Skip to main content

The Reformation and Religious Change

| Discussion topics | Documents | Audio | Reading |

Discussion topics and Essay Questions

· Why did Luther's ideas find such a receptive audience in Germany in the early years of his protest against Rome?
· Should the Lutheran Reformation in Germany be regarded as a success or a failure?
· What was 'new' about Martin Luther?
· To what extent was the Reformation an urban event?
· 'The German Reformation had more to do with politics than principles.' Discuss.


**NOTE: Some eresources are accessible only on-campus or via off-campus proxies or the athens service**





·Martin Luther, 'Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation' (1520) excerpts
·Martin Luther, Ninety-Five Theses (1517)
·Exsurge Domine (papal encyclical, 1520)
·Luther, The German Mass and Order of Divine Service (1526)
· The Augsburg Confession
·The Augsburg Confession (in French)
· German Bible, translated by Luther (1541 edn)

·Luther - The Movie (DVD, 2003): Trailer
·Luther Debates with the Catholic Clergy
·Lutheran Eucharist
·Lutheran Preaching
·Lutheran Church Service
·Lucas Cranach the Younger, Last Supper of the Protestants and the Pope's Descent into Hell (c.1540)
·Cranach the Younger, Difference between the Protestant and Catholic service
· Portraits of Luther 
· Portrait of Melanchthon
·Deutsche Messe, 1526 example of adapted chant in the new German Liturgy.

Interactive DVD

The English Parish Church Through the Centuries, ed. Dee Dyas (Christianity and Culture, 2010), section 'Reformation': featuring relevant texts, images, audio and videos

Audio Links

'Historical Association' podcast series on 'The Reformation' (2010), featuring talks by Henry Cohn, Beat Kümin, Peter Marshall and Penny Roberts.
'The Reformation': podcast discussion of David Cayley with Torrance Kirby, Matthew Milner and Robert Tittler ('The Origins of the Modern Public', part 2)
Radio 4 'In Our Time' discussion on Luther and the 'City of Worms'
Luther, Hymn: 'A Mighty Fortress' ('Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott')

Lecture Video
'The Causes of the German Reformation' (Beat Kümin, for the MASSOLIT website)

Secondary literature

General Reading

  • E. Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford, 1991)
  • P. Collinson, The Reformation (2003)
  • A. G. Dickens, Reformation and Society in Sixteenth-Century Europe (1966)
  • C. S. Dixon and M. Greengrass, 'The Protestant Reformation: Religious Change and the People of Sixteenth-Century Europe' 1997 (online tutorial; currently with limited remote access)
  • M. Greengrass, Longman Companion to the European Reformation (1998)
  • Larson, J. L., Reforming the North: The Kingdoms and Churches of Scandinavia (Cambridge, 2010)
  • C. Lindberg, The European Reformations (1996)
  • D. MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (2003)
  • P. Marshall, The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction (2009)
  • P. Matheson (ed.), Reformation Christianity (2006)
  • A. McGrath, Reformation Thought (1988; second edn 1992)
  • A. Pettegree (ed.), The Early Reformation in Europe (1992)
  • “ , Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (2005)
  • R. Po-Chia Hsia (ed), Cambridge History of Christianity, Vol. 6: Reform and Expansion, 1500-1660 (2007)
  • U. Rublack, Reformation Europe (2005)
  • A. Ryrie (ed.), Palgrave advances in the European Reformations (2006)
  • Scott Dixon, C., Protestants: From Wittenberg to Pennsylvania (Oxford, 2010)
  • R. Scribner et al. (eds), The Reformation in National Context (1994)
  • J.D. Tracy, Europe's Reformations, 1450-1650 (1999)
  • ‘Women and the Reformation’: essays by Roper and Wunder in ARG (2001)

Luther and Lutheranism

  • P. Blickle, The Communal Reformation (1992)
  • P. Blickle, The Revolution of 1525 (1982)
  • H .J. Cohn, ‘Anticlericalism in the German Peasants War 1525’, P&P 83 (1979)
  • C.S. Dixon (ed.), The German Reformation (1998)
  • “ , The Reformation in Germany (2002)
  • G.R. Elton (ed.), NCMH vol. 2 (1990 edn), chs by Scribner & Press
    S. H. Hendrix, 'Loyalty, Piety, or Opportunism: German Princes and the Reformation', Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Autumn, 1994)
  • R.P. Hsia (ed.), The German People and the Reformation (1988)
  • J.M. Kittelson, ‘Successes & failures in the German Reformation: Strasbourg’, ARG 73 (1982)
  • “ , Luther the Reformer (1989)
  • M. Kolb, ‘Martin Luther and the German Nation’, in: Hsia, R. (ed.), A Companion to the Reformation World (2002)

    J. L. Larson, Reforming the North: The Kingdoms and Churches of Scandinavia (2010)

  • A. McGrath, ‘Justification and Reformation’, ARG 81 (1990)
    D. McKim (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther (2003)
  • B. Moeller, Imperial Cities and the Reformation: Three Essays (trans.1972)
  • M.A. Mullett, Martin Luther (2004)
  • Nelson Burnett, Amy, ‘The Social History of Communion and the Reformation of the Eucharist’, Past and Present, 211 (2011), 77-119.
  • H.A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and Devil (1990)
  • L. Palmer-Wandell, The Eucharist in the Reformation (2006)
  • A. Pettegree (ed.), The Reformation world (2000)
  • T. Scott, ‘The common people and the German Reformation’, HJ 34 (1991)
  • “ , 'The Peasants War: A Historiographical Review', Part I & Part II, HJ (1979)
  • “ & B. Scribner (eds), The German Peasants’ War: A History in Documents (1991)
  • B. Scribner & G. Benecke (eds), The German Peasants War of 1525: New Viewpoints (1979)
  • R.W. Scribner, For the Sake of Simple Folk (1994)
    ", The German Reformation (1986) SLC
    ", ‘Incombustible Luther’, Past and Present (1986)
  • “ , Popular culture and popular movements in Reformation Germany (1987)
  • “ , Religion and Culture in Germany 1400-1800, ed. L. Roper (2001)
  • G. Strauss, ‘Success and failure in the German Reformation’, P&P 67 (1975)

Zwingli and the Early Swiss Reformation

  • A. N. Burnett and E. Campi (eds), A Companion to the Swiss Reformation (2016)
  • B. Gordon, The Swiss Reformation (Manchester, 2002)
  • G. R. Potter, Zwingli (1976)