Martin Luther - Lesson 3

His Life and Times

Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 3
Watching Now
His Life and Times

I. The Increase of Power of European Monarchies under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V over Ecclesiastical Authorities

A. France

1. 14th Century Campician Kings

2. King Phillip crushed the Knights of Templar

3. Effects of the Hundred Years war with England

4. France's national identity began to superscede regional loyalties

B. England

1. Hundred Years war centralized the power from Royal Kingdoms

2. Power consolidated into the hands of the King

3. Under Edward I Parliament's power increased

4. Established the Tudor Monarchy

C. Spain

Isabella of Spain and Ferdinand of Aragon combined Kingdoms to form modern Spain

D. Germany/Italy

1. Power not yet formally centralized as in above examples

2. Independent regional administrative units comprised the area of modern day Germany and Italy


II. Money and Print Reach New Hands

A. Emerging of the Guilded class

1. Skilled craftsmen began acquiring increasing amounts of money

2. New class empowered by mobility, financial independence, literacy and autonomous thought

B. Printing Press

1. 1450 Guttenberg's Printing Press

2. Cheaper paper developed


III. The Rise of Anti-Clericalism

A. The Great Schism (1378-1417) - after 3 Popes had claimed authority of The Church, people began to question a single authority.

B. The Council of Constance (1414-1417)

C. The Renaissance Popes


IV. The Flourishing of Popular Religion

A. Endowed Mass and Pilgrimages

B. Confraternaties

C. Rituals Surrounding Death


  • Dr. Isaacs summarizes the course objectives and lists the recommended textbooks.
  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

  • Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Dr. Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther 
His Life and Times
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:02] What I'd like to do in our class sessions is start out with a little bit of Luther just to get a feel for him. Also, as a pastor, we sometimes think of Luther as the great reformer and a man who had prodigious thoughts and who wrote prolifically. Those things are very true. But one thing you also need to know about Luther, he was a pastor and he was a pastor not only in its official form because he was the preacher in the Wittenberg Chapel for a number of years. But also he he met with with students from his classes and has a wonderful pastoral heart, some marvelous stuff. So we'll start our classes with a little thought from Luther and a prayer as we get underway. Psalm 23 one reads in the following way The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. In this passage you hear that you are lost sheep. In this passage you hear that you lost sheep cannot find your way to the shepherd yourself, but can only roam around in the wilderness. If Christ, your shepherd did not seek you and bring you back, you would simply have to fall prey to the wolf. But now he comes, seeks and finds you. He takes you into his flock, that is, into Christendom through the word and the sacrament. He gives his life for you, keeps you always on the right path so that you may not fall into error. You hear nothing at all about your powers. Good works and merits. Unless you would say that it is its strength, good works and merit.

[00:01:57] When you run around in the wilderness and are defenseless and lost. No Christ alone is active here. Merits things, manifest his power. He seeks, carries and directs you. He earns life for you through his death. He alone is strong and keeps you from perishing, from being snatched out of his hand. And for all of this, you can do nothing at all, but only lend your ears. Hear. And with Thanksgiving, receive the inexpressible treasure. Learn to know well the voice of your shepherd. Follow him and avoid the voice of the stranger. Let's pause for prayer. Oh, dear Lord, God and Father enter not into judgment against us. Because no one living is justified before you do not count it against us as a sin that we are so and thankful for your ineffable goodness, spiritual and physical, or that we stray into sin many times every day, more often than we can know or recognize. Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been, but only upon the infinite compassion which you have bestowed upon us in Christ, your dear son. Amen. Okay, let's get underway here now with our lecture. The topic that we want to deal with today is Luther's Life and Times. As it's stated in your syllabus, we could title this on the eve of the Reformation because what we want to do today, in our brief time together is to think just a little bit about those forces that converged in the 16th century in order to produce what we have come to know as the Reformation. The 16th century time period was one of great foment and change in all ways politically, religiously. And there are a number of ways that we can follow this out in showing the forces that converged in order to produce the Reformation.

[00:04:14] One of the things that we'll want to talk about today is the growth of monarchy money and print some of the societal forces, the socioeconomic forces that were at work here need to be identified in some way. By the second half of the 15th century, European rulers had begun to solve two major problems, and the resolution of each proved important to the to the success of the Protestant Reformation. First, they gained military supremacy over internal rivals and learned to govern their realms through agents whose outlook and loyalty were national or territorial, rather than merely local or regional. In France, England, Spain, the city states of Italy and the larger German principalities, Landes were politically unified and administratively organized to a degree unknown during the Middle Ages. You know, it might be helpful if we just pause here to take a quick look at a map of. Europe. See what's going on with this deal. Roughly speaking, we've got France over here. We've got Italy down here. We have what was later to become Germany here and Bohemia and over here, Poland, the great democracy of the 16th century, and of course, the island empire of England over here, kind of off of our picture. But in this 16th century time period, tremendous changes were going on. And one of the things that took place is the rise of nationalism. You must remember that this area was known as the Holy Roman Empire, and it was a unified under the Holy Roman Emperor. And of course, it's it's said that this was the Holy Roman Empire was neither an empire nor was it holy. And the story that we you've been reading in over mind tells you a little bit about how some of the events took place.

[00:06:28] Charles The Fifth was elected the Holy Roman Emperor, and he had dominion over this entire area. Well, of course, you know, the administrative headaches involved with trying to to administer a unified policy over this kind of region is just absolutely impossible. You think about the different languages that were involved. We're talking French, we're talking Slavic, we're talking several different dialects of German. I mean, even today when you go to Germany, there are some 66 million people in the country of Germany, and it's about the size of the state of Oregon. And yet when you travel through that country, there are very diverse dialects. I happen to be in southern Germany at one time, and I was I was learning German at the Getty Institute and took a little jaunt over to a little bit more remote area. And there was a teenage boy and I was attempting to have a conversation with him. I was speaking Hoek Deutsch and he was speaking his dialect. We could not get through to each other. I mean, it was very different. So you can just imagine back in the 16th century, before the time of unified languages, last time we said that Luther's German Bible helped to create modern German as a language. Well before that time period, there were some very, very different dialects. So you've got all different kinds of stuff going on through this entire region. So there's tremendous difficulties in maintaining unity in this area. Well, in addition to this, the power of the papacy in terms of political force was waning. And further there was the rise of nationalism. So you had a number of different situations in which countries were emerging with their own ideas and their own ways of doing things.

[00:08:19] In France, the transition from feudal to the monarchy actually began with the capuchin kings back in the 14th century. Philip, the fourth, successfully contested the pope for the right to tax French clergy and make high ecclesiastical appointments that had been done by the Pope from Rome. And you see in these particular areas, the the Kings were saying, hey, what sense does that make? I know my country better. I want to make the appointments. And no doubt it wasn't always for altruistic reasons. The Kings no doubt wanted to have their hand in the collection plate. So there were a number of different forces that were at work. But nonetheless, in France we see that there is a move toward monarchy. In addition, Philip crushed the religious military order of Knights Templar. The Knights Templar was a was a group. It was an order set up during the Crusades, and they had special dispensation from the Pope to do particular kinds of activities. They were operating in France. And Philip the fourth put them down. The hundred Years War between France and England accelerated these developments. And what happened here was that through all of this movement, France began to have a national policy. It was not broken up into the feudal states run by the individual aristocrats as much as although that was still true, there was now beginning to be a national identity developing in France. France had further power when in a military victory. France is the first beat the forces of the Swiss and the papacy. Interesting that the papacy actually fielded forces in 1515 and had even more power than in France. Now, in England, the situation was a little bit different. We have in England the period of the 100 Years War, which helped to centralize the government there by forcing increased cooperation between King and parliament by appointed land holding families as royal justices of the peace and giving them responsibility for the administration of justice in their respective regions.

[00:10:56] The King cleverly transformed local magnates into royal agents, the self-interests of nobility. Clergy and townsman had long been protected by the Magna Carta, which was signed in 1215. This limited by law, the authority of the monarch, especially royal prerogative in taxation throughout the later Middle Ages. English kings chafed at this parliamentary reign on the growth of their power, and while never removing it, they did manage by the late 15th century to force the nation as represented by Parliament, to run in tandem with the monarchy. So beginning with Edward, the first who died in 1307, English kings both centralized their power and expanded the representation of parliament. Later on, Henry Tudor, who lived between 1485 and 1509, that's Henry the eighth father. He ended the internal division that had plagued England after the Hundred Years War by subjecting factious noblemen to the decisions of a special Royal Privy Council. The Court of Star Chamber, and by adroitly manipulating English law to the Crown's advantage. The King's Court relied more heavily upon Roman law, which exalted the sovereignty of the ruler as the embodiment of the people's will than upon the common law, whose respect for tradition and custom gave greater protection to regional interests. It was was another sign of the strength of the new Tudor monarchy that Henry, having secured his hereditary claim to the throne by marrying Elizabeth of York, the daughter of his rival, entered a foreign alliance with Spain by the marriage of his 15 year old son, Arthur, to Catherine of Aragon and Arthur after he died. Then Catherine was married to Henry the eighth. So what we have in England is we have a consolidation of power in the hands of the king. And this allows him to have a place that helps to challenge what had been the rule of religious law, canon law.

[00:13:18] And in England, they began to change their orientation there after the work of King Henry, the father. Also in Spain, there are a number of circumstances which move that nation into a position of national pride. Of course, you'll be familiar with the names of Isabella, of Steel and Ferdinand of Aragon. They created the modern state of Spain, and during the long reigns of Charles from 1519 to 1556, Emperor Charles the Sith and his son Philip, the second king of Spain. The consolidation of power continued in that country. Although the two kingdoms of Spain and Aragon remain constitutionally separated, the dynastic union gave each the military strength to subdue internal rivals, secure borders against French and Moslem aggressors, and venture abroad militarily as an international power. And of course, this is the time frame in which Christopher Columbus comes to the new world and there becomes a trickle, which was later to become something of a stream of power in the form of gold that came back to Spain. So this is an important turn of events for Spanish nationalism. Neither Italy nor Germany achieve the national unity of France, England or Spain during the later Middle Ages. But they did manage to increase governmental control in these areas, and this administrative centralization occurred in both lands at regional and local levels. The great cities of Italy absorbed their surrounding countryside and evolved into genuine territorial states, in most instances ruled by hereditary princes. In Germany, as in Italy, administrative centralization was achieved only regionally. It wasn't until much later on that Germany really came together as a unified nation state. The roots of German division traced back at least to the reign of Emperor Frederick, the second who lived between 12, 15 and 1250, who, in pursuit of imperial claims to southern Italy, touched off a decades long papal offensive against his dynasty that effectively ended it by the mid 13th century.

[00:15:57] Emperor Maximilian, the first who lived between 1493 and 1519, further strengthened the German princess. You see, Emperor Maximilian. The first was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. That's his role here. He strengthened the German princes by concessions made at a meeting of representatives of the three main political bodies of the empire, the seven electors, the numerous non electoral princes, and the approximately 75 Imperial Free cities in terms in 1495 desiring peace within the Empire in order to secure German soldiers for his own armies. The Emperor granted German requests for a ban on inter-regional feuding and the establishment of an Imperial Supreme Court, a judicial body chosen for the greater part by the Germans themselves. So Germany, you see, the Syrian here, is receiving some new freedoms. They have a judicial system that is chosen by Germans for Germans, and there's an increasing national interest. This movement in a nationalism and a rising monarchy helps to allow the Reformation to succeed. It is so precisely because the papacy no longer has absolute control in these regions, so that when a religious difference arises, they cannot squash it through power as they might have been able to do in an earlier time. Now, one of the other things that we need to mention that allowed the Reformation to take full root in the European landscape is the growth of a moneyed class and the growth of the printing medium. There is a growing well, one might call it a middle class, although that might be to overstate the case. There was a growing group of people who were no longer dependent on the land for their income. The peasants had a terrible time of it during this time period, and later on in our course will have occasion to run up against what's known as the peasants War of 1525 or the peasants revolt.

[00:18:23] Their grievances were many and their lives were hard, very harsh. But there was an emerging class of guilds, men and skilled craftsmen, who, by plying their trade, were able to acquire a little bit more personal wealth than peasants. They gathered to the cities and they joined together in guilds, which gave them a little bit more clout. Further, there was a rising this. This was the rising moneyed class and the exchange of money as opposed to barter or trade for goods was increasing. So a money economy was emerging. This allowed the monarchs in their respective nations to have greater flexibility in terms of how they ran their government. And it also meant that the economic structure was changing so that the exchange of money allowed for for greater mobility. People could move more freely with a little bit of money in hand. One could do a great deal more than if one had to rely strictly and solely on trade. So this rise in the money class and this the guilds, was an important reason the Reformation could flourish because it meant that there was a cluster of people who now had a greater degree of independence, not only in terms of their livelihood and their welfare, but also these were individuals that were seeking new thoughts, were trying new things. There was a new atmosphere of adventure in terms of this gilded class, and they wanted to think their own thoughts. So a rising population in the cities then set the stage for the dissemination of reformation ideas. There was a growing pool of people in these urban centers that were very open to the new kinds of ideas that the Reformation was bringing. Further, are many of these individuals had some degree of education and there was a greater likelihood that it would be in this class that you would find individuals who had the ability to read.

[00:20:46] We have to say that the discovery and the increased use of the printing press is another reason why the Reformation could really take hold and flourish during this time period. Gutenberg had developed movable type, and this printing press made it possible for a great deal of identical copy to be produced and disseminated widely. Now, when you think about it, this was really dramatic. This was a radical change. And perhaps it's difficult for us to to really know how radical this was. But when you think about what it took to copy out a Bible by hand, the monks in the Middle Ages, the scribes who had the the mandate to copy books had to do so on sheets of parchment, which was made from split sheepskin or calfskin. It was otherwise known as vellum. An expensive and time consuming process for one of these scribes to copy a Bible. It required 170 calf skins or 300 sheep skins. Think about it. To have one copy of the Bible then was an incredibly expensive venture, and that's why there weren't very many of them. BLOCK type printing had existed since the high Middle Ages, but it was slow and it was really incapable of mass production. So when Yohannes Gutenberg introduced in the City of Mines around 450, the movable metal type, it made possible this business of identical copies of a single text rapidly and economically produced. Accompanying this divine art was another technological achievement of the 15th century. The perfection of a process of cheap paper manufacture together movable type and cheap paper released a flood of books and pamphlets upon Western Europe. There was a growing literate audience and they were waiting for this new stuff to come off the press. This was an incredible phenomenon.

[00:23:15] During the period between 1315 hundred, a number of European universities rose rose from 20 to 70, and the same period saw a boom in the construction of new residential colleges. 66 were built in France, 21 in England, 15 in Italy and 16 in Germany. It's been estimated that through the this rising university population, between three and 4% of the population in the 16th century could read. So like television in the modern world, the book and pamphlet became powerful tools of social and political change in the 16th century. Publishers found themselves in a very profitable business, which brought them not only fortunes, but also international fame and influence. Today, we wouldn't necessarily think of book publishers as being, you know, a high profile job, but in the 16th century it was. And you'd be a big name if you were a publisher. Sometimes these publishers would print books that came to them. Sometimes they published books, a clandestine league. There was you know, there were certain list of people that you weren't supposed to publish. And so when these books were banned and you know what it's like to ban a book in Boston, it just drives up the demand. And so these book publishers oftentimes became very well known as they plied their trade. Now the ability to read, nurture, the self esteem and the critical temper of the laity. The universal availability of common texts also made it possible for the first time to speak meaningfully of the authoritative version. And one thing that has to be said here is that there was a whole bunch of critical editions that came out during this time period. There was a new critical edition of Augustan, which was written. And Luther studied from that. In 1516, Erasmus of Rotterdam published a critical edition, as it were, of the New Testament.

[00:25:33] And this New Greek Testament was powerfully important for the humanists as they began to study scripture from the authoritative text. And so this business of the true account, the original, the authoritative version, became discussed in a new way during the 16th century also. What this did is it caused there to be a new ability to critically read what had been put out before. There was a document entitled The Donation of Constantine. In this document, it was asserted that Constantine had handed over not only the power of the state, but had. Well, he had handed over the power of the state to the papacy so that the papacy had not only therefore the power over one's spiritual life, but also had power in the political realm. So there was a symbol of the papacy which showed the key the keys, namely of absolution. So they have the power of releasing you from sin. But secondarily, there was also a sword, and the sword was the power of the sword, namely political power. It was on the basis of this document, the donation of Constantine, that the papacy had asserted its power in both realms, plenary power, and on the basis of the knowledge that these critical editions began to disseminate. There was a fellow, a humanist by the name of Vala, who did a bit of a study on the donation of Constantine as a text and found that the text was a total fraud. This was a tremendous scandal in the 16th century, all brought about by the work of new printed materials. See the medieval church, fearing the social consequences of religious egalitarianism, had always forbidden the circulation of vernacular Bibles among the laity and had vigorously suppressed the gospel translations of groups like the Waldensians and the Wycliffe Bible of the Lawless with the appearance of the printing press.

[00:28:00] Such tight control ceased to be possible. A tool of censorship that had been seen only limited that had seen only limited use during the Middle Ages was now increasingly relied upon. And during this time period, there was an index of forbidden books which gained prominence, and that was the way that they attempted to keep the laity from reading materials that they felt would be negative in their effect. So the printing press is really an important factor in all of this. A couple of things should be said. There might be one or two of you here in class that are interested in this whole business of of printing and how ideas were disseminated in the 16th century. Some very interesting studies have been written on this material. Peter Matheson's The rhetoric of Reformation is one. In that book he says this The coincidence of the spread of reformation ideas with the availability of the new technology of printing led to the emergence for the first time in European culture of a genuine public opinion. He asserts further, the Reformation took hold because of a paradigm shift in the religious imagination. What he claims is this There were lots of pamphlets that were published and they call them flub letter pamphlets, money from work, you know, kind of smudgy and, you know, maybe a bit crude by our standards, but they were disseminated and discussed. And when you think if only three or 4% of the population could read, well, then how did this news get out? Well, usually someone who could read would get one of these pieces. They would read it and they had news then and they would go to the miller, They would sit down and have lunch there. They would go to the tavern.

[00:29:51] They would go to the church. And there was a lot of hubbub. And the social web and the transference of ideas was really very much of a folk society kind of thing. If you knew somebody, the news would travel fast. Word of mouth. One or two people having read the material. But then think about this. How how did the ideas get transferred then? It's by mouth. It's the written page which allows the ideas to spread all across Europe. But the majority of people who actually came in contact with those ideas heard them orally. And it's no wonder, then, that many of these early pamphlets are excerpts from sermons and other oral kinds of presentations. So a fascinating little chapter. Then add that to some of the stuff we talked about last time, about Luther as a Word event. And you begin to understand there's some very interesting connections in the 16th century time period. By 1520, Luther had published some 30 tracts or books, and they had sold over 600,000 copies, according to one estimate. Quickly, his ideas were being read and digested, refashioned for, and resold the clergy and laypeople alike. While Luther may not have always been understood as he wished to be understood, he was the dominant publicist during the crucial years of the early reformation. More than 20% of the pamphlets published in Germany between 1515 30 came from his pen. Amazing. He really was an event, and it's hard for us to imagine what society transforming event, the movable type really ended up being. I suppose we could liken it to the transformation of our own society with the the personal computer. Incredible. What changes have taken place because of that? Well, in like manner. Luther's use of the printing press launched him into international fame overnight.

[00:32:05] So all of these things are incredibly important for the success of the Reformation. I want to mention also the rise in anti papal ism and anti-clerical ism. This is an event or this is an aspect of this reformation time period which cannot be underestimated. When I talk about anti papal ism here, we're talking about the institution of the papacy. It's not about the individual popes as such. But there was great misgivings. There were great misgivings about the institution of the papacy. And there had been a number of individuals who had spoken out against the papacy, not the least of whom was John Wycliffe. He wrote against the institution of the papacy and had many scathing things to say about that institution. But the rise in anti-people ism, I suppose, really in some respects came out more because of the way that the institution was handled. There was the so-called great schism between 1378 and 1417. There was not simply one pope, but at one time as many as three popes. So who is the head of the church? Well, the head of. Well, the real head of the church. Please stand up. This was a very difficult situation. The Great schism began on the death of Gregory the 11th. An Italian faction was led by Herb in the sixth, and a French faction was led by Clement the seventh. And this situation continued until 1417, when the Council of Constance elected Martin the fifth as pope. And for a brief period of time, as I said, around 1409, there were three claimants to the papacy. So this was really a scandal. The lay people didn't forget this. This was a tremendous scandal against the church and the unity of the body of Christ and even the institution of the papacy.

[00:34:11] So that it was all the more galling when on the 16th century, the popes attempted to reassert their power over the laity, claiming that the papacy had a final say over political affairs as well as spiritual affairs. So the great schism was a point of real scandal. The Council of Constance, which was convened in 1414, was convened in order to deal with three pressing matters heresy, the schism and the reform of the church in head and members. The first action of the Council of Constance was to depose John the 23rd for scandalous behavior, recognizing the Council's power and determination. The Roman Pope, who at that time Gregory the 12th, abdicated to it on July the fourth, but only after formally reconvening it on his own authority, since he did not recognize the legitimacy of its convocation by John the 23rd and presumably the legality of the legislation it had passed in the intervening months. Gregory's action left sacrosanct a dubious document in the eyes of the Roman church authority, even though it made possible the healing of the schism and the reestablishment of the Roman line of popes. The council later deposed the Avignon Pope Benedict the 13th, who had refused to recognize any of its proceedings before electing the Cardinal deacon Otto Colonna, as Pope. Martin The fifth on November 11th, 1417. Here's a little picture of this coronation. It gives you a feel for the time period and the kind of art that was produced during this time period. The woodcuts, very interesting. Consecration of Pope Martin the Fifth. And this picture is taken from does conceal you. So with Martin the Fifth, the schism came to an end. But if the schism came to an end, certainly not. The problems there continued to be severe issues, not the least of which happened to be the presence of the hussite.

[00:36:59] Now, we had mentioned very briefly John Wycliffe. His dates are 13, 29 to 1384. So he lived just prior to this Council of Constance. He has been sometimes been called the morning star of the Reformation. And while much could be said about him and no doubt many books read, we can say just a few things about his teachings. To give you kind of a window, an insight into what he was about, he attacked the institution of the papacy and he wrote against it. He repudiated indulgences he wanted or he desired the abolishment of religious orders. He was in opposition to the doctrine of transubstantiation, but he did hold to a real presence in the Lord's Supper. And finally, he said that civil government had the right to seize property of immoral clerics. So, John, with Cliff's cluster of doctrinal interests, set him at radical odds with the papacy. Now, very interestingly, during this time, there was a connection between England and Bohemia, and there was a young man, a young man by the name of John Lewis, who traveled from Bohemia and went over and studied at Oxford. And so there was a lot of exchange between England and Bohemia. And Bohemia had a fair amount of freedom at this time period, so much so that there was a revolt. And John Hus and a few others pressed for reforms and indeed they received them. They were able to have the Lord's Supper in both kinds, and they had the power to appoint their own priests and bishops. They had enough of a military power so that the papacy dare not thwart their interests. But an interesting thing took place here. There's a this this movement here. They were called the ultra Quests, which has to do with the the Latin phrase, which refers to receiving the sacrament in both kinds.

[00:39:26] There was an interesting thing that that that happened. The papacy was unhappy with this, with this request. And so they were out of communion with Rome. And the pope did not assign an archbishop to Bohemia. So they were without. So then the problem was this how are the bohemians going to continue with a regular ordained priesthood? What they did is they sent their candidates, their priest, the candidates, down to Rome to study and to gain their theological understanding. And when they were down there, they had to make a pledge that when they returned to Bohemia, they would communicate their parishioners only in one kind. That was the form of the time, and that is what they did when they came back to Bohemia. However, the consistory there told them, You'll not be allowed a place to minister unless you promise that you will communicate, communicate your parishioners in both kinds. So it's a case of duplicity. And everyone knew it. But that's what obtains in the sacrament. You have bread and wine. Those are the two elements. When a priest communicated an individual in the 16th century, they only gave them the bread. The reason is because, according to the doctrine of transubstantiation, which is an Aristotelian explanation of how the elements, the bread and the wine become the body and blood of Christ at the words of consecration, they were concerned. You see, that the laity, the stupid laity, might spill a drop of the wine and thus desecrate the blood of Christ. So in order to be safe, they simply communicated in one kind, stating theologically that the entire Christ is to be found in the one element. But the Hussite said, Wait a minute, that's not Bible. The Bible says Jesus broke bread and gave it to his disciples and took the cup and gave both.

[00:41:30] And so this was in part lay a revolt against this theological imposition. So it's a very interesting kind of a difference. It takes place between the Bohemians and the Roman Curia because Huss was declared a heretic, and later on he was called to the Council of Constance to stand trial. Well, to to give an account of his teaching. And John Hus was naive enough to think that talking would cure the problem. But that is not what took place when he came down to the Council of Constance. He was thrown into prison, languished there for some six months, and then finally they burned him at stake. And you see, you have to understand that during this time period, it was the belief that it was not necessary. So he was originally given a safe conduct from Prague down to Constance, where this council was being held free and a safe, safe conduct, which meant that he could go and come as he pleased. But during this time period, it was believed that one did not have to keep one's word to a heretic. So he was found to be a heretic and he was burned at the stake. And so it's very interesting then that later on what you find is that Luther is called the Saxon Huss. Two reasons for that. First of all, has had a particular view of the church. And he claims that the that councils actually had more power than the pope. You see, there are two movements here. The conciliar movement. Okay, Let's just back up one moment. How do we determine who is authoritative? How do we determine what is orthodox in the church? Is it the pope or is it the council? Who has authority? Does the pope have power over the council or does the council have power over the pope? Well, John just said it's the council.

[00:43:43] And the pope, of course, said it was the pope. And so you had this this controversy that went on. There were two movements. The conciliar movement continued to want to gather a council in order to reform the church. Everyone knew that there were a number of things that needed to be reformed. And so they. Called for that kind of counsel. The curious lists believed that it was the Curia that held the ultimate power for determining orthodoxy in the church. And so during the course of time between the Council of Constance and the Reformation, there was a lot of discussion between these two parties trying to sort out this particular issue. Okay. So enough about the great schism in the Council of Constance to give you a feel for what this might have done to the to the body politic and indeed to the self-concept of the church during this time period. A great scandal within the papacy itself, which caused a rise in anti people feeling. There was not much trust there. This was you know, this was exacerbated by the Renaissance popes. Boniface the eighth, Julius the second and Leo the 10th Renaissance popes. These individuals came from the aristocracy. They had money in their background. They had fine educations. They had a taste for the arts. And they had much not much care or concern for the church. And this is a bad combination. It's said that during the period of the Renaissance popes, there were a tremendous number of illegitimate children spawned by the popes. Julius the second is called the Warrior Pope. He gathered troops in order to expand the boundaries of the papal states. So he actually took the field of battle in order to expand the power of the papacy during this time.

[00:45:47] Of course, is tremendously scandalous. And there's a mocking account of this whole affair where Julius, the second supposedly comes up to the pearly gates and he's turned away. But there's a flourishing of popular religion during this time period. There is a tremendous outpouring of public piety, piety of the laity in which they were seeking to assuage that that afflicted conscience. And there were a number of things that they did in order to exercise their popular religion, to happen to be endowed masses and pilgrimages. It was common for the very rich to approach a monastery with a sum of money and say, please say a certain number of masses for me and I'll give you this money so that it'll pay for your expense to do that. And thus the rich believed that they would receive extra merits. It would be time off of their expected stay in purgatory. And so they pursued endowed masses. Pilgrimages were of the same sort. It was said that if you went on pilgrimage, for example, there was a place called the Sancta Scala, Don in Rome. And according to legend, these 29 steps had been outside the home of Pontious pilot. And if you went up the Sancta Scala on your knees saying, and our father Paternoster and our father on each step, that you would be able to release one soul out of purgatory. So there was there was a a piety that was associated with this this notion of penance and in doubt, masses and pilgrimages were part of it. Another part of the flourishing popular religion had to do with the relics of the saints. There are some very interesting things which could be said about this. There was a great storehouse of treasures in Rome.

[00:48:11] This comes out of Roland Bateman's book. Here I stand here in the single crypt of Saint Callistus. 40 popes were buried and 76,000 martyrs. Rome had a piece of Moses burning bush and 300 particles of the Holy innocents. Rome had the chains of Saint Paul and the scissors, which Emperor Domitian clipped the hair of Saint John. There were all kinds of relics that were to be found in Rome, and many people would go on pilgrimage to Rome in order to get the benefits of those further. Even in Saxony, Frederick had built up a collection of relics that was really quite amazing. The collection that Frederick had included one tooth of Saint Jerome of Saint Chrysostom, four pieces of Saint Bernard, six and of Saint Augustine, four of our Lady, four hairs, three pieces of her cloak, four from her girdle, and seven from the veil sprinkled with the blood of Christ. The relics of Christ included one piece from his swaddling clothes, 13 from his crib, one wisp of straw, one piece of gold brought by the wise men, and three of the myrrh, one strand of Jesus beard, one of the nails driven into his hands and one piece of bread eaten at the last supper. One piece of the stone on which Jesus stood to ascend into heaven. And one twig of Moses burning bush. By 1520, you get a lot of this. The collection had mounted to 19,013. Holy Bones. Those who viewed these relics on the designated day and made the stipulated contributions might receive from the Pope indulgences for the reduction of purgatory, either for themselves or others to the extent of 1,902,202 years, 270 days. These were the treasures made available on the on the Day of All Saints.

[00:50:19] So there was a tremendous cult of relics. Cult of the saints and relics were incredibly important. We'll have the opportunity to talk just a little bit more next time about the whole business of indulgences. So we'll pass by that right now. But there's a tremendous flourishing of popular religion rather than lessening. There's a growing amount of public outpouring of religious sentiment. One of the things that we have to say is Confraternity is very briefly, these have been referred to sometimes as brotherhoods. You might run across that in your reading. Essentially a confraternity or brotherhood. Was this a group of people just say our class were to join into a confraternity. We would gather, we'd covenant together and we might pool our money each throw in a certain amount of money, and then we could approach a monastery as a group and say, Please say so many masses for us as a group. And that way you get the most bang for your buck. In addition, it might well be that I have in mind that Sunday I really can't make it to worship because I've got some work to do in the workshop or whatever, and I would clandestinely move to that because it was not allowed, but I would do that. But if Robert from our Brotherhood were to go to Mass, he would receive the merits of the mass. And because we were in a confraternity together, the merit of that mass would be transferred to me. So you see, the whole business of public piety in many ways had been reduced to a commercial transaction having to do with the overflowing of the merits of the Saints in exchange for the covenant of a brotherhood plus a few florins that you would throw into the box.

[00:52:18] So this this aspect of popular piety once again presented the Christian faith in a particular light, one which Luther thought particularly reprehensible. And he was not the only one. Obviously, Huss and Wickliffe before him had spoken out against indulgences, but reform had not taken place. And so this was a continuing problem during the Ice Age ritual surrounding death. We're beginning to run out of time here, so we'll just give this a little less time than perhaps we could. Nicholas Manuel wrote a play which was performed in 1523 during Lent. The play was entitled Ditto Confessor or the Devours of Death in the six Act Drama. There are 16 devours who, through a series of soliloquies, show their own self-interest in the very lucrative arrangement surrounding death. As the first act begins. A priest and a sacristan warned the audience to the topic or warm the audience to the topic. While the Saints Peter and Paul watch in puzzlement in the background. The priest praises death as a great windfall, stating simply, The more the better. The author then puts words in the mouth of the Pope, who promises to keep suspicious laymen in their place with the use of the ban or excommunication. The Pope's soliloquy reaches its height with a eulogy for the dead. Here, the pope runs to a list of popular lay grievances against the papacy, including burdensome church offerings, indulgences that do nothing except make men fearful of penance. The doctrine of. Purgatory. The fear of Hell. The annual masses for the Dead, which bring in a great deal of money. And for all these and more. The Pope is thankful to the end. Who made it possible for us to fleece the living? So you see what happens surrounding death.

[00:54:17] Just a couple of things. It used to be said that if before your death, you as a layperson put on the cowl of a monk, you would be assured of entering into paradise immediately. Of course, for this privilege, there was a fee to be paid in like manner if you wanted to have extreme unction. That is the prayer of the priest. Just before your death, once again, there was a fee to be paid. So in all of these things, the lady became just upset with how the church seemed to be more interested in making a profit than caring for their real needs. There is a particularly interesting example of church presumption that took place in England. The so-called Hun affair involved the petty fiscal burdening of laity by clergy, in this case by charging a mortuary fees. In 1511, Richard Hahn, a London merchant with Lawlor sympathies, refused to pay for the burial of a deceased infant. The officiating priest, apparently beset by many examples of such lay resistance to clerical authority, determined to make an example of him and summoned him before a church court. Hun countersued the priest, arguing on grounds of common law that a church court had no proper jurisdiction over laymen. By 1514, the of the affair had reached the Bishop of London, who brought full heresy proceedings against Hahn, charged, among other things, with possessing a lawless Bible. Hun was sent to Bishop's prison, where two days later he was found hanged in his cell. Church officials insisted that his death was a suicide, but all save the most naive knew that his guards had executed him. Two weeks later, to the outrage of many, the church burned his corpse for heresy. This display of Episcopal arrogance received only an indirect civil censure in 1515.

[00:56:20] So you can see with examples like this the state of affairs. There was a tremendous amount of anti-clerical ism that was rising in the populace, which also allowed the Reformation to take hold and indeed fanned the flames of reformation. All ideas that came through some of Luther's pamphlets. These are some of the impulses on the eve of the Reformation that allow the Reformation to take hold and to spread like wildfire.