Lucas Cranach the Elder’s workshop – The Bridgeman Art Library, Object 329428, Public Domain. In 1517, a chasm developed between Martin Luther and the Roman Church on matters of theology and church practices—a gap that became so wide that the Church likely would have executed Luther for heresy if he had lived in Italy. Wars Read More

In a 1520 letter to Pope Leo, Martin Luther said he was not so foolish as to attack Pope Leo X, whom everybody praises. How did this cultured Renaissance pope and patron of the arts become Luther’s archenemy? Giovanni de’ Medici (the future Leo X) took after his father, Florence’s Lorenzo the Magnificent, who appreciated Read More

Which location has ties to the Reformation? Germany is the obvious answer, with many cities and towns where Luther lived and traveled (Eisleben, Erfurt, Wittenberg, Worms, and Coburg, to name a few). Although Germany celebrates and hosts the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, the movement to reform or move away from the Church of Rome extended far Read More

When Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch scholar and former monk, wrote The Praise of Folly in 1509, he satirized his world and called on bishops and popes to follow the example of Christ. The young Martin Luther may have seen Erasmus as a kindred spirit in his call for reform of the Church. After Erasmus published Read More

Johannes Gutenberg began his life in 1400 as a merchant’s youngest son in Mainz, yet by the time he died in 1468, even the pope knew his reputation—all because this goldsmith found a way to print using movable type. His journey to fame came painstakingly slowly (detailed by Alix Christie in her novel, Gutenberg’s Apprentice). Read More

Editor’s note: blog posts will alternate between 1) the lead-up to the Reformation and 2) the Reformation’s 500th anniversary. Today we begin with resources related to the Reformation’s 500th anniversary. October 31 1517: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World, by Martin E. Marty, Paraclete Press, 2016 (focus on Luther’s significance and the Read More

In England, John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English in 1382, and insisted the scriptures, not the pope, should have authority over the Christian church. He also attacked the sale of indulgences, certain Church doctrines, and the clergy’s immorality and privileges. After years of speaking out, he lost his position at Oxford.  Although he died Read More

Why this blog? As October 31st, 2017 approaches,  media coverage of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation increases daily.  What more should be said, and why by me, a devotée of the Renaissance since a college semester spent in Italy? Simply put, focusing on the Reformation without the Renaissance would be like paying attention to Read More

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