Religious Reform in the Middle Ages

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church, Martin Luther Pages: 3 (1100 words) Published: March 27, 2007
Religious Reformation in the Middle Ages
Throughout the middle ages, religion underwent much criticism and controversy. In a time where Catholicism reigned as the sole religion, ideas arose that opposed this strict faith. These ideas spawned the Protestant reform and changed religion throughout Europe. It not only changed religious practices and the path to God, but also initiated political repercussions. These results were all in search of an answer to the question to which everyone sought assurance: "How do I know I am saved?" At the start of the sixteenth century, after years of living under strict Catholic rule, Christians began to question their means to salvation. They had long been under the belief that the sacramental system combined with blind obedience to the Pope, were necessary to achieve spiritual salvation and happiness in the afterlife. As the devotio moderna and the idea of humanism spread to Northern Europe, new ideas were placed into peoples' heads. Desiderius Erasmus, or the "Prince of Humanists," brought his critical perspective to the public by rejecting the accepted version of the Bible and creating religious satire that mocked traditional religion. Erasmus planted the seed in peoples' minds that the Bible should be interpreted directly, without a Priests' interpretation. Shortly after, monk/priest/doctor of theology Martin Luther expanded this vision by introducing the "justification by faith," or the idea that faith alone would save ones soul without complete focus on religious rituals. Luther rejected the issue of indulgences and protested the flow of money from Germany to Rome, resulting in the creation of the Ninety-Five Theses. Because he believed that the Bible should be accessible to all, he translated it into German, thus making it available to a widespread audience of readers. Others who agreed with many of his ideas, such as Swiss reform leader Ulrich Zwingli and French scholar John Calvin, were able to create their...
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