Paris IV-La Sorbonne in October 2017.

"From Spoken Word to Written Word? Evidence from French and English Vernacular Bibles," at the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Bruges, Belgium in August 2016.

"How the Huguenots Read Their Bibles," at the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference in Vancouver, Canada in October 2015

"Les Bibles vernaculaires françaises au XVIe siècle," a series of three seminars presented at the Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, May 2014

"Les réseaux d'authorité et du pouvoir dans l'Hôtel de Ville et dans le Parlement à Dijon entre 1580 et 1630," presented at the Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles Lettres de Dijon, France in May 2011

"Les lecteurs des Bibles vernaculaires dans la France de la Réforme" presented at the Institut d'Histoire de la Réforme, University of Geneva, June 2011

“La religion vécue en Bourgogne à la veille des guerres de religion” presented at Prato, Italy in July 2010

“On ‘The Rites of Violence’ in Sixteenth-Century France” presented at Stratford, England in June 2008 at a conference honoring Natalie Zemon Davis

Que sais-je? Religious Violence, Certainty, and Doubt in the French Wars of Religion” presented at Yale University in February 2008


In the Media

Filmed by The History Channel in June 2006 for special program of Man, Moment, Machine on Leonardo Da Vinci and the invention of the wheel-lock pistol and its impact on warfare in the sixteenth century first broadcast in Fall 2006.

Filmed by The Discovery Channel in February 2007 for special program on Nostradamus and the practice of astrology in the sixteenth century, titled Decoding Nostradamus, first broadcast on September 9, 2007.