Forgiveness for Sale: Indulgences in the Medieval Church

The selling of indulgences was first practiced in the late thirteenth century and was changed after the Protestant Reformation. Introduction An Indulgence, in Roman Catholic theology, is the full or partial remission of punishment for sins. The indulgence is granted by the Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution and involves certain actions[…]

Religion in Medieval Europe

Christianity did not immediately win the hearts and minds of the people of Europe. Introduction Religion in the Middle Ages, though dominated by the Catholic Church, was far more varied than only orthodox Christianity. In the Early Middle Ages (c. 476-1000 CE), long-established pagan beliefs and practices entwined with those of the new religion so[…]

The English Reformation: Tradition and Change

Introduction The English Reformation was part of a European-wide phenomenon to reform the church which began in 1517 when legend has it that the German monk and theologian Martin Luther nailed 95 theses (propositions for discussion) to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg to be debated publicly. Chief among these was the church[…]

Religious Change and Print Culture in the Reformation

The period of the Reformation (roughly 1500-1700) witnessed an unprecedented wave of changes in religion, thought, society, and politics throughout the world. Introduction When Martin Luther circulated ninety-five theses criticizing various practices of the Roman church in October of 1517, his only intention was to start a productive debate with his academic colleagues. Much to[…]

The Early Medieval Papacy and Spread of Christianity Beyond the Roman Empire

As the political boundaries of the Roman Empire diminished and collapsed in the West, Christianity spread beyond the old borders of the Empire and into lands that had never been under Rome. Introduction Christianity in the Middle Ages covers the history of Christianity from the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (c. 476) until the Fall[…]

Five of the Most Violent Moments of the Reformation

During the seismic religious changes of the 16th and 17th centuries, atrocities were committed and martyrs were made. It has been 500 years since what is seen as the “start” of the Reformation, when the German monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, challenging practices in the[…]

The ‘Papal Aggression’ Controversy, 1850-52

An overview of the political, religious, and cultural response to the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. By Dr. Miriam Elizabeth BursteinProfessor of EnglishCollege of BrockportState University of New York Abstract This article provides an overview of the political, religious, and cultural response to the restoration of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.[…]