Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Study On Protestant Reformation History Essay

A Study On Protestant Reformation History Essay With reference to England, Scotland and Germany the extent to which the Protestant Reformation affected the development of their nation states and national identities was not uniform. Each country will be discussed on an individual basis as will agreement or otherwise because although there were similar consequences there were also different results from the Protestant Reformation. To start with reference will be made to Germany first, partly because the Protestant Reformation started there and partly because in many ways it was far more complicated a situation than England and Scotland. Unlike England and Scotland, Germany was not a country that actually existed, let alone having more or less established borders with national institutions, monarchies and a sense of nationality. The only things that the Germans held in common was that they spoke dialects and variations of the same language and that they were under the nominal rule of the Holy Roman Emperor.The Holy Roman Empire was split up into over 300 states of various sizes and importance. These states were keen on maintaining their autonomy from the empire; the Protestant Reformation would provide some of those states with a pretext for increasing their independence (Maland, 1982, p.148). The Protestant Reformation started in Germany rather more by accident than by design in 1517. The Augustinian friar Martin Luther started the process by his protest against indulgences at Wittenberg. Luther was an accomplished theologian and would prove highly capable of writing his views and ideas in German as well as Latin. Luther was astute enough to put things in German to spread his ideas further through pamphlets, books and bibles thus increasing the availability of publications in German. The lack of imperial authority in Germany meant that Luther and the Reformation was able to survive (Roberts, 1996, pp.227-28). The Protestant Reformation had added attraction to the Germans because it gave them a greater sense o f a German identity rather than being subjects of the various states and statelets. Luther had not anticipated all the effects of unleashing that greater sense of being German would be a further division of the German states rather than bringing them closer together. There were also more radical reformers such as Carlstadt that whipped up so much support for radical reform it culminated in the Peasants War. Luther was against such radicalism and tied the Lutheran Reformation closely to the secular rulers to prevent further anarchy. Whilst Luther wrote the majority of his works in German such as the Liberty of a Christian Man, his most radical pamphlet , The Babylonish Captivity of the Church of God remained in Latin. For Luther was plainly aware of the radical effect that putting such works in German could have (Maland, 1986, pp. 88-89). Those princes and states that followed Luther and conformed to the Lutheran Confession of Augsburg formed the Schmakaldic League. Aside from Sax ony the league included Brandenburg, Prussia, and Hesse. They were ranged against the catholic German states and the Emperor. The Protestant Reformation started in Germany but the factors that allowed it to survive effectively prevented the forming of a united German state or the complete success of the Protestant Reformation there (Chadwick, 1990, pp.63-64).

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