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Week 2: 450 – 1750 Renaissance and Reformation


  1. An Introduction to The Protestant Reformation(available free on the Khan Academy website).
  2. Cranach, Law and Gospel (Law and Grace)(available free on the Khan Academy website).
  3. Primary Sources:

Watch The Following Assigned Lectures

  • Lecture 8 – Reformation and Division, 1530-1558
    Professor Wrightson examines the various stages of the reformation in England, beginning with the legislative, as opposed to doctrinal, reformation begun by Henry VIII in a quest to settle the Tudor succession. Wrightson shows how the jurisdictional transformation of the royal supremacy over the church resulted, gradually, in the introduction of true religious change. The role played by various personalities at Henry’s court, and the manner in which the King’s own preferences shaped the doctrines of the Church of England, are considered. Doctrinal change, in line with continental Protestant developments, accelerated under Edward VI, but was reversed by Mary I. However, Wrightson suggests that, by this time, many aspects of Protestantism had been internalized by part of the English population, especially the young, and so the reformation could not wholly be undone by Mary’s short reign. The lecture ends with the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558, an event which presaged further religious change.[1]
  • Lecture 18 – Street Wars of Religion: Puritans and Arminians
    Professor Wrightson reviews the conflicts which developed within the Church of England in the early seventeenth century and played a role in the growing tensions which led to the English civil wars. Wrightson begins by describing the “Jacobethan consensus” which largely prevailed throughout the reign of James I, characterized by broad-based conformity and adherence to Calvinist doctrine. However, this consensus was strained by the local activism of Puritans in many areas. The success of these Puritan efforts at local reformation was uneven across the country and largely depended on whether Puritan clerics were able to secure the support of secular magistrates in order to enforce godly discipline. He next considers the Arminian movement (anti-Calvinist in doctrine and with strong elements of ritualism and clericalism) which destroyed the Jacobethan consensus. He traces how the rise of Arminianism resulted in the polarization and politicization of religion with Charles I’s appointment of Arminian clerics (notably William Laud) to positions of control of the church and their repression of Puritan opponents.[1]

Watch the Following Supplemental Videos

  1. Introduction to the Protestant Reformation: Setting the stage [2] [Enter key starts video]
    What was Western Europe like before the Protestant Reformation? Learn about the influence of the Catholic church and the issues that led a monk named Martin Luther to demand reform. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
  2. Introduction to the Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther [3] [Enter key starts video]
    Learn about the life of Martin Luther and his dispute with the Catholic church. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
  3. Introduction to the Protestant Reformation: Varieties of Protestantism [4] [Enter key starts video]
    Learn about the varieties of Protestant religion that emerged from the Reformation.Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.



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