Some Reformation Myths

  • R. W. Scribner
  • C. Scott Dixon
Part of the Studies in European History book series (SEURH)


For most of us, the Reformation is ‘Luther’s Reformation’, a massive response among the German people to a new faith proclaimed by Martin Luther and centred in Wittenberg. It is common to regard it as having begun in 1517, when Luther allegedly posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Despite much scholarly debate, it remains uncertain whether the theses were ever posted; the real significance of the alleged incident resides in the fact that much later in the sixteenth century a myth was created that this was how ‘the Reformation’ began. This myth is typical of a number of myths about the Reformation. It involves a teleological view of history, an arrangement from hindsight of the course of events into an inevitable pattern, in which no other outcome is envisaged than ‘the Reformation’ as later ages understood it.


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Select Bibliography

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© R. W. Scribner 2003

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  • R. W. Scribner
  • C. Scott Dixon

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