The roots of the religious reformations of the sixteenth century were several, including Christian humanism, where the focus was on the Bible and the writings of the church fathers. Among the humanists was Desiderius Erasmus (d.1536), who stressed inner piety and Christ as a guide for daily life rather than dogma and ritual. The Church was criticized for corruption, materialism, and for abuses such as pluralism and absenteeism. For many the quest for salvation was often merely mechanical: collecting relics, going on pilgrimages, purchasing indulgences to reduce time in purgatory. New religious orders answered the calls for reform, such as the Oratory of Divine Love which stressed personal spiritual development. To the medieval church, the sacraments administered by the clergy ensured salvation, but Martin Luther (d.1546) argued that faith alone was the answer, and that the Bible, not the Church, was the sole authority. In 1517 Luther went public in his criticisms. Outlawed after being condemned by pope and emperor, he translated the Bible into German.

Erasmus agreed with Luther’s ideas, but feared that they would destroy Christian unity. When peasants rose in rebellion, Luther condemned them: equality before God did not mean equality on earth, and pragmatically, Luther needed the support of the German princes against Emperor Charles V (r.1519-1556). In 1555, Charles and the princes agreed to the Peace of Augsburg, by which each prince would determine the religion of his subjects. Lutheranism became the state religion Scandinavia. In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli (d.1531) removed stained glass windows and eliminated music from worship, and despite his failure to secure an alliance with German reformers, Zwingli created a movement that spread among the Swiss cities and sparked civil war. When Pope Clement VII was unable to annul the marriage of England’s Henry VIII (d.1547), Parliament established a separate church with the monarch as its head. John Calvin (d.1564) agreed with Luther’s theology, but went further in emphasizing God’s sovereignty and the concept of predestination: some were predestined for heaven, others for hell. His leadership made Geneva, Switzerland, the locus of Protestantism.

For Protestants the family was the center of human society, but theological equality did not lead to equality in marriage: the wife’s role was to obey her husband and bear children. Education was encouraged because of the necessity to read God’s word. Catholic holy days and religious carnivals were abolished; some went further, closing theaters and abolishing dancing.

Within the Catholic Church, the response to Protestantism was shaped by both the desire for internal reform and the reaction against Protestantism criticisms. The most important Catholic religious order was the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola (d.1556), whose The Spiritual Exercises was a primer on how to find God. Pope Paul III (r.1534-1549) called the Council of Trent, which met from 1545 to 1563; its final report reaffirmed traditional Catholic doctrine.

It was a violent century. In France, prominent Protestants, or Huguenots, were massacred in Paris on Saint Bartholomew’s Day, 1572, and violence then spilled out into the countryside. Henry III, a Catholic, was assassinated by a monk in 1589, and the Huguenot head of the Bourbon family became Henry IV (d.1610). He converted to Catholicism, reconciling the majority, and he issued the Edict of Nantes, granting religious toleration to the Huguenots: both actions were taken for political reasons. Philip II’s authoritarian rule and persecution of Protestants led to rebellion in the Netherlands. It was crushed in the south, but not the north: the Dutch became independent in 1648.

In England, Elizabeth (d.1603) was a moderate Protestant, whose policies satisfied most, but not the radical Puritans who wanted to rid the Church of England of Catholic-like rituals nor her exiled Catholic cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, who plotted against her and was beheaded. English seamen attacked Spanish forces in the Americas, and Elizabeth supported the Dutch. In retaliation, Philip II sent a naval Armada against England in 1588. It ended in defeat for Spain.

  1. Explain the context in which the religious, political, and cultural developments of the 16th and 17th centuries took place.
    1. Religious pluralism challenged the concept of a unified Europe.
      1. The Protestant and Catholic reformations fundamentally changed theology, religious institutions, culture, and attitudes toward wealth and prosperity.
      2. Religious reform both increased state control of religious institutions and provided justifications for challenging state authority.
      3. Conflicts among religious groups overlapped with political and economic competition within and among states.
    2. European society and the experiences of everyday life were increasingly shaped by commercial and agricultural capitalism, notwithstanding the continued existence of medieval social and economic structures.
      1. Population shifts and growing commerce caused the expansion of cities, which often placed stress on their traditional political and social structures.
      2. The family remained the primary social and economic institution of early modern Europe and took several forms, including the nuclear family.
      3. Popular culture, leisure activities, and rituals re ecting the continued popularity of folk ideas reinforced and sometimes challenged communal ties and norms.
    3. The struggle for sovereignty within and among states resulted in varying degrees of political centralization.
      1. The new concept of the sovereign state and secular systems of law played a central role in the creation of new political institutions.
  2. Explain how and why religious belief and practices changed from 1450 to 1648.
    1. Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin criticized Catholic abuses and established new interpretations of Christian doctrine and practice. Responses to Luther and Calvin included religious radicals, including the Anabaptists, and other groups, such as German peasants.
    2. Some Protestant groups sanctioned the notion that wealth accumulation was a sign of God’s favor and a reward for hard work.
    3. Protestant reformers used the printing press to disseminate their ideas, which spurred religious reform and helped it to become widely established.
      • Illustrative Examples: Martin Luther, vernacular Bibles
    4. Some Protestants, including Calvin and the Anabaptists, refused to recognize the subordination of the church to the secular state.
    5. Religious conflicts became a basis for challenging the monarchs’ control of religious institutions.
      • Illustrative Examples: Huguenots, Puritans, nobles in Poland
  3. Explain how matters of religion influenced and were influenced by political factors from 1450 to 1648.
    1. Issues of religious reform exacerbated confiicts between the monarchy and the nobility, as in the French wars of religion.
    2. Habsburg rulers confronted an expanded Ottoman Empire while attempting unsuccessfully to restore Catholic unity across Europe.
    3. States exploited religious conflicts to promote political and economic interests.
    4. A few states, such as France with the Edict of Nantes, allowed religious pluralism in order to maintain domestic peace.
    5. The Peace of Westphalia (1648), which marked the e ective end of the medieval ideal of universal Christendom, accelerated the decline of the Holy Roman Empire by granting princes, bishops, and other local leaders control over religion.
  4. Explain the continuities and changes in the role of the Catholic Church from 1450 to 1648.
    1. The Catholic Reformation, exemplified by the Jesuit Order and the Council of Trent, revived the church but cemented division within Christianity.
      • Illustrative Examples: Sta. Teresa of Avila, Usulines, Roman Inquisition, Index of Prohibited Books
  5. Explain how economic and intellectual developments from 1450 to 1648 affected social norms and hierarchies.
    1. Established hierarchies of class, religion, and gender continued to define social status and perceptions in rural and urban settings.
    2. Rural and urban households worked as units, with men and women engaged in separate but complementary tasks.
    3. The Renaissance and Reformation raised debates about female education and women’s roles in the family, church, and society.
    4. Social dislocation, coupled with the shifting authority of religious institutions during the Reformation, left city governments with the task of regulating public morals.
    5. Leisure activities continued to be organized according to the religious calendar and the agricultural cycle, and remained communal in nature.
    6. Local and church authorities continued to enforce communal norms through rituals of public humiliation.
    7. Reflecting folk ideas and social and economic upheaval, accusations of witchcraft peaked between 1580 and 1650.
  6. Explain how matters of religion influenced and were influenced by political factors from 1450 to 1648.
    1. Issues of religious reform exacerbated conflicts between the monarchy and the nobility, as in the French wars of religion.
    2. Habsburg rulers confronted an expanded Ottoman Empire while attempting unsuccessfully to restore Catholic unity across Europe.
    3. States exploited religious conflicts to promote political and economic interests.
    4. A few states, such as France with the Edict of Nantes, allowed religious pluralism in order to maintain domestic peace.
    5. The Peace of Westphalia (1648), which marked the effective end of the medieval ideal of universal Christendom, accelerated the decline of the Holy Roman Empire by granting princes, bishops, and other local leaders control over religion.
  7. Explain how the religious, political, and cultural developments of the 16th and 17th centuries affected European society from 1450 to 1648.
    1. Religious pluralism challenged the concept of a unified Europe.
      1. The Protestant and Catholic reformations fundamentally changed theology, religious institutions, culture, and attitudes toward wealth and prosperity.
      2. Religious reform both increased state control of religious institutions and provided justifications for challenging state authority.
      3. Conflicts among religious groups overlapped with political and economic competition within and among states.
    2. European society and the experiences of everyday life were increasingly shaped by commercial and agricultural capitalism, notwithstanding the continued existence of medieval social and economic structures.
      1. Population shifts and growing commerce caused the expansion of cities, which often placed stress on their traditional political and social structures.
      2. The family remained the primary social and economic institution of early modern Europe and took several forms, including the nuclear family.
      3. Popular culture, leisure activities, and rituals reflecting the continued popularity of folk ideas reinforced and sometimes challenged communal ties and norms.
    3. The struggle for sovereignty within and among states resulted in varying degrees of political centralization.
      1. The new concept of the sovereign state and secular systems of law played a central role in the creation of new political institutions.
  8. Explain how the religious, political, and cultural developments of the 16th and 17th centuries affected European society from 1450 to 1648.
    1. Religious pluralism challenged the concept of a unified Europe.
      1. The Protestant and Catholic reformations fundamentally changed theology, religious institutions, culture, and attitudes toward wealth and prosperity.
      2. Religious reform both increased state control of religious institutions and provided justifications for challenging state authority.
      3. Conflicts among religious groups overlapped with political and economic competition within and among states.
    2. European society and the experiences of everyday life were increasingly shaped by commercial and agricultural capitalism, notwithstanding the continued existence of medieval social and economic structures.
      1. Population shifts and growing commerce caused the expansion of cities, which often placed stress on their traditional political and social structures.
      2. The family remained the primary social and economic institution of early modern Europe and took several forms, including the nuclear family.
      3. Popular culture, leisure activities, and rituals reflecting the continued popularity of folk ideas reinforced and sometimes challenged communal ties and norms.
    3. The struggle for sovereignty within and among states resulted in varying degrees of political centralization.
      1. The new concept of the sovereign state and secular systems of law played a central role in the creation

Reading 1: Pages 367-371

Prelude to the Reformation:
  Christian (Northern) Humanism
  Church and Religion on the Eve of Reformation

Reading 2: Pages 371-377

Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany:
  The Early Luther
  The Rise of Lutheranism

Reading 3: Pages 377-381

Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany:
  Organizing the Church
  Germany and the Reformation: Religion and Politics
The Spread of the Protestant Reformation:
  Lutheranism in Scandinavia
  The Zwinglian Reformation

Reading 4: Pages 381-387

The Spread of the Protestant Reformation:
  The Radical Reformation: the Anabaptists
  The Reformation in England
  John Calvin and Calvinism

Reading 5: Pages 387-389

The Social Impact of the Protestant Reformation:
  The Family
  Education in the Reformation
  Religious Practices and Popular Culture

Reading 6: Pages 389-393

The Catholic Reformation:
  Catholic Reformation / Counter-Reformation?
  The Society of Jesus
  A Revived Papacy
  The Council of Trent

Reading 7: Pages 393-397

Politics and the Wars of Religion:
  The French Wars of Religion
  Philip II and Militant Catholicism
  Revolt of the Netherlands

Reading 8: Pages 397-400

Politics and the Wars of Religion:
  The England of Elizabeth