HENRY VIII AND THE REFORMATION
PRESENTED, ROBERT BARNETT Ph.D.
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR HIST485: MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
ANDREW H. DAVIDSON
15 JULY 2010
KING HENRY VIII AND THE REFORMATION
For many years leading up to the reign of King Henry VIII, zealous souls were searching more than ever for a meaningful faith-based life for themselves and all of society. The people of England were becoming more and more confused about what the Church actually taught and were developing skeptical feelings towards the spiritual and physical power used and displayed by the clergy. These feelings of the English people were reaching an all time high around the time that Henry VIII had succeeded his father’s throne in 1509. King Henry VIII had mostly selfish and prideful incentives to separate from the Roman Catholic Church. He had no religious intent in mind, but little did he know that he would contribute to the rise of the Protestant Reformation and a long-term religious change in England that would eventually spread to the rest of the world.
The dissatisfaction with the corruption of the Church and hunger for change led to the ideas of Christian humanism and the influence of Greek learning. This idea portrayed an order of peace, justice, and humanity that could be taught and advanced through education. The humanist with the greatest influence of the time was Erasmus of Rotterdam who favored simple biblical piety founded on textual scholarship and study of the Greek New Testament over scholasticism and elaborate ritualism. Erasmus believed in studying and understanding the scriptures for oneself and wanted to reveal the extreme hypocrisies of the Church.
Erasmus’ radical writings and teachings began to spread, and soon after the writings and teachings of Thomas More and Martin Luther arose. More wrote the book Utopia which described an idealized society that lived in an uncorrupted world in... [continues]
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