INTRODUCTION TO THE REFORMATION
Note: the overlaps in topics!
o Late Medieval religion --> Reformation
o Humanism --> Reformation
o "New Worlds" and Reformation happen at the same time!
Cortes (1485-1547) and Luther (1483-1546) - they are exact contemporaries! The Conquest of Mexico happens as Luther starts getting into
Part One: The Results of the Reformation...
o "A complex movement of such magnitude that no area of Europe or field of thought or activity was unaffected by it"
o Religious ideas but massive political and social ramifications as well
o The Reformation touches essentially everyone in contrast with the Renaissance and the New World
o In 1500, Christianity is very complex and very old
1200 years since Constantine
700 years since Charlemagne
400 years since the Crusades began
300 years since Francis of Assisi
All of these layers are jostling together!
o One result of the Reformation was the purging of this variety in favour of uniformity, but different people want different
o Split of western Christendom into three major "Confessions" with different institutions, membership and belief
Note: These are just the three MAIN ones, there are several more!
o "Confessional Pluralism" in Europe, but no confessional toleration
o "Theological Road-rage"!
Some examples of propaganda (see handout)
No real attempt to heal splits until ecumenical movements of the 20 C.
o The result of the Reformation = the fracturing of Europe
o So... How did this happen??
Part Two: Picking up the Threads...
o Late Medieval heresies
Remember! Wycliff and Huss!
Ideas quickly become politicized th
All this plays out on a bigger stage in 16 century Europe!
o Late Medieval papacy
Remember! Babylonian Captivity and The Great Schism!
Papacy suthives this but there is no self-reform
Late 15 C. Popes act more like Italian Renaissance Princes
Meanwhile, Kings and rulers elsewhere are starting to take more control of churches and are eyeing their money
Remember! Concern with philology and textual criticism
Christianity is a religion based on texts, humanists will work on them
Example: Lorenzo Valla and the "Donation of Constantine"
o Thought to be a document drawn up by Constantine in which he gives dominion to the Pope
o Valla subjects it to careful philological analysis th
o He finds out that it is a FAKE! He demonstrates that it could not have been written in the 4 C.
o He says that it is forged in a later period (think of the Implications!)
Example: Erasmus and the "Novum Testamentum"
o Valla = Italian / Erasmus = Dutch ...Humanist Ideas have spread North!
o Erasmus (1469-1536) is known as the "Prince of the Humanists"
o His great work was a new edition and translation of the Greek New Testament
o He uses knowledge of Greek and careful philological analysis
o Text changes! New translation challenges points of the late Medieval Christian practice
o John the Baptist, before Jesus' ministry tells the people "METANOEITE!" - This is a Greek work that
translated into the Latin term "POENTIENTIAM AGITE", which in turn translated into the English "DO
o "Penance": the saying of prayers, going on pilgrimage, giving alms, etc was a means to account for your sins
and make you right with God
o A side-alley of Penance is "Indulgences": the idea is that the Pope can release you from Penance - buy an
indulgence and the Pope will switch some of the merit earned by the Saints to you (idea started way back in
the Crusades) o "Treasure House of Merit" - "if you buy some indulgence then some of this merit will be yours and you can
o The idea that John the Baptist said "DO PENANCE" - there are very few biblical supports for this!
o Erasmus says that the translation is actually "REPENT!" (Latin: "RESIPISCITE")
o Reformers are going to insist that only what is in the Bible is valid and purge everything else!
LUTHER AND THE BEGINNINGS OF THE REFORMATION...
"Almost all other Reformations grew out of Luther's and shared essential contents with it"
"Until 1524, the Reformation largely bore Luther's imprint" (- Martin Brecht)
In the 16 C. we finally have the density of primary sources needed to trace events in detail
o There are Luther's own writings, but also a lot was written about him
o We can't answer all questions, but we can find out many things like...
Luther's relationship with his father
Luther's obsession with the Devil and Scatology
o What if we could trace the beginnings of the Crusades in similar detail?
Luther's Home: Saxony...
o Germany was a patchwork of territories controlled by Princes, Knights, Archbishops, "Free-cities" (no one rules them), and the
Emperor oversees all
o Saxony is one of the more powerful Princedoms ruled by the "Elector of Saxony", so called because he is just one of seven men who
choose the Emperor
o Luther's support from the Elector will save his life...where this happens makes a big difference!
Luther's father and the Law...
o His father is a miner and prosperous farmer
o He has high hopes for his son and sends him to Law School in Erfurt
o In 1505, Luther changes his course and his father is furious for years!
Luther the Monk...
o "the most devout monk in Germany"
o At an Augustinian house, a brand of monasticism that stresses pastoral care
o Endless fasting, etc worries his fellow monks
o he reads Augustine, who tells him that everyone is going to HELL! Nothing can be done about it! Grace is a free gift for people that
Luther the Lecturer...
o In 1511, Luther is sent to the University of Wittenberg
o It had just been founded by Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony
o Augustinian monks are to staff the University
o Luther gets his PhD in Theology
o He lectures on the set texts
o In 1515, the assignment is Paul's Letter to the Romans
Luther the Worried Priest...
o Luther has parishioners as well as students to worry about
o Something happens in 1517 that gets him VERY worried!
o An Archbishop in trouble, a Pope needs money, and a deal is struck
Archbishop Albrecht borrowed money from Jacob Frugger and could not pay it back
He tried to borrow from the Pope, but the Pope doesn't have money because he's building the Basilica.
So, the Pope sells indulgences and gets a man named Tetzel to sell them for him - the Pope get's half the profit and Albrecht
gets the other half.
Tetzel had a jingle! "As soon as your coin in my coffer rings, a soul up from purgatory springs!"
This was an abuse of power! Luther is concerned!
o Luther writes his 95 Theses, debating several points...
o We don't know about "the door" (that Luther supposedly nailed his Theses to...) but they were printed and circulated and Luther
forwarded them to the Archbishop...who just so happens to be ALBRECHT! Who then sends them to the POPE! Both of them
Luther in Hot Water...
o Luther is seen as defying papal authority
o Dominicans (who never much liked the Augustinians) write their own Theses attacking Luther's position
o And a debate begins: Luther has a public debate with J. Eck, the Popes man in Leipzig (1519)
o In 1520, Luther receives a Papal Bull of excommunication, which Luther burns!
Luther goes for Broke...
o Luther writes works outlining his ideas
o He argues salvation by faith alone and that the supreme authority is the Bible
o He rejects and ar