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Importance of the Reformation in Europe - Research Paper Example

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Table of Content Synopsis Thesis Introduction Cultural and Historical Context and Background of the Reformation Martin Luther’s Spiritual Revolution Spiritual Foundations of the New Morality: Labor as a Worldly Asceticism Freedom and Reason in the Protestant Culture The Reformation and its Political and Social Consequences Conclusion Works Cited Selected Bibliography Synopsis Western historiography has accumulated a broad scope of literature on the Reformation…
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Importance of the Reformation in Europe
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Download file to see previous pages This paper analyses the importance of the Reformation in the context of its theological foundations, historical background and influence on the subsequent development of mankind. The first chapter deals with cultural and historical context and background of the Reformation, since it allows better understanding of the nature of changes which took place during and after the Reformation. The second chapter gives a brief characteristic of the essence of religious reform. Chapters three and four analyze most important changes in the concepts of morality, freedom and reason. Chapter five describes political and social meaning of the Reformation and its influence of the further historical development. Conclusion summarizes main arguments given in the paper. Selected bibliography offers a wide range of books and periodicals on the topic of the paper. Thesis The Reformation is usually considered as a widespread anti-Catholic movement for the renewal of Christianity in Europe in the 16th century, the founders and leaders of which were Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Jean Calvin (1509-1564). But the Reformation was not simply a religious renewal; it was a profound transformation of the Christian culture. The result of this transformation was not only a new version of Christianity – Protestantism, but also a new type of man with a new attitude to life and himself. It was this type of man that appeared to be the driving force of the rapid development of western civilization. Introduction The Reformation changed the conceptual world of Christianity and laid the foundations of a new type of Christian culture. In this updated culture, as Max Weber assumed in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, a supramundane Christian spirituality acted as a semantic foundation of the new work ethic and became an inspirational force of rational and practical transformation of the world. The Reformation was a spiritual reply to the challenge for the human spirit created by socio-economic and cultural situation of the 16th century. Therefore, it would be rational first to describe the context in which the roots of a new culture got implanted. Cultural and Historical Context and Background of the Reformation Catholic culture of Western European Middle Ages was a sort of compromise between the sinful conditions of the “world” and supramundane maximalism of the Spirit. The life of a layman was full of daily cares of the world, and did not have any relation with the salvation of soul. However, it was believed that the Church—due to religious merit of its saints—accumulated more divine grace than it was necessary for the salvation of recognized righteous men. This excess amount of grace was given by Church to the laity, but not to all, only to those who in their worldly life held religious rules and supported the efforts of the church to save the world. As a matter of fact, in real life it appeared that support of the Church’s efforts did not necessarily require high personal morality. Divine grace and salvation could be “earned” by a pilgrimage, participation in the crusade, or just property or cash donations to the needs of the church. In ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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