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The Importance Of The Renaissance To The Reformation In Germany

1817 words - 7 pages

The Importance of the Renaissance to the Reformation in Germany

The reformation was a movement that fundamentally challenged the
authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The role of the clergy was
undermined and the relationships between national countries and the
Roman Catholic Church were threatened.

The renaissance began in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries through patronage and the flourishing society, and Rome
achieved cultural prominence. It later spread throughout Europe and
began a rediscovery of classical thoughts and influenced painters,
such as Raphael and Michelangelo, sculptors such as Donatello and
writers, such as Johann Reuchlin, Ulrich Von Hutten and Desiderius
Erasmus. The renaissance influenced the re-examination of ideas and
beliefs and created men who were willing to challenge basic beliefs of
the church. Humanism, the study of humanities, placed an emphasis on
man and his secular interests and the main influence of the
renaissance and humanism was a return to original texts. Writers such
as Reuchlin and Hutten, placed an emphasis on studying original texts
and encouraged literate men to study texts of he bible and make their
own interpretations, instead of those offered by the Roman Catholic
Church. Humanism also bought a desire for knowledge and the invention
of the printing press in c.1450 made mass publication and circulation
of literature, and notably made the translation and dissemination of
bibles possible. This meant that lay people could now read the bible,
understand it and make their own judgement upon the Catholic beliefs.

This was important to the reformation as it not only bought about the
re-examination of beliefs but also encouraged people to interpret the
bible for themselves. This was significant, as the church had seen
itself as the sole interpreter of the bible; this made the bible the
main authority for religious belief and not the church. The
circulation of literature also meant that much of the laity had access
to knowledge and so become literate and consequentially the Catholic
Church's monopoly over education and communicating was broken up.

Martin Luther, a scholar and Augustian Friar, had also been influenced
by the renaissance and humanism and had developed his own ideas about
salvation, the treasury of merits and the issues taught by the Roman
Catholic Church. His ideas were based upon the scriptures, sola
scriptura, as these were the only things that were beyond fallibility,
he believed that original texts should also be studied. Luther also
believed that it was by man's own faith that he could achieve eternal
salvation, sola fide, and that god alone decided a man's fate,
therefore good deeds and the purchasing of indulgences and merits were

In 1517, Johann Tetzel came to England, authorised by...

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