Introduction – 300 years of Reform CH2002 – Reformation Church History 1. Myths of “the” Reformation 2. Historiography 2.1 Protestant historians Reformation = the rise and triumph of Protestantism the abolishment and replacement of a thoroughly corrupt, even demonic, Catholic church 2.2 Catholic historians Reform = any improvement that does not challenge the Church’s authority structure Protestants were not reformers but rebels and heretics The crucial reforms of the 16 th century were implemented at the Council of Trent. Dieter Mitternacht 2.3 Counter reformation Negative term first used by the protestant historian L. von Ranke, around 1850, to define Catholicism’s attempts at reform in a Hegelian dialectical way as an opposing movement, engaged in mortal conflict with the Protestants 2.4 Catholic Reformation Positive term used by Catholic church historians, since 1960s (Vatican II), to emphasize the continuity between medieval and Early modern Catholicism 2.5 Reformations (plural) Most common today, the term is used in the plural, indicating efforts of reform in catholic as well as protestant societies in Europe during the 300 year period from 1400 to 1700 CE.
Introduction – 300 years of Reform CH2002 – Reformation Church History 1. Myths of “the” Reformation 2. Historiography 3. Reforms before the Reformation 3.1 Circumstances: Abuses and failings • Papacy – epitome of corruption; popular Latin pun played on Roma as an acronym for the proverb Radix omnium malorum avaritia: “avarice (greed) is the root of all evil.” • Bishops – absenteeism; pluralism (holding several offices); nepotism; simony (selling church offices) Dieter Mitternacht • Secular clergy – indistinguishable life style; cf. John Colet (English humanist 1466–1519): They give themselves to feasting and banqueting; spend themselves in vain babbling, take part in sports and plays, devote themselves to hunting and hawking; are drowned in the delights of this world; patronize those who cater for their pleasure … mixed up and confused with the laity, they lead, under a priestly exterior, the mere life of a layman. • Regular Clergy (monastics) – somewhat more disciplined, but also known for corruption and scandals 3.2 Circumstances: General awareness and Printing Press • in the 15 th century the abuses and failings of the Church became more noticeable, more openly discussed, and more deeply resented by a wider spectrum of people.