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HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Schmalkaldic League, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin

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Kenneth Bartlett

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HIS 109
Oct. 18th, 2010
The Reformation
Coming of a critique of the Church
Desire to return to the apostolic Church stronger in the North
Began to focus in on the idea of a simpler form of Christianity
Thomas More and Erasmus attempt to restore something like the apostolic
simplicity of Christianity
Weakened a tottering structure of the Church
Men like Erasmus weakened the institutional Roman Church
Weakened by not only events, but by the fact that it wasnt meeting the spiritual
needs of urban townsmen
Wanted new forms of comfort, things to get through the night, however Church
was not providing this
Erasmus prompted people to question their faith, setting the prelude to Martin
During the period of the Schism a large number of Christians did not know whom
to follow, decided to approach God more individually amounting to heretical sects
led by charismatic leaders
Idea that the individual could approach God directly becomes widespread
Germany & Martin Luther
Germany divided into principalities that were secular
This fragmentation meant that there was an opportunity to develop new religions
Luther became a monk after being struck by lightening (wanted to find a measure
of comfort, inner peace, and control)
Became a superb scriptural scholar
At Wittenberg that Luther brings about a great revolution (convinced of his own
sin he felt that he needed to find a measure of comfort)
Faith alone sufficient enough to acquire salvation (traditional practices of the
church were useless)
Revolution sparked when a monk came to Wittenberg to sell indulgences
(theological belief of the treasury of merit)
Purchasing indulgences (excess of goodness”) was an act of penance
Half of the profits went to monks, the other half to the Pope for the re-building of
St. Peters Basilica
Luther saw the selling of indulgences and was outraged, thus; he wrote his 95
theses in 1517

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After this happened, more and more people began to hear about this monk that
was challenging the selling of indulgences, and the Church being the only
institution to provide salvation
In 1520 Luther went too far in his address to German Christian nobles to
separate Germany from the Roman Church
Luther was excommunicated and summoned to the Diet of Worms to answer
charges that he was condemned as a heretic
Luther translated the Bible into German to make it more widely available, he and
his disciples worked out the religion of Lutheranism (institutionalized his
personal revolt)
Peasantry in Germany revolted against their landlords, calling upon Luther to
support them (wanted to elect their own pastors)
Luther did not agree with what they were doing
Luther desperately needed the support of German authority and magistrates in
order to spread his religious method
Chose the forces of princely rule and encouraged lords and princes to slaughter
the peasants that revolted
Luther saw himself as a reformer of religion bringing it back to its roots
Not a revolution that sought out to reconstruct society
All followers of Luther benefitted, acquiring the lands of the Church made them
Diets of Speyer & Augsburg
Protest decrees against the Reformation
Schmalkaldic League (1531) Protestants formed to revolt against Lutheranism
At the Diet of Augsburg, the religion of a territorys prince determined the
religion of his subjects
Lutheran revolt was in the interest of princes
Half of Germany became Protestant
Broke the unity of the Church
New religions evolved
Ulrich Zwingli (Switzerland)
Began attacking the Roman Church, things the Church did not based on
scriptural evidence
Wanted to simplify Christianity
Did not want clerical celibacy, Eucharist (nothing magical happenings, they are
simply memorials)
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