The Historians of Ancient Europe: Jacques Barzun and Norman Davies

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, Catholic Church Pages: 5 (1558 words) Published: May 18, 2012
Jessica Woodyard
7th period
AP European History

Jacques Barzun and Norman Davies were historians that wrote books describing ancient and modern Europe. Excerpts from these books describe the different view points each author had on the Protestant Reformation. Barzun's outlook of the Protestant Reformation was of cultural movement. Barzun describes Western Europe the most in his passage. Davies' view of the Protestant Reformation was a political movement. Davies describes Europe the most in his passage. These authors both proved their points very strongly, in order to prove their sides of the argument. Barzun states that the Protestant Reformation has been characterized as a revolution. He views the Protestant Reformation as " the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea." Barzun thinks that revolutions gives each culture a new outlook. He states that revolutions changed attitudes, art, and human failings. Barzun then describes Luther's posting of the 95 Theses on the doors of Wittenberg castle church doors. " A German scholar has recently argued that Luther never posted his Theses." Luther's 95 Theses were printed due to Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. This invention had a great impact on the tear of Western Europe. Luther did not believe in the sale of indulgences. His belief was the gospel was the only treasure of the church. Luther then made proclamation that stated "every man is a priest." That meant their should be no church and every man should preach to themselves. The proclamation was announced to the German and became a new way of life for the Germans. The Pope had begun to get black mailed by the kings. Therefore the kings got special privileges. Barzun believed that this did nothing to reform the church. In a reaction to the Pope condeming 41 of Luther's 95 theses, he publicly burned books which idolized the Pope. Barzun then describes how most revolutions are begun. He states that revolutions are started by people who are as ignorant as everyone else about how much would be destroyed by the end of the revolution. Another way that Barzun describes how the Protestant Reformation was a cultural movement was the marriage of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine which was granted by the pope. King Henry thought Queen Catherine was not allowing him to have a male heir. Therefore, he wanted a divorce from Catherine, but Emperor Charles V would not let them divorce. A new church was established due to King Henry VIII wanting a divorce from Queen Catherine. The church was headed by the King and the Independents in Rome. Frederick the Wise employed Luther. Frederick protected Luther from the Pope and he hid him in his castle. The castle was the place where Luther translated the New Testament into German. Luther wanted to influence the German's in religious, moral, political, and social issues. The printing of pamphlets, books and letters did not cease for 350 years. These religious works out numbered all other publications. The 20th century Western Europe wanted to go back to a primitive themed church. The corruptions of the church " the meaning of the roles" were lost. The priest was ignorant; the monk was profiteer; the bishop was a politician and businessman. The system had become rotten. Barzun closes with, " A decadent culture offers opportunities chiefly to be satirist and the turn of the 15C had a good many, one of them a great one." Davies views the Reformation as an extension of the Renaissance. He states that the Reformation starts with the disgust of the clergy. "Europe was full of tales about simoniac, bishiops, nepostistic, popes, promiscuous priests, idle monks, and above all the sheer worldly wealth of the Church." Fra Giolamo Savonarola began a revolutin in the 1490's that temporarily drove out the Medicis. The Polygot Bible was founded at the University of Alcala. Davies mentions Alexander's passions for gold and...

Cited: Barzun, Jacques, From Dawn to Decadence. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
Davies, Norman, Europe: A History. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
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