THE Reformation
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01-Introduction-Refo.. -

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.

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