Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jarrett A. Carty
The sixteenth century's tumultuous period of church reform known as the Reformation had major implications for European society, Christianity, and early modern politics and political theory. From Martin Luther (1483–1546) onward, one major question preoccupied Reformation political thought: What should be the nature and extent of the authority of a magistrate over the affairs of the church and the promotion of the faith? This prevalent question was predicated on a long and complex history of the intertwining of secular and church authorities in the middle ages. Reformation political thought was not merely an afterthought to theology; on the contrary, most reformers believed that without their political theories, their efforts to reform the church would quickly fail. But the support of secular authorities became a crucial and often deciding factor whether church reform would gain a foothold in a given territory. Thus, a major effect of the Reformation was the consolidation ...