Most people would probably name Martin Luther, but Professor Angus Cameron begs to differ. In a recent article, he argues that Jakob Fugger, a cloth merchant turned banker in Augsburg, fueled the Reformation by providing a loan that enabled Albrecht of Brandenburg to pay the Roman Church for his appointment as Elector of Mainz.
Just how would Albrecht repay Fugger’s bank?
Albrecht sent out his agent, Johann Tetzel, to sell indulgences (that he claimed would reduce the amount of time loved ones must spend in Purgatory). Part of the revenue would help Albrecht repay the Fuggers for his loan. When Martin Luther heard about the sale of indulgences in his locality, he reacted strongly and posted his 95 Theses.
And so began the Reformation!
What do you think? Were spiritual or material factors responsible for sparking the Reformation?
For more about Jakob Fugger, take a look at the article by Professor Cameron: http://theconversation.com/the-man-who-gave-us-the-reformation-and-it-wasnt-martin-luther-85196