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Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Theme (1): The Condition of the Church (1400-1517)
What circumstances in the 14th century had undermined the credibility of the Church? What types of clerical transgressions of moral standards occurred? What was clerical pluralism? Which clerics were most likely to be guilty of the practice? Preconditions:
How was the great wealth of the Church related to the widespread practice of highly placed persons holding high positions in both the Church and secular governments? What was the life style of most high church officials, including the Pope. Church Leadership
Pope Julius II
Erasmus: Julius Exclusis
What was "The Brethren of the Common Life" and how did its members try to live? (Erasmus received his early education from the Brethren of the Common Life. ) Brethren of the Common Life

Theme (2): Lutheranism

How and why did Luther find himself in the position as leader of the Protestant Reformation in spite of his own very conservative attitudes? Luther
What circumstances within the Church set the stage for Luther's challenge to the Church? What was an indulgence? Given Luther's beliefs, why were indulgences so offensive to him? What did he do in response to the sale of indulgences and what were his intentions? When questioned , how did Luther defend his position? How did this threaten the Church? How did the debate escalate? How did Luther survive? Confrontation: See "Luther"above
How did the term "protestant" originate? How did Luther answer the following questions: How is a person saved? Where does religious authority reside? What is the Church? What is the highest form of Christian life? What sacraments are validated by scripture? What were Luther's views as to sex and marriage? How did this fit in with his own life style? How did Luther's message appeal to women? What was the effect of the Reformation upon education? Protestantism: Scroll to "Protestantism - Advanced Information"
Doctrinal differences: Scroll to "Doctrine" (last section of site) Education: Site (1) 
What circumstances caused the peasants to revolt? What was Luther's attitude towards the revolt? In his view, how was scripture related to worldly justice and material gain? What was Luther's attitude towards secular authority? How has Lutheranism come to answer the question about church and state authority? Peasant revolt:
How does the written word and the printing press relate to the success of Martin Luther? How did the work of Luther affect the development of the German language? Printing Press

 Theme (3): The Political Impact of Lutheranism?
In the 16th century, was the practice of religion a public or private matter? Who determined how religion was to be observed? Why were most people threatened by the idea of different religious practices? How does Lutheranism become a political and economic as well as a religious revolution? What was the political climate in Luther's time?

Church and state: Scroll to "The Gallican Tradition"
Elector of Saxony

Political climate

Diet of Worms

What is the significance of the Peace of Augsburg of 1555?  What were the religious provisions of the agreement? Was freedom of religion included?

Augsburg Confession

Peace of Augsburg Click on "Resistance to Lutheranism" and "The Peace of Augsburg"


How was Lutheranism introduced in Scandinavia? with what result? Scandinavia: Scroll to "the northern kingdoms, Denmark, Norway and Sweden"

Theme (4): Calvinism and the Spread of Protestantism:
What was the educational background of John Calvin? Where did he establish his Church? What were the economic implications of Calvinism? Calvinism: John Calvin
Class, capitalism and religion: Scroll to "The Demographics of Dissent"
What was Calvin's view of the nature of God? What was predestination? What was its effect upon the faithful? What was the role of scripture in the Calvinist faith? predestination
What type of "offense" did Calvin find especially repugnant? What were the offense and fate of Michael Servetus, the Spanish humanist? Michael Servetus
To what areas of Europe and the world did Calvinism spread? What was the role of John Knox in the religious reform of Scotland? What circumstances in Scotland provided fertile ground for his leadership? What was the Scottish reform church called and where did it spread? John Knox

Theme (5): Anabaptism: Its primary beliefs and its Impact
What was the unique theological belief of the Anabaptists? What was their view of the relation between church and state? toward the religious beliefs of others? Why was this threatening to most other people? What was their view toward the centralization and authority of Churches? toward women serving in the ministry? toward sharing of material goods? toward serving in public offices or in the armed forces?  towards war? Anabaptism
How were Anabaptists treated by the major European religions and political authorities?

Reaction to Anabaptism

What is the legacy of Anabaptists? Legacy of Anabaptism

Theme (6): The English Reformation: Anglicanism
Who were the Lollards and how did they influence the Reformation in England? How did the English humanist William Tyndale have an influence? 


What political circumstances in England, in Germany, and in Rome caused the crisis between the Pope and the English king? Why and how did King Henry VIII carry out the break with Rome? against what resistance? What did Henry do with the monasteries in England? with what effect? How did the struggle affect the English governing bureacracy?

Tudor dynasty     
Six Wives of K.Henry VIII
Political consequences: scroll to "The English Reformation and Reaction"

Break with Rome

What did King Henry do in the attempt to produce a male heir to the throne? with what effect? See Six Wives above
What religious changes were made during the short reign of King Edward VI? during the reign of Queen Mary? See "Political Consequences" above
How did Queen Elizabeth inherit the throne? What policy did she follow in response to political and religious instability? What was her attitude toward non-believers in the Anglican Church? What was the "Elizabethan Settlement"? What was her primary concern?  Queen Elizabeth I
How was Protestantism introduced into Ireland? How did the suppression of the Catholic Church in Ireland affect the faith of the people? Protestant Reformation in Ireland:
Site(1): read 1st 4 Paragraphs 

Theme (7): The Catholic Counter-Reformation
What theological positions were taken at the Council of Trent? What reforms were agreed to? What were the principal failures of the Council? what was the long term result? Council of Trent
What was the method employed by Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, to combat Protestantism? What characteristics of the Jesuit Order were responsible for its achievements? Jesuits
What function did the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office serve? How successful were they in re-imposing Catholicism? How were secular governments involved in punishing heretics? The Inquisition

Theme (7): Witchcraft in 16th and 17th century Europe
Why did religious convictions and fanaticism encourage a belief in and a fear of witchcraft? How widespread was the belief in witches? What explanations do historians and anthropologists give for the increase in withchunts in 16th and 17th century Europe?  Superstition:
How were people determined to be witches? How were witches punished? What was the relationship between witchhunts and the actions of political authorities? What were the approximate numbers of people persecuted for witchcraft?


Primary sources

Theme (8): Literature, Art and Music in  16th and 17th century Europe
What school of thought describes the writings of Montaigne? What new literary genre did he develop? What was the main theme of his writings? Montaigne
What circumstances in 16th and 17th century England were the setting for the golden age of English literature? What makes the writings of Shakespeare so masterful? What was Shakespeare's influence upon the development of the English language? How are the writings of Edmund Spencer significant? What is important about the King James version of the Bible? Shakespeare: Life and works      pbs site

Edmund Spencer: See biography and online text
King James Bible

What influenced the development of the baroque style in art and music? Whose artistic works represent the mature baroque form? Who was the great baroque composer? Van Rubens
Johann Sebastian Bach

Some personal conclusions

European Map                       Maps of Europe AD1000:2000


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