Reformation Europe

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The implications of a division in
Christian Europe
 Lack
of security of persons and of
property: Chauvigny; Carcassone
 Despite the apparently unified nature of
western Europe in respect to Christianity,
the continent was deeply divided
politically. 1360 ; 1600
 Population
 Economy:
• Overwhelmingly agricultural and villages
• Feudal: no sense of public property; private
armies secured by personal oaths of allegiance
• Church ownership significant amounts of land
 Universities. Yes, primarily
for the study
of theology, philosophy, law, medicine -all directed at the support and/or service
of ecclesiastical and civil authorities.
 Lecture room; sample
The Reformation demolished any sense of religious and cultural unity
in Europe; political unity had been gone since the end of the Roman
Empire, tho the nostalgia for that unity remained real.
Divisions between Catholics and between the many Protestant sects; it
was not as easy to control dogma anywhere.
That does not mean that both Catholics and Protestants did not have
dogma, they did; moreover, religious toleration was not a feature of
Reformation Europe.
What was important here is that the monolithic structure of
Christianity was destroyed, and that ipso facto allowed for greater
individual and collective freedom to pursue / support research in areas
that were more willing to challenge the status quo.
For scholars and scientists lack of tolerance and dependence on a
princely patron meant that they always had to be ready to move to
another more tolerant venue (The Veneto and Holland especially were
open).
On the Catholic Church
Bear in mind that the Church was not
completely hostile to science. Consider the
work done (admittedly to determine the date of
Easter) that required considerable care and
insight, namely using cathedrals to measure
the sun. The device; the orb of the sun ; and
the system; and how it looks .
On the protestants
Even tho there is a clear movement toward
adopting a new cosmological perspective,
consider this comment from Luther: in one of
his Advent sermons . . . said, "The heathen[!!]
write that the comet may arise from natural
causes, but God creates not one comet that
does not foretoken a sure calamity." Again he
said, "Whatever moves in the heaven in an
unusual way is certainly a sign of God's wrath."
What conclusions do you come to?
What was different was the following:
 The development of national, secular and centralized
states whose structure was legitimized by the appeal
to reason (rather than religious belief).
 The growth of commerce and trade empowered a
bourgeoisie that needed education to run its affairs,
was more comfortable with "scientific" thinking, and
rejected excessive intrusions of religious belief.
The monopoly on knowledge by the priestly
caste was broken
• Governments found they could legitimize themselves by
supporting secular culture and learning [and be independent
of the Church!!]. This led to the foundation of academies of
science (very elitist) and eventually (after the French
Revolution) to the reorganization of universities and a
refocusing of attention on law and science.
• This trend was reinforced by the discovering of Roman law
and of scientific treatises (even of the twit Aristotle) of the
Greco-Roman period. Such materials were secular in character
and, by virtue of their antiquity provided an alternative to
church authority.
Europe did not become "liberal" in our sense of
the word
• Some areas (predominantly those with maritime and
commercial establishments, Netherlands, Venice)
were relatively more receptive to new ideas than
were others (where agriculture dominated and
feudalism persisted); scholars moved to where they
were valued .
• Invention of the printing press gave new meaning to
"open/public, sustained self-conscious reflection“.
Higher Education
• Universities remained very underfunded and very
much under the control of clerics, both protestant
and catholic (more in next class).
• Tho there were some exceptions (Padua in the
Veneto had both Galileo and Vaselius as professors,
and with the Netherlands was a center of
publishing), they remained under the control of
theologians of all faiths.
But there was competition.
The Jesuits, the Counter-reformation and Academies
Science sponsored by the Church was supported primarily in the
new Jesuit stations (like the Collegio Romano and on this square
in Rome]. Note the role of Jesuits in education between 1550
and 1615. Wherever the Jesuits went both in Europe and to the
East, they stressed education and astronomy. But the end of
the17th Cent the court astronomer of China was a Jesuit.
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