Success of Luther because ... (24)



·         Lutheranism orginated in 16th century

·         without Lutheranism is hard to say how successful overall reformation would've been

·         many external factors aided the movement

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Absence of Charles V

  • Holy Roman Emperor could've easily prevented the spread of Lutheranism if that is what he wanted however did not occur
  • he wanted to preserve order and authority and knew all people standing fro one faith would achieve this but being a religious man it was surprising that he didnt oppose or fight Luther
  • was absent from Germany 1521-1529
    • sheer size of empire
    • pressure from advancing Ottoman Empire
    • constant hostility of France
    • suspicions of Spanish revolt
    • gave priority to defending his empire and need the support of the princes many of which who supported Luther to defend his empire
    • whilst he was away the new faith movement attracted several supporters which proved impossible to reverse
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Support of Princes

  • at first not all of the princes were politically motivated by supporting Luther however he was always on the side of the authorities and soon many became ready to accpet and support him
  • Luther wanted the reformation to be ruled by the princes which would increase their authority and the removal of the church would increase the power the princes had over the people and it became clear that the princes were looking for more power and this could be found through supporting Luther
  • the church owned 30% of Germany's land and the removal of monastic life would give this land to the princes
  • Frederick the Wise was able to protect Luther from opposition and the rivalry with his brother meant that frederick wanted to keep Luther in Electoral Saxony rather than being elsewhere
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Printing and spoken word

  • Luther was an excellent writer in short pamphlets and after the development of the printing press large numbers of his works such as the translation of the bible and the catechisms were printed and quickly distributed throughout Europe
  • pamphlets playing a big part in the first wave of the evangelical enthusaism
  • non-theological homely style appealed to the ordinary reader
  • preaching was extremely important as it built a bridge between towns and country as well as spreadng ideas through word of mouth and allowed the illiterate to be part of the reformation
  • the popularity of the sermons meant that the words would often be hear by a large audience
    • didnt always have a positive effect as may be misinterpreted and the authorities mainly supported the reformation to preserve order
  • sermons allowed people to get fired up for change and were critical as if people werent able to hear about the reform the idea may have never crossed their mind
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Luther himself

  • took his work very seriously
  • was widely accepted by the public due to more conservative approach to reform
  • wrote in a familiar language that the population could understand and the conversational style made them think he was an ordinary man and therefore made him likeable
  • dedicated leader as he was still writing books, pamphlets and preaching within a few days of his death
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  • without him the reformation may have failed
  • absece of Charles V mor einfluential than the others
  • political situation and the need for the princes cooperation was needed to keep order
  • absence of Charles V was not the sole reason for success but arguably was the most important
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