Today in History – The Beginning of the Protestant Reformation

Whether Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral or simply delivered them to his archbishop is a matter of conjecture, but what is indisputable is that his public condemnation of numerous, Papal transgressions, spawned a movement of rebellion whose legacies still reverberate to this day. While not the first wave of protests (hence “protestant”) against the Catholic Church (look at the Waldensian movement and a little later the Hussite movement), this particular iteration proved long-lasting, thanks in no small part to the burgeoning role of the printing press that had been introduced in the West in 1451.

This post will not present a recapitulation of this era. Please come here to read about the best books on the Reformation. (Roland Bainton’s work still stands the test of time, and Parker’s work on Calvin removes much of the heated and opinionated rhetoric associated with this towering intellect.) For an online examination of those turbulent times, please read this entry from Spartacus Educational – Protestant Reformation. Another site worth visiting, and containing audio/video files as well, is this one from Deutsche Welle.

The standard edition of the collected works of Martin Luther, short-handed as WA (Weimerer Ausgabe), took over forty years to compile, are in 121 volumes, and in German; there is an multi-volume selected edition of his works in English. Online works by Luther can be found at: Christian Classics Ethereal Library (hundreds of authors) and Project Wittenberg (along with other contemporary authors). To get an insight into this person, recommended readings include:His Table Talk (conversations with Luther) and Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporary Letters.

John Calvin’s challenging works were published in 59 volumes as Ioannis Calvini opera quae supersunt omni; English versions can be found in the CCEL where the commentaries alone comprise 46 volumes. A contemporary document on the man can be found in Memoirs of the life and writings of John Calvin; compiled from the narrative of Theodore Beza…

Other Reformation authors can be found here and here.

Post-Reformation Digital Library is an amazing site holding hundreds, if not thousands of digital copies of primary writings.

From the Reformation to the Thirty Years’ War contains valuable primary sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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