Church History II - Lesson 6
The Spreading of the Reformation
This lesson provides an overview of the spread of the Reformation from its origins in Switzerland, France, and England, to its spread across Germany through the work of figures like Martin Luther and the Schmalkaldic League, and its expansion into Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the wider world. It also covers the Catholic response to the Reformation, including the Council of Trent and the establishment of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits.
The Spreading of the Reformation
<p class="out-1">CH503-06: The Spreading of the Reformation</p>
<p class="out-1">I. Introduction to the Spread of the Reformation</p> <p class="out-2">A. Overview of the Reformation</p> <p class="out-2">B. The Spread of the Reformation in Switzerland</p> <p class="out-2">C. The Spread of the Reformation in France</p> <p class="out-2">D. The Spread of the Reformation in England</p> <p class="out-1">II. The Spread of the Reformation in Germany</p> <p class="out-2">A. The Reformation in Wittenberg</p> <p class="out-2">B. The Spread of the Reformation in Germany</p> <p class="out-2">C. The Schmalkaldic League</p> <p class="out-2">D. The Augsburg Confession</p> <p class="out-1">III. The Spread of the Reformation in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe</p> <p class="out-2">A. The Reformation in Denmark and Norway</p> <p class="out-2">B. The Reformation in Sweden and Finland</p> <p class="out-2">C. The Reformation in Poland and Hungary</p> <p class="out-1">IV. The Catholic Response to the Reformation</p> <p class="out-2">A. The Council of Trent</p> <p class="out-2">B. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits)</p>
- 0% CompleteYou'll uncover the historical context, key figures, and theological developments of the Reformation, along with its lasting impact on church, society, and modern Christianity.0% Complete
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The crusades, and John Wycliffe's challenge of the church’s authority happened before the Reformation.0% Complete
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This lesson covers the Renaissance period and the life and beliefs of Martin Luther.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson provides a comprehensive understanding of the history of the Protestant Reformation and the theology of Martin Luther. You will gain knowledge of Luther's theological beliefs, including justification by faith alone, as well as the major events of the Reformation and the influence of the printing press on spreading Protestant ideas.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteThis lesson explores the success of the Reformation in spreading to other parts of Europe beyond Germany in the late 16th to 17th centuries. It discusses the factors that contributed to this success, including the printing press, vernacular languages, and secular ruler support. Additionally, the transcript examines the impact of different reform movements on society and culture, such as the Calvinist and Anabaptist movements.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteYou will gain insight into the spread of the Reformation across Europe and beyond, covering its origins, impact in Germany, expansion into Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and the Catholic response through the Council of Trent and establishment of the Jesuits.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteBy exploring this lesson, you will gain insights into the historical relationship between the Church and State, from early Christianity to modern times. You will also gain an understanding of the specific relationship between the Church and State in America, particularly with regard to the First Amendment. Additionally, you will learn about current debates around the separation of Church and State and how the Church should engage with political power.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you will learn about how the English Reformation was initiated by King Henry VIII's desire to annul his marriage, leading to the breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church and the establishment of the Church of England, which went back and forth between Protestantism and Catholicism until Queen Elizabeth I established it as a Protestant church.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you will learn about the life and reign of King Henry VIII and the key events and people that shaped the English Reformation, including his opposition to the Protestant Reformation, his desire for a male heir, and his establishment of the Church of England, which had far-reaching consequences for England and the Church as a whole.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of King Henry VIII's reign, including his relationships with his wives, his role as head of the English church, and his impact on the Reformation in England, as well as the political and religious agendas he pursued during his final years, and his legacy and impact on the Anglican Church.0% Complete
- The English Reformation, which took place during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, was a significant period in English history that resulted in the establishment of the Church of England and the break from the Roman Catholic Church. This class lecture explores the political, social, and religious factors that contributed to the English Reformation, as well as the theological developments that occurred during this period. It also examines the wider impact of the English Reformation on the Reformation movement in Europe and the subsequent development of Protestantism in England.0% Complete
- Gain insight into the intricate history of 16th-century Catholicism and British Protestantism, exploring key events, figures, and their impact on the religious landscape.0% Complete
- Explore the 16th-century Reformation in Europe and Britain, analyzing key figures, theological disputes, and the impact on religious landscape.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteGain an in-depth understanding of the Reformation in the Lowlands, its historical context, key figures, movements, and its impact on religious and political landscapes.0% Complete
- In this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of the Reformation in Great Britain under Elizabeth I, focusing on key figures, religious struggles, and the lasting impact on modern-day Britain.0% Complete
- Explore the intricate history of the Protestant Church in England under Elizabeth I, delving into key figures, events, and theological shifts that shaped its religious landscape.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteIn this lesson, you explore the development of the Protestant Church in England under King James, gaining insight into its history, key figures, and the influence of theological movements on its growth.0% Complete
- By studying this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Protestant Church in England under Cromwell, its theological developments, and the lasting impact of this period on the church's history.0% Complete
- Gain deep insights into the late 17th-century Protestant Church in England, its key events, influential religious groups, and major figures, as you explore the complex interplay of religious, political, and social forces shaping its development.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteBy analyzing the Age of Reason's influence on Church History, you gain knowledge of the interplay between faith, reason, and scientific inquiry that reshaped religious beliefs and institutions during this pivotal era.0% Complete
- 0% CompleteGain a thorough grasp of church history from 1500-2000, exploring key events, figures, and theological developments that have shaped Christianity's growth and evolution.0% Complete
The life and thought of the Christian church from the Reformation to modern times. Designed as an orientation to the shape of the whole tradition with special focus on the history of Christian doctrine and spirituality.
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God, thank you for this day and for all the things that you give us. Bless us. Now we pray as we work and as we study together for Jesus precious namesake, we ask it Right? Okay. Today, I want to go on a little bit and move on from where we have got to and look at the way that the Reformation spread. I've looked already at Luther and Wittenberg, sort of this area here, and last time we took a look at Zwingli and the Anabaptists in Switzerland and said that they were more or less independent movements. I mean, of course they had some kind of contact with each other, but in their in essence, they were heading they were approaching the issue from a different angle and to some degree heading off in different directions. As the Reformation developed in the 1520s, there were a number of crises which had to be confronted and overcome. And this is very important to understand. The perhaps the easiest way to understand it, the best way to understand it is to take a look at the modern parallel. If somebody were to come along today and say, Do you think that, you know, the federal government could be reformed or something like that, a lot of people would say, yes, you know, because they have in their mind, well, they think that the tax system of taxation could be changed or, you know, the way they carry on in Washington could be changed. Or who gets to be a White House intern could be changed. You know, I mean, everyone would have their own approach to this sort of thing, wouldn't they? What what particular aspect they don't like.
But in any system, there's always going to be a certain amount of discontent with the way things are run. And so every once in a while, this discontent will boil over into demands for change, demands for reform and so on. What then happens, of course, very often is that these things peter out or get incredibly complicated because although a large number of people can be brought to the point of agreeing that some kind of change needs to happen, it's quite different when you start asking them what you know, what would you like to put in its place. And that's very different. You know, I mean, take taxation, for example. As everybody said, you think the tax system should be overhauled? Most people would say yes. If you ask them how you would come up with a thousand different answers. And this was similar, of course, to what happened in the early 16th century. A lot of people knew that the church government was corrupt. A lot of people disliked the power of the papacy. And there was a general sort of feeling that something should be done about it. And then a lot of people thought that. But trying to decide what should be done was a completely different thing. And Luther, of course, soon found out as much because as long as he was leading a revolt, he had all kinds of people either supporting him or at least claiming him, you know, as their excuse for doing things. And it was only as time went on that he realized, of course, that a number of the people who were following him weren't really his followers at all either, because they were too conservative like Erasmus and people like that, you know, who didn't really want to break with the church but who thought Luther was quite a good thing as long as he was, you know, causing trouble.
And at the other end of the spectrum, people like the peasants and various other radical groups for whom Luther was way too conservative, and Luther felt that they were and they were all vehement, really bringing discredit on what he wanted to do. So as time went on, it was became increasingly necessary to try to define what the Reformation movement was all about. And inevitably any attempt at definition was going to be a form of exclusion because the loose edges, the, you know, the gray areas, the fringe people were going to be cut off. Basically, a few might be persuaded to come in more fully. But on the whole, we would probably find that a number of hangers on in one degree or another would either be persuaded or feel that they had to go off elsewhere. It was also almost certainly going to produce divisions within even the bona fide reformed groups, because once you sit down to define what you mean, you know, you discover that say people following zwingli are going to be in a different league from those following Luther. I mean to take but two obvious examples. The things they're protesting about different the views that they have are not the same. And you may find that you're arguing, you know, among reformers as much as against the Catholic Church to which you are theoretically opposed. This situation in the longer term would benefit the Catholic Church because dividing your opposition is always one of the best ways of controlling it. And the splits in the in the reformed camp, of course, diminished the impetus of the Reformation, partly because the reformers ended up squabbling with each other, but also because their claims to represent the truth were compromised. I mean, if you are, you know, standing up for truth with a capital T, but you can't seem to find anybody else to agree with you about what truth is, then your claim is not very good, you know, and you are liable to come under some kind of of criticism and condemnation for it.
And this was a constant danger that the reformers faced. And so they had to do something about it sooner rather than later. As circumstances were in Germany at the time, the immediate need was to establish a a military alliance among those princes of Germany and free cities and what have you, which were going to support Luther's protest. This alliance was established at a place called Small Cold, and it's called the Small Celtic League. And membership in the league was defined according to a series of theological principles, which I called the small Celtic articles. The first attempt really to produce something which might be called a Protestant confession of faith. This was, of course, a first attempt, therefore more of an outline than a full theology. It also had a specific purpose, which was military and therefore not purely theological, or to do with church affairs and so on. And so after a couple of years, it was replaced by a more detailed statement of faith, devised and signed in the city of Augsburg, or at least presented to the Emperor in Augsburg in 1530. Small county I think in 1526, that sort of 15, 26 or 27 I think was 26. Anyhow, the Augsburg Confession. Augsburg, as we tend to say in English in 1530, really represented the first. Definable statement of Protestantism. And indeed it was from this point and as a result of this that the word Protestant came into general use because the signers of this confession who presented it to the Emperor were protesting, or as we would say today, were confessing, we're stating publicly what they believed. The emperor, of course, wanted to know and everybody wants to know, so they knew where they stood. But the appearance of the Augsburg confession in 1530 was, of course, the signal for a rupture, a clear break with the thing methods, and of course, with the Anabaptists.
Needless to say, although they were already sort of moving off in their own way before this because they could not agree to some of the things that the Augsburg Confession said, or they wanted other things put in which the Augsburg Confession left out. And notably, of course, as I pointed out the other day, their position on the sacraments was significantly different from that which Luther himself believed. And this was going to be a constant source of friction between the two sides ever afterwards. I mean, it carried on for a very long time. So this fundamental difference of approach appears at an early stage. But once the Augsburg Confession was written, once it was sort of available, then of course people could sign up to it or not. And it was really from this point onwards that we begin to see a definable Protestantism arising in northern Germany, that is to say, states, little German principalities or free states or whatever, would agree to make this statement of faith their official belief. And gradually, in the early 1530s, more and more German states did this and so moved over into the Protestant camp in a more definitive way than had previously been the case. It also permitted Protestantism to spread outside of Germany because there was some way of identifying, it seemed to me, very simple. And the place where it spread most quickly and most successful was to the north, to Denmark, and eventually to Sweden and over the rest of Scandinavia. The reason for that, one of the main reasons for this is that the Scandinavian countries at that time, apart from being small, poor and backward, which well, I mean they couldn't do much about that, were pretty much under the control of German traders working out of the cities of Hamburg, Lubeck, Kiel, the northern cities here in a league called the handset, which is variously spelt either with an A or with an E at the end, depending in German, it's spelt with an E at the end.
But normally in English we put in a let we latinized it. This was a name of a League of Trading Cities which basically controlled all the trade of the Baltic, all this area here they had in their grip and as these trading cities became Protestant, so of course they could spread Protestant literature very easily to these northern countries and by a similar process they could prevent anti Protestant literature from getting there, prevent Catholic agents from going there and so on, because they controlled the routes you see, they controlled the ships, they controlled the trade, everything else. So, you know, they had a kind of iron grip on the Scandinavian countries. And during the course of the 1530s, these countries moved over to Lutheranism, where they still are. I mean, Denmark and Norway and Finland and Sweden and Iceland are the most Lutheran countries in the world. You know, I mean, something like 97% of the population belongs to the Lutheran State Church in all of these countries. It has remained that way until the present time. So this was the most one of the earliest and most successful exports, if you like, Protestantism from its German. Heartland. And as I say, the process of defining what Protestantism was was a major help in doing this. Now, the same traders who went this way, of course, are also spread west across Europe. They went east as well, but they didn't have much effect there. But they went to the west and indeed all over the place. And they were a very important means of getting Protestant literature around the place, you know, because they could convey it, they could transport it, they could sell it and so on. They could hide it where in places where it wasn't welcome.
You see, I mean, you know, you just sort of throw it in the back of the warehouse somewhere and nobody was going to look too closely to see where it might be. And a lot of this Protestant literature, which got into France, for example, got into England, got it, was smuggled in by traders in this kind of way, you know, sort of false bottoms in the in the crates and so on. I mean, anyone who's done any drug smuggling not looking around too closely, but you can guess, you know, the many different ways of doing this. When you when you put your mind to it. And so having these people on board was extremely important. It's also very important to understand because it explains how it was that Swiss Protestantism, Zwingli and the Anabaptists side by side or, you know, daggers drawn, but nevertheless similar within the same kind of mentality, spread their views to places like Holland here and the western part of Germany. This was because of the trade route down the Rhine. You see, the river Rhine, which flows down here was the natural outlet for northern Switzerland. And so traders taking ideas from Zurich, you see, would quite naturally go down the Rhine and stop off in places like Basel, Strasbourg, you know, mines, Kirk Cologne, and then down to the Dutch cities on the coast. So what might otherwise seem odd because you'd say, how would they get from here to here, you know, and not say over here is actually very explicable. Once you look at the trade routes and the way people moved at that particular time, it was down the Rhine Valley that the impact of seeing the end of the anabaptists was going to be felt most strongly and that was only natural and to be expected at the time.
One of the cities which accepted the Reformation very early on was Strasbourg here on the Rhine in Alsace. Strasbourg is of course now in France. But it is not a French city, not traditionally. Traditionally it is a German city because Alsace is traditionally German speaking. It's only really in recent years that it's moved over definitively, shall we say, into the French world. But certainly in the 16th century it was a German speaking city, part of the Holy Roman Empire, and the leading reformer who established himself there was Martin Busa. This is one of the most interesting of the reformers, quite certainly the most underrated of them. I mean, you hear hardly anything about him, which is a pity because he's quite important. But he was born in 1491, died in 1551, and he was one of these people who knew everybody and went everywhere and did everything. You know, he was a great link person in the Reformation. He had been one of Luther's earliest supporters and followers going right back, I mean, 15, 18, 15, 19, the very early days, even before Luther was excommunicated, even before most people ever heard of him, Busa was there, you know, waving his banner and signing his decision card and, you know, generally sort of showing that he was one of Luther's, you know, great followers. But it's unusual because you think, you see, this is a time, the early days, you know, when not many people follow do that. I mean, how many followers did Luther have in 15? 19? Not that many. You know, not. Really. So abuse it to have been one of them. It's it's quite a distinction, really. You know, it's like an old Bolshevik, you know, someone who knew Lenin before the revolution and that kind of thing.
And this it went to Strasburg and managed to persuade the town council there to accept Luther's ideas and established himself there and basically ran the church in Strasbourg for most of his life, at least until 1548, when there was a sort of political upset there and Luther was due so that it was forced out. He had to leave the city because the city at that point rejected the Reformation. It went back to Catholicism, at least for a time. It sort of went up and down and it was a rather confused situation. But anyhow, for for 25 years at least, I mean, beause it was more or less in control of the church in Strasbourg. The other thing about him was that he had a relatively open mind. Now, open mindedness was not a characteristic of most people in the 16th century. And this again, has to be has to be faced up to. I mean, if Luther didn't like you, you know, the things that he was capable of saying would land him in jail today. I mean, you know, quite easily. We know this, of course, because Luther was not in any way ashamed of shouting as loud as possible. You know, the most revolting insults against anybody who got in his path. I don't know. I'm not that kind of person. And, you know, but I mean, he was he was sort of go through various sort of lower species of animal and this sort of thing, you know, and and sometimes worse still in attacking people. Now, the only thing that one can say in his defense is that everybody else at the time was doing the same thing. You know, it was it was kind of accepted at that time that that's the way you talked.
It's not acceptable now. And so therefore, it comes to us, you know, as a shock to to discover people talking in this sort of way. And so we have to be aware that here is an area where we are very different from the 16th century and from the way they felt at that time. However, because it was not like that. Yes, it stood out as being rather different from most of the reformers in that he was actually prepared to listen to other people's ideas and make as much of them as he possibly could. And this was particularly important when it came to looking at me and saying these notions of the sacrament, because Sir agreed with saying that Zwingli had a point. I mean, he was much more inclined to take as sacramental teaching as opposed to Luther's. He thought the hell with areas where Luther had not gone far enough. In fact, as the user went on, he became more and more convinced that Luther had concentrated on a few points, which were obviously very significant in themselves, like justification by faith and married clergy and, you know, changing the by translating the Bible into German, this kind of thing. But that for a full blown reformation doctrine, you needed to expand much further. You needed to have a systematic theology based on the kind of principles that Luther was sort of throwing out from time to time. I mean, it was not a systematic thinker. And so in abuses sort of came along and, you know, tried to sort of put things in some kind of order. Now, one of the reasons why music is not widely read today is that he was very long winded, you know, and he was criticized for being long winded even in the 16th century, which means that he was very, very long winded because, you know, in a day and age when a three hour sermon was nothing, you know, and people could actually be dismissed from their churches or preaching for less than an hour and a half, because after all, people hadn't gone all that way, you know, just to be fobbed off by a mere 90 minute sermon, you know, that wasn't what you were being paid for.
They expected you to give it, you know, to do a week's work and show that you had done so when you preached to them on Sunday. You know, to be regarded as long. Indeed, in that context must have been very, very serious. I mean, all one can say is that if you were alive today, he would be chairman of every committee going because long winded people with little to, say, end up being chairmen of committees, having noticed that I may go on and on and on. So anyhow. Just think of Busa in that light. Busa is also important because accidentally, I mean, this wasn't anything he did himself. It was an accident, but it was never a very important accident. He ended up being the man who taught Calvin Protestantism. In effect. That was because Calvin was kicked out of Geneva at an early stage and had to go somewhere. And he made his way to Strasbourg and was welcomed by Busa, and he spent three years sitting at Busey's feet learning his theology. And it's Calvin, among other. Look at why Calvin is one of the people who complained about abuse as long winded notes. That's one of the ways we know. So you can imagine that Calvin thought that what it was like. But this is very important, you see, because what we think of as Calvinism to a large extent is really due to Busa, because Busa, you know, packaged what Luther had to say, combined it with what we had to say, even threw in a little bit of what the Anabaptists had to say because you say it was one of the few people who was prepared to consider that Anabaptists might have something worth saying and packaged it all together and gave it to Calvin, you say, and this way.
And Calvin developed it, you know, shortened it and so on and and made it available to a wider public. And so he's got all the credit for it. But to a large extent it really it spews his ideas which come down. Then of course, the end of his life. Busa in 1548 was thrown out of Strasburg, had nowhere to go particularly. And at this point things had moved ahead in England, and he was invited by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to move to England, which really does show that he had nowhere to go. And well, you know, I mean, you wouldn't choose England, would you? Not for the weather. And he went there in 1548, 1849 and spent the rest of his life in England, which wasn't very long, as you can see, but he ended up in Cambridge as professor of divinity in the university, where he died and where he was buried, where he is buried to this day. So because he moved around and he had an influence and an impact in many different places because of his rather strategic position where he actually was. And when we look at Calvin, we will begin to see a little bit more of what his ideas were, you know, how it how they filtered down. But just to be right now, I just want you to realize that this is a man who has an importance which has never been properly recognized in the 16th century and largely, as I say, because of his ability to synthesize, to bring people together and to deal with a wide range of different situations, which Luther in particular was not very good at, you know, to say no more, shall we say. The first place that the Reformation penetrated outside of Germany was really France.
This was inevitable because in the early 16th century, France was the largest and most important country in Western Europe. Spain, thanks to its American discoveries, had just become a lot richer. That is true. But Spain was peripheral. If you look at the map, I mean, it's sort of out there on the edges. It didn't have a long tradition of sort of runnings running the show in the way that France had. Nor did it have the same kind of prestige, prestigious universities and things like that. It did its best to catch up, of course. But France was, as I say, a more populous country, a fundamentally wealthier country, wealthier in terms of agriculture and so on. Then Spain was therefore more able to sort of hang on for the long term. And it had in Paris, of course, a center of intellectual and particularly a theological life, which was unparalleled anywhere else in Europe. France was promising territory for the Reformation. It had been the home of the papacy. You will recall during the 14th century when the papacy was at Avignon. And so there was a long tradition in France of being opposed to Rome. You might say. I mean, they weren't sort of dedicated to Rome in the way that, say, the Spaniards were, for instance. That was one factor that had to be. Borne in mind after the pope went back to Rome. Of course, the great schism had occurred and there was an anti-pope, a rival pope in Avignon, for a good while longer. And so France was was in the bad books, you might say, of the papacy into the 15th century. It wasn't until 1417 that a compromise pope was elected and the church was sort of brought together again.
And so for a long time, you can say France was, you know, in some sense or other out of sync with Rome. Now, even when things were patched up, this didn't really wear too well in France itself, because very shortly after that, a squabble broke out over taxation in France as to whether the papacy had the right to levy taxes, tithes in France more or less independently of the king. And of course, the king objected to this. And so that was one factor. The other thing was who had the right to appoint bishops to French churches? And the king wanted the right to appoint the bishops so he could control what was going on in the church. And obviously, the pope wasn't very happy with that. So that was another squabble that broke out and put these two things together. And you had a rift between France and the papacy, which began about 1422 or something like this. I mean, almost immediately after the healing of the Great Schism and was not finally patched up again until 1516, just a year before Luther started his reformation. So in the 1520s, there were I mean, everybody in France, every adult in France could remember perfectly well when France was not, you know, in line with the papacy, because it had only been just a few years that this rift had finally been healed. So that was one thing. Another thing was that in the course of the 15th century, 100 years before the Reformation, France as a as a nation state had really come into existence. Of course, that had been the king of France for a long time. And you can trace some kind of French identity back several centuries before. But France had not had a strong central government for quite a long time.
And certain parts of the country more or less ran as independent states. I mean, the most famous of them, from our point of view, was, of course, Normandy. I mean, Normandy, which was technically part of the French kingdom, but where the Dukes ran their own foreign policy. I mean, even to the extent of invading England and conquering it, you know, which clearly shows you that the French king didn't really have a great deal of control over what Normandy did. I mean, imagine, you know, Alabama sort of set out and conquered Guatemala or something without asking the federal government whether they approved. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who would just love to develop and do that. But, you know, you can see what I'm saying. I mean, it wouldn't go down too well because you have a strong central government which would prevent this. And France did not have this for a long time in the Middle Ages. Of course, the other side of that was I mean, Normandy conquered England, but in fact, it was the other way round because England was so much stronger and everything else and was a much better base to operate from. And so the Norman elite more or less moved to England and used it as their base. And so for hundreds of years the English Kings owned or occupied anything up to half of France. And of course they were the great enemy of the French monarchy because the French kings, if they were ever going to control their own country, would have to get rid of the English somehow. And this was hard to do because, you know, France was pleasant. It was warm and sunny in a way that England wasn't.
The wine was much nicer, the cheese was better, etc., etc.. And the English were not going to go home, you know, not that quickly anyhow. And they couldn't go to the Costa Brava or whatever, because that was in Muslim hands at the time. So, you know, France's what they had to put up with and they weren't going to leave, you know, unless they were kicked out. And it wasn't until 1453, which is a long, long time, I mean, nearly 400 years after William the Conqueror is and. Asian that this getting rid of the English was finally achieved and England was left with only the city of Calais, which is immediately opposite the coast, the English coast, in its control. That was a very, from the French point of view, a very important development because it meant that the French king could actually claim that he had living control, real control over most of France. Then, of course, the French Kings embarked on a policy of expansion partly by conquest, partly by diplomatic marriages, and one thing and another. And by the time the Reformation broke out. Most of what we now think of as France was under the control of Paris one way or the other. So France had come into being as a nation state governed centrally by a recognizable administration. You see, it was still a new nation state in this respect, but there it was. And so on paper, of course, it looked ripe for reformation because the French had no real love of the papacy or Rome. They were a new, relatively new power. And, you know, there was an expansionist mood. And given the right circumstances, it probably would not have been very difficult to persuade the French king and his court to throw in their lot with the Reformation to establish a strong national church and, you know, sort of basically take it from there.
That did not happen, as we know. And we have to ask ourselves, why did it not happen? What prevented France from accepting the Protestant Reformation? It's one of the great mysteries, if you like, one of the great questions of 16th century thought generally. There are no doubt several reasons for this. First of all, the ambiguous position of the French monarchy. It is true that the French monarchy was relatively new as a major power. It had only in the previous 50 years or so acquired enough resources to be able to claim to be the genuine ruler of France. This gave the French kings a great sense of their own power, of course, which could have been directed against Rome if they had so chosen. But it was also a liability because they were so new to this game, you know, and so aware that what they had acquired, they had acquired only fairly recently. And, you know, it's easy come, easy go to some extent. I mean, there was no guarantee that it was going to last, that the French kings did not want or need anything which might rock the boat, anything that might upset, you know, the the equilibrium, which had only very recently been established. That was one thing. Another thing is that the French monarchy in the Middle Ages, like the English monarchy as well, which we'll come to in due course, had acquired a certain air of sanctity about it. In other words, the French kings were regarded as specially anointed and chosen by God. This was, of course, a mythology. Partly it was based on ancient Germanic custom, where the kings were priests in the pagan religions of pagan pre-Christian religion. So it was a survival element to that. But there were a lot of other things that were attached to it as well.
For example, the French kings were anointed with holy oil, which was kept in a vessel, I suppose you have to call it. Would you keep oil in? You know, that, that sort of thing. A container which was believed to have descended from heaven, you know, and been given to the first king, Clovis, who was baptized in 1496. And this was kept in France, the city of France, and the cathedral, which is where the French kings were crowned. So the coronation of the French Kings was a sacred event. It was a sacred anointing. In this particular way and therefore, of course, deeply rooted in the traditions of the Middle Ages and even to some degree in the kind of baptized paganism in which traditional Catholic medieval Catholicism represented. Another thing which the French kings were deeply into was touching people for the king's evil. The royal touch is one of those phenomena which we tend to forget about now. But what used to happen was that the king would assemble people once a year. Initially it was more often than that. And sometimes, you know, there were times when it was also more often, but it had become standardized by the 16th century. And what happened was that every year on Monday, Thursday, that is the day before a good Friday, people who suffered from a disease called scrofula, which is a kind of kind of acne, really, you know, it was a tuberculosis skin, tuberculosis of the skin that came about because of malnutrition. And you see insufficient diet and so on. Scrofula is as it sounds. Scr0fu l.a. People don't get it anymore. It's kind of like a scurvy of the skin, you know? But we have a better diet, so you never see anybody having it now.
But in the middle ages, it was quite common. And the belief grew up that if the king touched people who had the sores, you know, on their neck, and usually it was on the back of the neck, something like that, they would be healed. Of course, this was again, mythological, but touching for the King's evil was something which was done, you see, on an annual basis in both France and England. But the English custom grew up as a kind of rivalry with the French. You see, the French did it first and then the English said, Well, we've got to do this to show that we are just as holy and sacred as they are, you know? And so they took it over. I mean, that's that's what happened there. But it continued I mean, it continued in France. The last touching was in 1825 when the coronation of King Charles, the 10th in England. The last touching was in 1714. Queen Anne, After she died, it faded out. But people like Bonnie, Prince Charlie would say, who claimed the throne of England, did so by running around touching for the king's evil because they felt this was a way of demonstrating that they were the authentic rulers and see if they could prove that they healed people by touching them, that their claim to the throne would be strengthened. I see what I mean. It's to our way of thinking. It's extremely odd, but it was to have such a powerful hold on on people's minds that this this went on. And indeed, in England, to this day, on Monday, Thursday, the queen doesn't go around touching people. So for the king's evil, of course, but she does hand out money what is called the Maundy money.
She'll go to a particular cathedral and she'll hand out a penny for every year of her reign to a number of beggars. You know who corresponding to the number of years of her reign. So that this year is the 46th year of her reign. So she'll hand out 46 pants to 46 different so-called beggars. I mean, beggar a beggar today is somebody who didn't win the national lottery. Of course, you know, it's not quite the same thing as a 16th century beggar. But still, this carries on to this day and is a kind of survival of this tradition. Now, France, as I say, had had this in a highly developed way. And so the king, for his legitimacy, for his, you know, reinforcing his rule and so on, was to a much greater extent than we might today appreciate, tied to the traditional way of doing things. And it would take something dramatic like the need for a new wife, you know, to budge him from this. I mean, there had to be a good reason why for the king of France, you know, to to break with tradition. Had to be pretty desperate. In England, as we know, the king was desperate and therefore did break with these traditions or at least overcame them in one way or another. But in France, that did not happen. And, you know, by the time the Reformation had a chance of either impressing itself on the country, the moment for that had passed. As far as the royal family was concerned, I mean, it wasn't going to take place there. And so the French monarchy, as it were, never got to the point where it saw any advantage in throwing its lot in with the Protestant reformers.
That was one factor, very important factor to bear in mind. Another factor, though, is that support for Protestantism in France was very widespread, much more widespread than in England. I mean. Oh, but when Protestantism first made its appearance in England, nobody supported it. Or very few people. You know, I mean, Protestantism might have been supported by a couple of hundred people in the entire country. But but that was about it. I mean, it took a long time and very special circumstances for Protestantism to make a real headway. This was not true in France. In France, there were a lot of people who were interested in Protestantism for different reasons, in intellectual circles in Paris. It was very strong. A lot of the students were, you know, taken with this because, of course, the printing presses in Germany were pouring books and Protestant literature off the presses in the 16th century equivalent of CBD was at work. And you could you could get all this wonderful literature for almost nothing, you know. And so, of course, it made a tremendous impact on the student body in Paris in those days that perhaps I have to say this students didn't have to work for a living, you see, so that the time that you spend sort of earning your living, they spent reading books and therefore, you know, their studies made some impression on them in the years that they were there. It is quite different really from the modern approach anyhow. So there was a strong impact there. There were people in the French church. Bishops and people like that who resented Roman control, obviously, because it was new. It had been recently reimposed and all that kind of thing. So there were people like that, you know, who thought Protestantism would not be a bad idea.
And then there were still in France, a lot of powerful local aristocrats and so on different parts of the country who were semi-independent. I mean, increasingly, as I say, the French king was exercising control over them. But this was still a process which was developing in the 16th century. It hadn't reached the stage, which it was going to do under Louis, the 14th in the 17th century. So it was possible for Protestants to win over local rulers, if not quite in the same way as they did in Germany. Nevertheless, to a degree, which was quite unthinkable in England, where there were no local rulers to England, was a highly centralized state at this time, much more so than France. And this is what we see. In fact, people the kind of leadership of the Protestant people in France in the early 16th century, we find increasingly is in the hands of these local princes. Two of them have to be recorded because they were to have a great deal of influence in later times. One was the Prince of Orange or Haj, as it should be called. A heart is actually next door to Avignon, the tiny little place you can walk there from Avignon. It's not very far. It's only about five or six miles. And this this little principality, it was a kind of semi-independent place next to Avignon. The prince there was persuaded to accept Protestantism. And later on, as as we will discover, this French prince was invited by the Dutch cities to become their leader in the struggle against Spain. And therefore, the head of Protestantism in Holland and the House of Orange, you know, as the leader of the Dutch revolt and so on, became the ruling family of Holland, which it still is.
I mean, the present queen of Holland is a member of this of this family. And from the English speaking world's point of view, of course, the most famous member of it was really in the third who became king of England and who defeated the Catholics in places like Ireland. And this is why today Irish Protestants are Orangemen. You know, orange is their color because it comes from this, you say, from William, the Prince of Orange. So the conversion of this little village where really it was just a village to Protestantism was going to have long term consequences, which are still visible today. You know, at least if you go to Northern Ireland or somewhere like. That you'll still see it functioning today. The other little kingdom, a little place that was converted, or at least the ruler was converted, was Navarre down here in the Pyrenees. Now, I've already mentioned Navarre in the next in connection with Spain. But what I didn't say was that in 15, 12. The Spanish part of Nevada. Nevada. You see the 90% on the south side of the Pyrenees was occupied by Ferdinand, the husband of Isabella. Isabella had died in the mean time, but Ferdinand was still alive and he went and conquered it and added it to his own kingdom, leaving only 10% of what had been the country of Navarre, which was on the north side of the Pyrenees, you know, a sort of semi-independent little country, more or less vaguely attached to France. Now, the sister of the French, King Francis, the first Francois premier, married the king of Navarre, and she her name was Marguerite. And Marguerite, who became queen of Navarre, became the great supporter of the Protestants. She went down to Navarre and, you know, she provided a refuge, really, for them.
The great question, of course, was did Marguerite ever become a Protestant herself? Very hard question to answer. She was into Bible study, Bible reading and things like that. Yes. You know, and she supported a lot of reform reformers and so on. Yes. But how much she really understood of Protestant ideas is very hard to measure. You see, it's a very complex question. This doesn't really matter as far as we are concerned. For us, the important thing is she was prepared to support them and provide some kind of refuge and and resources for them. You know, when they got into trouble with her brother in Paris, which of course they did before very long. In 1534, there was an incident in Paris when somebody put a manifesto, you know, printed out a manifesto and posted it on various doorways and so on, including on the king's bedchamber, denouncing, transubstantiation, the mass and so on, and calling on the people of Paris, you know, to rise up in protest against the evils in the church, etc.. This was the excuse that the king needed, and perhaps the king even put the posters up himself. Well, you never know. Nobody really knows who did it, which is always very suspicious for banishing Protestants and anybody. A Protestant sympathies from Paris. One of the people so banned was John Calvin, who had in the months previous been attracted to Protestant circles. Calvin came from a place called Noel in northern France and had been sent by his father to study law in Paris mainly. His father was hoping that William Calvin would become a lawyer and improve the family fortunes and so on. He came, in other words, from a background very similar to that of Luther in that respect, a rising middle class type family.
He was born incidentally, in 1509 and lived until 1564. And does anyone know what the name Calvin means, by the way? What? Oh, yeah. Bold. Yeah, that's right. It's a Latin ization. It's cow, cow, cow. Venus. And that means that he's bald, no hair on his head, and probably in the dialect of his part of France. He would actually have been called Kovacs. Like that. The l would change to a U. And later on, of course, in standard French, it changed to show the so that chauvinism and Calvinism actually come from the same word originally they refer different people of course is is Chauvin was a different person to Calvin obviously, but it's the same origin. You see it's sort of you can define it as sort of dedication to boldness. But anyway, and just these odd historical coincidences. But yeah, so Calvin went as a young man to Paris where he studied law and theology, because in those days that's what you did, you know, I mean, you had a lot of the law was in anyhow connected with the church and this was taken for granted at the time there. He obviously came into contact with Protestantism, with reformed ideas and so on. And clearly he moved in those circles. But there's no very clear indication that he was converted in any way to them. I mean, this we're not sure about. What we know is that when the affair of the of the placa, as it's called, the placards, the the posters occurred, Calvin felt it was wisest to get out of town. And he went down to Navarre, which is the best place to go. And when he came back from Navarre nine months later, he was a dedicated reformer. That much we know.
So somewhere along the line around this time, Calvin moved over into the camp of the Protestants in a definite and clear way. It is typical of him that we really don't know any more about it. You know, Calvin never sort of bared his soul in public very much, and we don't really know very a lot about him as an individual. I mean, certainly nothing like what we know about Luther, a completely different sort of character. But Calvin, for what he lacked in sort of Hollywood, you know, box office appeal. And I'm not joking here because you can make people make films of Luther. I mean, you know, Luther's life is very, very easily dramatized, but no one would make a film of Calvin, you know? I mean, it would sink the Titanic in the first scene. I mean, you just wouldn't it wouldn't go anywhere. So, you know, Calvin was much more boring, boring the ordinary when it came to things like personality. But he was also much more systematic in his way of thinking. And this partly reflects the difference in education. You see a lot of the difference between Luther and Calvin can be put down to their different background. Luther had, after all, spent his years of preparation in a monastery. You know, he had whipped himself senseless, trying to sort of get rid of his sin and, you know, do things like that. Calvin did not Calvin spent his time reading law, you know, intending to become a lawyer. And so, I mean, I need hardly, you know, explain that this is about a different kind of activity. You know, he spent his time clipping other people's backs. You see, it's getting a different thing altogether. No, but I mean, it was it, you know, a completely different mindset and so on.
Calvin was infinitely more sophisticated than Luther. I mean, Luther had very little experience of life other than one trip to Rome, you know, which had horrified him and so on. But Calvin had spent all his youth in Paris, you know, and you remember the old sort of First World War song. How are they going to keep them down on the farm after they've seen Perry? Remember that? Well, you know, Paris is Paris, isn't it? It's not. And not the same as Wittenberg by a long way. And so Calvin rubbed shoulders and perhaps more with all sorts of people, you know, all over the place. And well, he really you know, he like if anything was going on, he knew about it, put it like that. It was a very different kind of. Environment two Luther who really came from a backwater. I mean, Wittenberg was about as exciting as Tuscaloosa. And, well, you know, it was because it was a university town in the middle of nowhere, basically. And and that's what it was. I'm not saying it was a bad thing or anything, but it was just different. And this shows in the way that Calvin writes. Of course, even before he started writing theology, Calvin produced a commentary on Seneca, the Roman philosopher Seneca. And this is always something which people hold up as a kind of a mystery thing because this commentary has survived and you can read it and sort of see how Calvin learned his technique of commenting on ancient texts from a secular source. Really? You see, he had a good literary education with which Luther didn't have any say. Luther's way of commenting on the Bible would be closer to somebody like Jimmy Swaggart than it would be to somebody like Calvin.
Now, really? Because, you know, he'd sort of go through and it would be what he felt. You know, I'm not trying to reduce Luther to that level, but you know what I mean? I mean, Luther sort of spoke from the heart and shot from the hip, you know, And if he didn't like something, he skipped over it. And if he liked it, he went on about it. And and it wasn't very balanced. You know, it wasn't a sort of systematic presentation. Calvin, of course, was systematic to the hilt. And this you can see as part of his university training in law, in rhetoric and theology. He carried this over with him. And this was going to serve him, of course, in very good stead later on, because his entire life was dedicated to a systematic exposition of the Bible and of Christian doctrine based on, you know, a logical set of principles. And this is why Calvinism, as a way of thinking, has had such a strong appeal over the years, particularly to people who have tidy minds and like organized thought, you know, if you like your theology neatly sewn up in an ordered boxes and you can sort of, you know, you have an answer for every question and that kind of thing. Calvin is very appealing because this is the way he approaches it. You see it in a systematic, methodical, A, B, C kind of way. I know the counterpoint was apparently more me. Yes. Yes. And even with Luther, it's much less so, really, because Luther was a you know, oddly enough, was a university professor. You know, he was a monk, but but he'd gone to the university professor. And so he wasn't really. No. Calvin, of course, only became a pastor in later life.
I mean, he had never done anything like that until he went to Geneva. You know, I mean, he had just a university education. So it's interesting that Calvin kind of grew into that. But also Calvin's idea of being a pastor was much more academic. I mean, he was he was a lecturer in public lecture as much as he was an actual pastor in his pastoral role. Kind of developed out of that, which was just as well, really. I mean, it was a great gift that he was able to do that, but that's where he's coming from, basically. Certainly Calvin had never spent a day in a monastery or anything like that. I mean, that was not his background. And so quite different, you see, from Luther in that respect. Anyhow, Calvin got back to Paris and Navarre, now a sort of red heart, Protestant and so on. But he couldn't stay in Paris. Life was not easy for people of those views at that time there. And so after a few weeks, he was on the move again. He went briefly to Italy, where he had some support early on, but then landed up in Geneva, where he was actually on his way to Strasbourg. He wanted to go to see Martin Brewster in Strasbourg, but he went via Geneva. And Geneva had just at that point thrown out its bishop and decreed in favor of the Reformation and the man who was running the show in Geneva. Who was a man called Pharrell Gillum. Pharrell persuaded Calvin to stay. I forget exactly what Pharrell did, whether he sort of locked Calvin in a room and threw away the key or threatened to throw away something like that. Anyway. It wasn't entirely a free choice on Calvin's part.
I mean, he got called. Calvin did his own thing, and the world got here. Yeah. Yeah, he. He used rather underhanded techniques. Yeah, that's right. And not too good. But anyhow, the result was that Calvin stayed in Geneva and began with Pharrell to sort of work the reformation of the city. This, of course, was not altogether popular because the citizens of Geneva had not thrown out their bishop just to be pushed around by a Frenchman. Because, of course, Geneva was not part of France. It still isn't. And you have to remember that, too. And Calvin was a foreigner there, and they weren't going to be pushed around by somebody like him. And so after initial attempts, I mean, it didn't last very long. Calvin was thrown out in 1536, and this is when he made his way to Busa, you see. And he said it was 15, 36, 15, 38, can't remember. 1538 he was thrown out. So he went to Geneva in 1536. He was thrown out in 1538, and he stayed in Strasbourg until 1541 when the citizens of Geneva repented, which is hard to believe, but apparently they did. And I guess two things were a bit of a mess in Geneva, because nobody knew quite what to do. You know, it was easy to throw people out, but not so easy to find a replacement. And Calvin went back in 1541 and remained there for the rest of his life. It is extremely important to remember that Calvin in Geneva had no official position in the city. Geneva was an independent city state. A It ruled over just about as much land as you could see by standing at the top of the cathedral tower in the city. And it's still the case today.
I mean, you can stand up in the center of Geneva and see just about the whole place, you know, and that was under their control. But as is often the case in city states, this was true in ancient Greece, and it's true in Switzerland. It still is true in Switzerland. Getting citizenship is not easy. You can't just sort of turn up and, you know, wait five years or something and fill in a form. It can sometimes take generations, you know, to become accepted as a citizen for the simple reason that the the place is too small. You see, everybody knows everybody else and they're all interrelated and so on. And if you let foreigners in, of course, you break up this happy family, you know, it's like trying to become governor of Alabama. If you're not related to a former governor and you have a problem and this sort of thing, you know, kind of run by it by the by the local elite. And Calvin was in this position for the whole time. I think he became he was allowed to become a citizen of Geneva. I think I'm right in saying the year before he died. Something like that. But anyway, I mean, it was very late and it didn't really mean much. This is important because it meant that Calvin could not hold any public office in Geneva as a foreigner if he had no official standing whatsoever. He remained until the end of his life nothing more than chief pastor of the Cathedral Church. That was all he was. This, of course, is rather like saying, which is also true, that Joseph Stalin was never any more than general Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He never held any official position in the government.
You know, he was never president and he was never head of the Soviet parliament or whatever it was called. And he was never anything officially. And you can look through all the official lists of those years and you won't find his name on any of them, because all he was, as I say, was general secretary of the Communist Party. Stalin learned, you see how to run things without actually having any. Apparently official title. And it's an interesting parallel because Stalin was also a foreigner in Russia. He was a Georgian. He wasn't a Russian. And there was a similar kind of you know, you're not terribly welcome here. So that attitude. So by by standing in the wings, you see you sometimes, depending on which particular wing or standing in, you can wield a lot of influence, you know, I mean, any any kind of tight society which is run by sort of arcane rules that nobody really understands is susceptible to this kind of management. I mean, some divinity school is a case in point. You know, I mean, Donna Hollis runs in divinity school. And, you know, the sooner you discover that, the happier person you will be. You know, I mean, there is absolutely no point in speaking to anybody else about anything. You might Well, you can I mean, it's very friendly if you do that, you know, you're basically wasting your time. And just because somebody wears a title like Dean or vice dean or a professor of this or that, I mean, it sounds good. You know, it doesn't mean anything. If you want something, you go to the person who counts. You think I'm joking? You try it. You know it's true. If you if you've ever tried to get anything done, you see what I mean? So this technique is not has not died with the passage of time.
You see, it's a question of finding out how a system works and then finding out who really runs it. Are you contrasting are you parallel, like literally Kelvin Calvinist? Now, I'm not saying that. I just say no. Well, I mean, the you know, no, to be fair, I mean, there's also something called the use that you make of your power and see, which is, of course, a different a different method by anybody, you know, whether they are seen as great or small, You know, and and it's hard to tell. You see probably be some divinity school outlived the Soviet Union, which already has outlived that but probably last longer. So, you know, you can't always tell they say this sort of way. But now the idea you see that the person with the title is not necessarily the person in charge. And this is very, very important when you come to discuss Calvin's Geneva, because, of course, all that went on in Geneva, the whole way in which Calvin conceived of the relationship of church and state in Geneva depends on this. In Calvin's entire understanding of of how a church should function is rooted in peculiar circumstances which he had to face in Geneva. And unless you realize that on paper he was a nobody, you know, he had no official standing, and yet he ran the place. You can't really understand what Calvinism Stroke, Presbyterian ism, etc. is all about. You see how it actually works. And therefore, of course, a whole major segment of Protestantism is incomprehensible. All right. Anyhow, we have to give this up for today. Will come back next Tuesday and pursue this a little bit further. And remember, if you want to drop out of this course between now and then, you know who you have to go and see.
Right? Okay. We'll see you soon.