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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Delineations of the causes of the Reformation have long been synonymous with claims about its significance on a personal, spiritual, confessional, national, or world-historical level. Conversely, these levels have presented a single clear or overriding account of the causes of the Reformation (e.g., “Luther's Reformation was the work of the devil”; or “the Reformation reflected the rise of the bourgeoisie”), rather than a complex story of equal parts faith, force, and fortune. By exploring these complexities, scholars have shown that social and political causes of the Reformation were quite diverse, as were its intellectual origins. Historically speaking, the Reformation arose not from a shared doctrine of justification, nor from a vision of a church reformed according to Scripture, but from the common cultural challenges it addressed, and from the common solutions authorized by the Reformers’ diverse views.

Keywords: Reformation, causes of the Reformation, cultural history, gender, death, reform, Protestant theology, Europe

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