The Long Reformation: Lutheran (views of Henry J. Cohn)

  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 16-05-18 14:13
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  • The Long Reformation: Lutheran (views of Henry J. Cohn)
    • Germany - a special case?
      • Reformation took place more rapidly and with more popular support
        • Head start not down to charismatic Martin Luther
          • Rather, it was to do with favourable conditions
      • Favourable conditions - challenges faced by German church before reformation
        • widespread dissatisfaction with materialism which made it unable to fulfil spiritual longings of faithful
        • Incipient nationalism directed against foreigners
        • Threat to accepted ideas from Christian humanism
          • seen in writings of Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)
      • Other favourable circumstances in Empire to allow for Reformation
        • Political structure gave opportunities less common in ordinary monarchies for Reformers to receive local protection
        • Imperial estates - princes, free cities and nobles who stood between emperor and ordinary nobles, townsfolk and peasants - enjoyed partial autonomy which enabled them to introduce Reformation
          • However, Emperor Charles V (1519-58) had condemned Luther's ideas at Worms (1521)
        • Peasant uprisings and urban social conflicts
          • During 1400s and 1500s, more uprisings experienced than anywhere else
          • When disturbances multiplied in 1520s
            • Reformation fed off them to gain support
        • Cultural distinctiveness
          • Favoured  adoption of new ideas
        • Printing press
          • From 1518
          • provided pamphlets and broadsheets for disseminating Lutheran teachings
        • Sermons
          • Germany had an especially strong tradition of preaching in towns and by mendicant orders (Moeller 1972)
      • Hostile attitudes towards the church
        • religious activity grew
          • cults like Virgin Mary were reinforced by thousands of religious guilds created by lay people for care of poor and sick
        • Whilst ordinary Christians relieved their anxieties about personal salvation by material means encouraged by Church
          • e.g. paying for masses for the dead or buying indulgences
          • People disliked growing wealth of clergy at their expense
        • Anti-clericalism and antipapalism were rife
          • Papacy wrongly believed to be sucking large sums of money from Empire
          • More substance behind economic and religious complaints by laymen against German clergy, whose behaviour was in many instances far from spiritual
            • ecclesiastical monasteries owned about a third of cultivated land in countryside and even greater share of urban property
          • Landowning prelates were often local rulers
            • Rare combination in Europe
            • Would bear brunt of Luther's attack
    • Martin Luther - the message and its dissemination
      • Mixed social background helped Luther to gain wide appeal
        • By 1517, Monk of 12 years' standing
        • Renowned theologian and university professor at Wittenberg in Saxony
        • Son of farmer who became a miner
        • Mother from upper ranks of small town society
        • Luther married Katherine von Bora, renegade nun of lower nobility in 1525
      • Luther opposed idea of money being paid to Church would affect outcomes of people going to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory
      • Luther saw God as more merciful than judgemental
        • Fundamental disagreement with Church
      • Teachings were elaborated in Latin treatises for benefit of Luther's clerical supporters and to rebut his opponents and educated members of laity
      • Appeal to ordinary people (as argued by Hendrix)
        • Parallel programme to Christianise whole of Europe, to return Christians to true piety and right living which he contended the medieval church had obscured.
        • Popular pamphlets and published sermons in German, using both humanist arts of persuasion and earthy language, folk tales and proverbs
      • Ways of spreading message
        • Sermons
          • prime means of reaching 90% of population who were illiterate
        • aural and visual communication
          • hyms
          • Ballads
          • School plays
          • Informal discussions in taverns
          • Processions
          • Robert Scribner claims visual illustrations only acted as a first point of attraction but not principal medium for conveying doctrine
          • Other historians argued woodcuts too expensive and complex for illiterate, required ability to read captions
          • Printed materials essential for those who could read and convey ideas to others
    • Reformation politics
      • Until 1530, Charles V was distracted y wars with France and Ottomans
        • Didn't pay attention to Reformation in Germany
      • Charles V uncertain whether to pursue policy of repression or conciliation regarding Protestants
      • Armed Protestant League against the Emperor
        • 1530s
        • Many Protestant rulers no longer  accepted decisions of imperial court on such politico-religious issues as possession of Church lands
        • Imperial authority threatened
          • Charles V had to defeat League if title of Emperor was to have significance
        • Charles V did not rely solely on force to achieve settlement
        • Major aim of war was to compel Protestants to attend the Council of Trent
          • Unlike Pope, Charles imagined genuine discussions with Protestants
        • After defeating League, Charles unsuccessfully tried to compromise in interim
      • Political factors inclined Charles V towards peaceful solution between 1530 and 1545
        • No strong Catholic party among princes to support him
        • Bishops fear for their own privileges and would not undertake Church reforms considered necessary before imposing religious uniformity
      • According to Gotthard
        • The Peace of Augsburg (1555)
          • Political solution to religious problem
          • main principle of peace
            • Each ruler determine religion of his lands (regio, eius religio)
          • Did not grant Lutherans parity with Catholics, but grudging acceptance
          • Forbade conversion of any ecclesiastical principality to Protestantism
          • denied imperial cities right to introduce Reformation where it was not already established
          • Calvinism omitted due to having no foothold in any principality
          • These loopholes left room for later creation of rival politico-religious parties and eventually outbreak of Thirty Years War

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