The Clergy and the Theological Culture of the Age: The Education of Lutheran Pastors in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries



The Lutheran Reformation originated from a new university, the territorial University of Wittenberg, founded in Electoral Saxony in 1502.1 It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of this basic historical fact. The faculty was predominantly made up of younger academics, most of whom were ready and willing to see their university make its mark against the traditional centres of learning in the Holy Roman Empire. Moreover, both the still relatively flexible institutional structures and the programme of theological studies allowed for a degree of innovation (such as that inspired by the Humanist agenda of educational reform) which would have been much more difficult to establish anywhere else. Indeed, the fact that the Lutheran Reformation found its point of origin in a university reveals a fundamental fact about its nature which distinguishes it to a significant degree from the Reformation movements in Switzerland and southern Germany. Whereas the most important protagonists of the new faith in Zurich (Huldrych Zwingli), Basel (Johannes Oecolampadius) and Strasbourg (Martin Bucer) were pastors, the most influential figures of the Wittenberg Reformation (Martin Luther, Andreas Karlstadt and Philip Melanchthon) were university professors.


Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Territorial State Early Modern Period Theological Education 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2003

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