Reading about the Reformation strengthened my opinion on how there were several interconnected events that came together for this religious rebellion to come to be. As mentioned in class there was a plague, wars, peasant rebellions, and Petrarch coined the phrase the “Dark Ages.”
Out of this mess the Renaissance was a flower in the mud. With the advent of the printing press, all that was needed was the material for it. Katie Bowman in her blog does an excellent job explaining and researching the preacher climate of the time and how that was a popular form of entertainment/religious worship. So the material was there and as a result of the plague, there was no shortage of unused clothing that could be broken down and used to make the actual paper. Hence we see the machinery of literacy turn and pick up speed.
Along with sermons came bibles. Among the many were the Vulgate bible (Latin), Wycliffe (New Testament Middle English), Tyndale (English), The Great Bible (based on Tyndale’s work after the king killed him), The Geneva Bible, The Bishop’s Bible, and the King James version. This list represents a history of martyrs and brave men wanting to make the bible more accessible to the public.
I attribute two things to the success of the Reformation: King Henry’s divorce with Catherine and the Catholic church’s approach to change. Skip Knox wrote: “In July 1529, pressed by the emperor, Clement finally revoked the case to Rome. This now brought the business to a crisis, for if the case were heard at Rome, Henry's petition would surely be denied and then he would be stuck with Catherine... The question, then, was how and on what legal basis to defy the pope. He could do so openly and simply suffer excommunication, as other English kings had done, but this was a desperate course made doubly risky in that it would leave the door open for the religious radicals.”
Even the King had to think twice before he decided ultimately to sever ties with the Catholic church and approve the divorce himself. Here we see a beginning of a division of church and state. Sure the King is still head of the church and there isn’t any difference from one tyrant to the other, but it set a precedent and allowed for the future of more translations of the bible. It was during this time that The Great Bible was being translated/released. The Catholic Church approach to change was the same, assert authority, keep tradition, avoid death for the church leaders at any cost. Hence, any prior reformations were either met with an accusation of heresy or they were absorbed into the church. This hard headedness would lead to an inability to meet the needs of changing times.
The plague, death, and drastic changes in the socio-political atmosphere of the era is the driving force as to why the Reformation happened and succeeded.
Knox, Skip. "The Reformation." HWC, in England. Boise State University, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.