Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

4-14-2014

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

History

Disciplines

Christianity | European History | History | History of Christianity | History of Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social History

Abstract

This paper examines the way that Reformation theology, particularly that espoused by Martin Luther, impacted German society. Sixteenth-century German society was very hierarchical in nature, with the Roman Catholic Church at the top, followed by the nobility, and finally the peasants, who suffered economic and political plight. Luther’s break from the Church in 1517 and the subsequent years brought tension to society. Developments extending from that break challenged the social hierarchy. One of the major social consequences of the Protestant Reformation, which was rooted in Luther’s theology, was the Peasants’ War. Luther criticized the peasants for the uprising, based on his understand of the Two Kingdoms theology. Luther’s theology, then, created some unintentional social tension, which his historical context may help to explain.