The Protestant Reformation Essay Sample
- Word count: 692
- Category: religion
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The Protestant Reformation Essay Sample
The Protestant Reformation was the schism within Western Christianity initiated by John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other early Protestants. It was sparked by the 1517 posting of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. The efforts of the self-described “reformers”, who objected to (“protested”) the doctrines, rituals, leadership, and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the creation of new national Protestant churches. The Reformation was precipitated by earlier events within Europe, such as the Black Death and the Western Schism, which eroded people’s faith in the Catholic Church and the Papacy that governed it. This, as well as many other factors, such as spread of Renaissance ideas, the spread of the printing press, and the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, contributed to the creation of Protestantism.
The Roman Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent and spearheaded by the new order of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) specifically organised to counter the Protestant movement. In general, Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, turned Protestant. Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while fierce battles which turned into warfare took place in central Europe. The first of the new churches was the Unitas Fratrum (Unity of the Brethren) dating their origins to Jan Hus in the early 15th century.
The largest of the new churches were the Lutherans (mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia) and the Reformed churches (mostly in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scotland). There were many smaller bodies as well. Although there had been a reformation movement significantly predating Luther, the most common dating of the Protestant Reformation begins in 1517, when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and concludes in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars.
Parallel to events in Germany, a movement began in the Swiss Confederation under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. Zwingli was a scholar and preacher who moved to Zurich – the then-leading city state – in 1518, a year after Martin Luther began the Reformation in Germany with his 95 Theses. Although the two movements agreed on many issues of theology, as the recently introduced printing press spread ideas rapidly from place to place, some unresolved differences kept them separate. A long-standing resentment between the German states and the Swiss Confederation led to heated debate over how much Zwingli owed his ideas to Lutheranism. Although Zwinglianism does hold uncanny resemblance to Lutheranism (it even had its own equivalent of the 95 Theses, called the 67 Conclusions), historians have been unable to prove that Zwingli had any contact with Luther’s publications before 1520, and Zwingli himself maintained that he had prevented himself from reading them.
The German Prince Philip of Hesse saw potential in creating an alliance between Zwingli and Luther, seeing strength in a united Protestant front. A meeting was held in his castle in 1529, now known as the Colloquy of Marburg, which has become infamous for its complete failure. The two men could not come to any agreement due to their disputation over one key doctrine. Although Luther preached consubstantiation in the Eucharist over transubstantiation, he believed in the spiritual presence of Christ at the mass. Zwingli believed that the mass was only representative and memorial – Christ was not present.
Luther became so angry that he famously carved into the meeting table ‘Hoc Est Corpus Meum’ – a Biblical quotation from the Last Supper meaning ‘this is my body’. Some followers of Zwingli believed that the Reformation was too conservative, and moved independently toward more radical positions, some of which survive among modern day Anabaptists. One famous incident illustrating this was when radical Zwinglians fried and ate sausages during Lent in Zurich city square by way of protest against the Church teaching of good works. Other Protestant movements grew up along lines of mysticism or humanism (cf. Erasmus), sometimes breaking from Rome or from the Protestants, or forming outside of the churches
ULRICH zwingli ulrich zwingli got zero in the exam ,became the worst person,spread lutheranism in switzerland ,celebrated ramzan and went to buland darwaza