Read Imperial Cities and the Reformation: Three Essays by Bernd Moeller Free Online
Book Title: Imperial Cities and the Reformation: Three Essays|
The author of the book: Bernd Moeller
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Reader ratings: 7.9
Edition: Labyrinth Press(NC)
Date of issue: January 1st 1982
ISBN 13: 9780939464043
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 419 KB
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This is a little collection of essays that are worth a read, but are definitely not essential unless you're studying the Reformation closely. This one is pretty old, and there are other, more up-to-date works to serve as an introduction.
This is still pretty good, though, and it stands up against the test of time fairly well. There are three essays here - the first urges a reorientation of Reformation studies away from theological minutia and towards its broader social impact. The second looks at the relationship between humanists and reformers - Moeller argues that even though Luther himself was not a humanist, his parallel ideas attracted a younger generation of reformers who spread and popularized his ideas. It was this communication that separated Luther from earlier critics of the Church, and allowed the Reformation to succeed.
The third essay is the most substantial and makes an argument about why Lutheran theology was so popular in northern Germany while Zwingli was preferred in the south. Moeller notes that a trending away from medieval 'republicanism' in cities towards a tighter oligarchy had raised tension in Germany cities even before Luther, and the addition of religious tensions caused the two issues to become intermingled. It was common, for example, that a town would demand lower taxes and a Protestant preacher as part of the same group of demands. This was especially true in the south, which retained a strong communal spirit.
Moeller then argues that the communal spirit of the south was more drawn to the theology of Zwingli, while the north preferred Luther. Lutheranism was inherently corporate in outlook – it took away the institution of priesthood and made it a priesthood of all believers and it sanctified work on behalf of the community. However, at the same time, the emphasis on personal faith made more a much more individualistic faith and made it more difficult to tie religion to any sort of external community. For Zwingli and Bucer, however, the church and state were much more intrinsically tied together and were seen as mutually supportive in the creation of a Christian community. "Bucer’s ethic was essentially a community ethic." The difference probably derived in part from the fact the Zwingli/Bucer were burghers while Luther was subject of a prince. Zwingli/Bucer were more ‘medieval’ in their focus on the town and salvation was bolstered by a community that promoted conditions that would allow God’s word to be obeyed.
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Read information about the authorBernd Moeller is a German Protestant theologian and church historian.
Bernd Moeller studied Protestant theology as well as history. In 1956 he received his doctorate from the Protestant theological department of the University of Mainz with the dissertation Die Anfechtung bei Johann Tauler (Religious scruples in the work of Johann Tauler). Two years later his habilitation followed on Johannes Zwick und die Reformation in Konstanz (John Zwick and the Reformation in Constance) at the University of Heidelberg. In 1964 he succeeded Ernst Wolf as the chair of church history with an emphasis on Reformation history at the University of Göttingen, and he taught there until his retirement in 1999 . He was succeeded in turn by Thomas Kaufmann.
Moeller is a specialist in general church history and the urban history in the late medieval and the Reformation era. He was chairman of the Society for Reformation Research. Moeller has taken part in the publication of nearly 40 books. His Geschichte des Christentums in Grundzügen (History of Christianity in Outline) has gone through ten editions. Of particular importance is Ökumenische Kirchengeschicht (Ecumenical Church History) a project jointly edited with Raymond Kottje which first appeared in 1970. This work showed from its first appearance that church history had entered a new era. In 1998 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.
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