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Reformation

protestant reformation = chief religious movement for Christ since the early church. Official start =
October 1517 = Martin Luther 95 thesis on the doors of Wittenberg Church.1
Reformation is not bordered geographically = not just a Germanic phenomenon
Reformation not bordered periodically = did not end with Martin Luther (arguably did not start with
Luther)
Because of above = protestant reformation, not as a singular but as reformations.2
periodic approach = influence of pre, mid and post reformation ideologies and individuals.
Great Man Theory = looking at Martin Luther as sole cause of Reformation.3
- Martin Luther = personification of the greatest issues4 of the early modern period.
-
On contrary
Luther drew from Humanists Luther triggered
- Bernd Moeller states no humanism, no reformation.5
1) Luther owed to humanism was method = humanistic thinking = Ad-Fontes
- E.g. Luthers interest = three sacred languages of Latin, Greek and Hebrew = pursuit of
humanist ideal of the tri-lingual man = versed in sacred philology.6
- Fundamental theologies founded on basis of the Hebrew and Greek truths of the words of
God.7 = to unlearn as contrary to scripture.8 = sola fide, (justification by faith alone,) =
delegitimised medieval traditions of indulgences and purgatory.9
2) interconnectedness of humanism and reformation = intellectual milieu of the time.10 =
laid the egg for the reformation, = Luther then hatched.11
- Luthers importance = opportunistic approach to lay piety = not a passive recipient = chose to
use what he had learn to spearhead a many side reformation.
- humanist texts saw the soil well prepared for Luther to plant his seed of reform.12 = 1450s
allegations of fiscal corruption and papal glutton = growing scale in prints of fly sheets and
woodcuts
- disagreement between luther and Erasmus is only in how the other advanced the cause of
Christ and grace of God not the cause itself = goals are similar

1
Dr Jack Arnold, The Cause and Results of the Reformation, (IIIM Magazine, 1.2, 1999), p. 1
2
Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations, (Oxford, John Wiley & Sons, 2011), p. 3
3
Ibid, p. 16
4
Albert Hyma, Renaissance to Reformation, (Michigan, WM. B. Eerdmans, 1951), p. 251
5
Bernd Moeller, The German Humanists and the Beginnings of the Reformation, ed. And trans. H. Midelfort
and M. Edwards, Imperial Cities and the Reformation, (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1972), p.36
6
Franz Posset, Polyglot Humanism in Germany circa 1520 as Luther's Milieu and Matrix: The Evidence of the
"Rectorate Page" of Crotus Rubeanus, (Renaissance and Reformation, 27.1, 2003), p. 6
7
Ibid, p. 7
8
Martin Luther, Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences or The Ninety-Five Thesis,
(Wittenberg, October 1st 1517)
9
Paul Chung, Martin Luther and Buddhism: Aesthetics of Suffering, (Oregon, Wipf and Stock Publishers,
2008), p. 154
10
Franz Posset, Polyglot Humanism in Germany circa 1520 as Luther's Milieu and Matrix, p. 10
11
Albert Hyma, Renaissance to Reformation, p. 265
12
Albert Hyma, Renaissance to Reformation, p. 259
- popularisation of humanism = lay piety and magistracy interest in religion = national market
for his ideas.13
3) inspiration from late-medieval religious dissent = John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.
- Wycliffe = direct challenge to the Church in Rome = Pope was the antichrist.14 doctrine of
transubstantiation was inherently false.15
- Huss = Bohemian Hussite movement = sinful nature of Churchmen = avaricious nature of
indulgence selling.16 circulate vernacular texts but to also preach in the common tongue.17
- Luthers mind bore the imprints of a multitude of pre-reformation forces.18

Spread and expansion of the German reformation = Luther spearheaded a highly atomised movement
1) Franz Posset Labels the German Humanist Party.19
- 17 polyglot humanists = including Luther and other extremely important future Lutherans,
Crotus, Jonas and Philip Melanchthon.20
- Crotus = accredited for assembling the biggest public crowd Luther spoke to in Erfurt, April
1521.21 = first time a large amount of anti-papal humanists had collected.22
- audience members Johannes Bugenhagen = spread reformation to Northern Germany and
bordering nations = 1520 Christian of Schleswig Holstein = pushes religious reform =
Denmark embrace Lutheranism = wholly accepting the Augsburg Confession.23 = collective
spread of Lutheran doctrines by German humanists across Europe = long lasting impact.24
2) the time Luther spent in Wartburg = another significant figure = Frederik of Saxony.
- without Frederik of Saxony = Catholic Church would have dissolved the Lutheran
reformation = similar way to Jan Huss.25
- Saxony hid Luther from Cardinal Cajetan = continue his challenge within Saxony an area that
Frederik governed.
- 1519 Holy Roman Empire = fragmented federation = 500 semi-autonomous jurisdictions
under the theoretical suzerainty of an elected Emperor = spread of Luther was almost
impossible to be the work of one man.26
3) Philip Melanchthon who can be labelled the principle disciple of Luther.
- condemnation by Rome, = severe limitations on his travel.27
- duty of dissemination and speaking engagements = Melanchthon outside electoral Saxony.28

13
Peter Wallace, The Long European Reformation, p. 69
14
Corey Keating, John Wycliffes Motivation for Translating the Scriptures into his Vernacular Language,
(Phoenix, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2001), p. 3
15
Ibid, p. 6
16
Sascha O. Becker, Steven Pfaff and Jared Rubin, Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation,
(Warwick Economics Research Paper, 1105, 2016), p.8
17
Ibid
18
Albert Hyma, Renaissance to Reformation, p. 250
19
Franz Posset, Polyglot Humanism in Germany circa 1520 as Luther's Milieu and Matrix, p. 4
20
Ibid
21
Ibid, p. 13
22
Ibid
23
Ibid
24
Ibid, p. 97
25
Ibid, p. 76
26
Ibid, p. 85
27
Alistair McGrath, Reformation Thought, (Oxford, Blackwell, 1999), p. 93
28
Ibid
- diffusion of Lutheran Reformation = reflects Melanchthon. E.g. theory of adiaphora or
indifference = pivotal to Luthers legacy surviving the unsympathetic situation that occurred
after his death in 1546.29
- Melanchthons writing in Dissertation on Contracts in 1545 was principle in the protestant
attack on usury as an evil.30
- primary mover in diverging the protestant reformation into economic and legal = reformation
owes much to Melanchthon, not just to Martin Luther.

More extreme and global Calvinist reformation, = reformations to follow Luther = not just the work
of his legacy.
- both stood out as great leaders = supports that we can certainly not point to any single
individual,
- comparing the 95 Theses with Calvins Institutes of Christian Religion
- fundamental similarities, but more importantly the subtle differences = Calvins reformation
more extreme.31
- Similarity = for Luther, as for Calvin, God is the great sovereign power and for Calvin, as for
Luther, justification by faith is the heart of the Christian faith.32
1) fundamental protestant reform = predestination = varied = Calvin far more extreme = double
or absolute predestination = God not only planned the fall of the first man but decreed the
fall itself.33 = very nature of God was contrasting = Calvins image of God = power, justice
and dominion.34
2) Calvin and Luther = authority of Scripture not Church and Pope = agreeing to the necessity of
vernacular text.35 Calvin was stricter than Luther = Luthers dictates that all teaching not
found to contradict scripture may be true, Calvin = all teaching not found in the Scripture
is false.36 = Lutherans Scripture = partial revelation of truth Calvinists = Scriptures were
an unabridged compendium of all truth.37
3) Global influence Calvin spread further to Scotland and the Netherlands
4) Matter of Extremes
- movements these reformers triggered = Martin Luther = push for reform =favour of changing
the very structure of the catholic church in terms of method and hierarchy = but did not split
completely from the Church. Calvin = fundamentally radical.38 = the dangers of idolatry =
encouraging Calvinists to outlaw catholic worship of Eucharist and to go as far as to take the
life of ungodly rulers such as the Pope or Mary Queen of Scots.39
- cuius regio eius religio, = secular ruler decided the faith, Calvin = theocracy = a godly
ruler was a necessity.40

29
Ibid, p. 94
30
Albert Hyma, Renaissance to Reformation, p. 367
31
Ibid
32
Ibid
33
Ibid, p.178
34
Ibid
35
Ibid, p.187
36
Ibid
37
Ibid
38
Giada Pizzoni, Peter Marshall, Panel Session (Society and Religion), (Coventry, Warwick University, 2017),
Lecture
39
Ibid
40
King, A Comparison and Evaluation of the Theology of Luther with That of Calvin,, p. 180
5) Calvins legacy = endorsed rebellion = rise of sub-Calvinist radical movements in different
reformative climates, unlike Luther who openly condemned the revolt in 1525.41

41
Giada Pizzoni, Peter Marshall, Panel Session (Society and Religion), (Coventry, Warwick University, 2017),
Lecture

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