Protestants: A History from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania 1517 by C. Scott Dixon

By C. Scott Dixon

Protestants: A historical past from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania, 1517-1740 provides a complete thematic background of the increase and impression of the branches of Christianity that emerged out of the Protestant Reformation.Represents the one English language single-volume survey of the increase of early smooth Protestantism from its Lutheran beginnings in Germany to its unfold to AmericaOffers a thematic method of Protestantism via tracing its improvement in the social, political, and cultural context of early smooth EuropeIntroduces leading edge argument that the relevant dynamic of Protestantism used to be no longer its fight with Catholicism yet its personal internal dynamicBreaks from conventional scholarship through arguing that the increase of Reformation Protestantism lasted a minimum of centuriesUnites previous global and New international Protestant histories

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From the work of Nicholas of Cusa and Gregor Heimburg to the Grievances of the German Nation (Gravamina nationis Germanicae), the underlying thread was the desire to invest the German church with its own legitimacy and remove Rome from national affairs. Typical of the type of antipapal invective was the sentiment expressed in the works of Conrad Celtis (1459–1508): “Resume, O men of Germany, that spirit of older time wherewith you so often confounded and terrified the Romans. ”36 In a similar vein, humanists such as Celtis, Sebastian Brant, Jacob Wimpfeling, and above all Ulrich von Hutten set out to rewrite the history of the German nation and return to its vernacular origins.

Nor was Zwingli the lone voice of evangelical reform in Zurich. Leo Jud (1482–1542), who had been Zwingli’s colleague in Einsiedeln and had translated some of Luther’s Latin works into German, was also preaching against false laws and superfluous images, and in 1522 he performed a vernacular baptism in the Great Minster. Both men were able to preach in this manner because Zwingli had the support of the city magistracy. The reasons for the close cooperation between the reformers and the council will be the subject of a subsequent chapter, but even at this early stage the point must be made that the Zurich Reformation was an archetypical magisterial Reformation, guided and enacted by the political elite.

Luther understood it in a more literal sense than Zwingli. Without endorsing the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, he did maintain, however, that the body of Christ was “truly and substantially” present in the sacrament. Zwingli, in contrast, thought of the phrase “this is my body” as a figure of speech and rejected the suggestion (Lutheran and Catholic alike) that Christ was actually present in the elements. For Zwingli, the Communion was an act of remembrance, an attempt to “render present” Christ’s act of sacrifice.

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