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Reformation A Vital Catalyst for Modernity - Term Paper Example

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This paper examines the Reformation - one of the most profound processes in Europe of the sixteenth century. What is today identified as the ‘modern era’ did not begin through a single event, nor is there any point where ‘modernity’ started, but the Reformation certainly played its role…
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Reformation A Vital Catalyst for Modernity
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Download file to see previous pages As a consequence Calvin, Erasmus, More, Luther (Brinton 205; 234) and other prominent theologians to question the validity of parts of the New Testament as well as other areas of existing religious thought and practice. The reformation, which eventually resulted from this criticism, can therefore to some extent be seen as a distillation of all the important intellectual movements of the age. The papacy meanwhile continued controlling religious activity throughout the European continent and chose to ignore the tide of revolution that swept across its territory, continuing its money-based piety that worked with mechanical precision regardless of human circumstances. According to the historian Crane Brinton (234 pp), there was not one single area of religious observance in the 16th century that was not in one way or other tied to money. The crisis came when Martin Luther put forward his accusations of misconduct of the church – in the vernacular of the people – and the papacy answered ‘in Latin’. Oblivious to the changes that had taken place, the papacy attempted to combat Luther with the same worn ‘heresy’ charge of centuries ago, except by then the people had found their champions, of which Luther was only one. The grievances these ‘heroes’ made public were those of nearly every ordinary Christian and for the first time, the people were able to understand what was said. There were many complaints, ninety-seven of them, but the most important ones were, that the Church offered ‘salvation’ in exchange for money, that priests were rich and not subject to the law, and that ordinary people had no access to the bible. Thus the impending reformation was not simply an intellectual exercise but it offered...
This paper talks about the Reformation - one of the most influential processes throughout European history. from the 13th century onwards, life changed in leaps and bounds in different areas of human society. These ‘stirrings’ could be felt in many parts of the world, but it was in Europe in particular where a concentration of great thinkers provided the fertile ground from which modernity eventually sprang. There were many milestones along the way, in the form of explorations, discoveries, developing insights and wars. But it was foremost the growing disillusionment with the spiritual guidance of the Catholic Church that was of great importance because it affected all people. This ‘spiritual’ uprising swept across Europe and eventually culminated in the ‘Reformation, which questioned and broke papal authority. It opened up opportunities for new ways of thinking and worshipping, made possible the nation state and shaped the modern world through its intellectual offsprings. The reformation must therefore be seen as the single most important catalyst for modernity.
The paper concludes that, at the time the Reformation took place, the groundswell that brought about liberal revolution was strong already but without curtailing of the power of the Catholic Church, progressive thinkers of the 16th and 17th centuries may well have become the victims of heresy trials – as they had in centuries before the reformation. As it was, the ideals of the reformation were allowed to flourish. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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