Medieval Factors That Set the Stage for the Renaissance

Exploring some changes in European life that led to the Renaissance. Introduction Much of the power in Europe from the 1300s to the 1600s lay in three major areas: the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, and the Holy Roman Empire. During these years, Italy was not the unified country it is today. Instead, it[…]

The Beginning of the Reformation in the 16th Century

This movement led to the start of many new Christian churches that broke away from the Catholic Church. Introduction The Reformation began in the early 1500s and lasted into the 1600s. Until then, all Christians in western Europe were Catholics. But even before the Reformation, the Church’s religious and moral authority was starting to weaken.[…]

The Spread and Impact of the Reformation in 16th-Century Europe

The many divisions among Christians led to a series of wars and persecutions. Introduction As Protestantism spread, it branched out in several directions. By the start of the 1600s, there were already many different Christian churches in Europe. Each Protestant denomination had its own beliefs and practices. But all Protestants had much in common. They[…]

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[…]

The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Democratization of Magic in Post-Reformation England

How monks, friars and monastic sites became associated with magic in popular tradition, resulting in a lasting stereotype of medieval monks and friars as the masters of occult knowledge. Abstract The dissolution of the monasteries in England (1536–1540) forced hundreds of former inmates of religious houses to seek livelihoods outside the cloister to supplement meagre[…]

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[…]

Luther’s Musical Legacy is the Reformation’s Unsung Achievement

In the great reformer’s eyes, if you didn’t love a rousing tune you deserved only “the music of the pigs”. Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther triggered what would become the Protestant Reformation with a document protesting corruption in the Catholic Church. At its heart, his Reformation was a movement about the nature of sin[…]

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 Reformation and the Power of the Printed Word

Did you know that a man named “John Gooseflesh” changed the world? Did you know that a man named “John Gooseflesh” changed the world?Johann Gensfleisch, which in English is John Gooseflesh, was born in the city of Mainz, Germany, around 1397 CE. However, by the time Johann started school, he went by the name Gutenberg[…]