Document Based Question Question: “Although the Reformation is often viewed as a religious movement, it also significantly affected the political and social spheres of Europe. Assess the validity of this statement”. Background: The new ideas of the Renaissance helped to spur the changing views of the Catholic church’s authority over Europe. Many Europeans were directly affected by the failing church order. In small, regional churches clergymen were gradually losing respect as a result of corruption and a lack of understanding of the Christian texts.
Church officials had responsibility over too many offices as a result of simony, which furthered the belief of their ineptitude. In 1517, the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel enraged Martin Luther who would later greatly influence the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Martin Luther became a key figure in the Reformation through the invention of the printing press in the late 13th century. Johannes Gutenburg’s invention allowed the distribution of Reformation papers and translated Bibles throughout Europe.
This not only affected the literacy of Europeans, but also exposed them to information, which allowed for the success of the Protestant Reformation Document 1 (Source: An Abomination of Peace (1525), Martin Luther criticizing German lords) We have no one on earth to thank for this mischievous rebellion, except you lords and princes, especially you blind bishops and mad priests and monks…. In your government you do nothing but flay and rob your subjects in order that you may lead a life of splendor and pride, until the poor common folk can bear it no longer. Document 2: Source: Martin Luther, 95 Theses (1517) 27.
It is mere human talk to preach that the soul flies out [of purgatory] immediately the money clinks in the collection-box. 28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the church is in the power of God alone. Document 3 Document 4 (Source: Concerning Christian Liberty (1520), Martin Luther concerning marriage) As Christ by His birthright has obtained these two dignities, so He imparts and communicates them to every believer in Him, under that law of matrimony of which we have spoken above, by which all that is the husband’s is also the wife’s.
Document 5 (Source: On The Jews and Their Lies (1543), Martin Luther’s antisemetic pamphlet) Jews, being foreigners, should possess nothing, and what they do possess should be ours. For they do not work, and we do not give them presents. Nonetheless, they keep our money and our goods and have become our masters in our own country and in their Dispersion. When a thief steals ten guldens, he is hanged; but when a Jew steals ten barrels of gold through his usury, he is prouder than the Lord himself!
He boasts of it and strengthens his faith and his hatred of us, and thinks: ‘See how the Lord does not abandon His people in the Dispersion. We do not work, we are idle, and we pass the time pleasantly; the cursed goyim must work for us, and we have their money: thus we are their lords and they our servants! ’ To this day we still do not know what devil brought them into our country; surely we did not go to seek them out in Jerusalem! No one wants them.
The countryside and the roads are open to them; they may return to their country when they wish; we shall gladly give them presents to get rid of them, for they are a heavy burden on us, a scourge, a pestilence and misfortune for our country. This is proved by the fact they they have often been expelled by force: from France (which they call Tsarpath), where they had a downy nest; recently from Spain, (which they call Sepharad), their chosen roost; and even this year from Bohemia, where, in Prague, they had another cherished nest; finally, in my own lifetime, from Ratisbon [Regensburg], Madgeburg, and from many other places.
Document 6 (Source: Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants (1525), Martin Luther) They are starting a rebellion, and violently robbing and plundering monasteries and castles which are not theirs, by which they have a second time deserved death in body and soul, if only as highwaymen and murderers…. For rebellion is not simple murder, but is like a great fire, which attacks and lays waste a whole land…. Therefore, let every-one who can, smite, slay and stain, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more pod’ venous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel….
First, I will not oppose a ruler who, even though he does not tolerate the Gospel, will smite and punish these peasants without offering to submit the case to judgment. For he is within his rights, since the peasants are not contending any longer for the Gospel, but have become faithless, perjured, disobedient, rebellious murderers, robbers and blasphemers, whom even heathen rulers have the right and power to punish; nay, it is their duty to punish them, for it is just for this purpose that they bear the sword, and are “the ministers of God upon him that doeth evil.
Document 7: (Source: Martin Luther’s reply when summoned to appear before the Emperor at the Diet of Worms to answer for writing his 95 Theses. ) “I cannot submit my faith either to the Pope or to the Councils, because it is clear as day they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture… I cannot and will not retract… Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God, Amen. ” Document 8: (Source: Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, part of Counter Reformation) Fifteenth Rule.
We ought not, by way of custom, to speak much of predestination; but if in some way and at some times one speaks, let him so speak that the common people may not come into any error, as sometimes happens, saying; Whether I have to by saved or condemned is already determined, and no other thing can now be, through my doing well or ill; and with this, growing lazy, they become negligent in the works which led to the salvation and spiritual profit of their souls.