Did the Protestant Reformation Have to Happen?
A Discussion with Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie
In the second podcast of Arguing History, historians Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie address the question of whether the Protestant Reformation, an event which transformed Christianity in the Western world, was an inevitable event. This they do by considering the origins of the Reformation within the context of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church, the role that personality (particularly that of Martin Luther) played in events, and the interaction between faith and politics. What they reveal is the complex matrix of factors involved in events, which included the technology of the printing press, the political makeup of the German empire, and the appeal of Luther’s evolving message all of which combined to take the Reformation in directions which the participants involved never intended.
Peter Marshall is professor of history at the University of Warwick, and the author and editor of numerous works, including Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation(Yale University Press, 2017) and 1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Alec Ryrie is professor in the department of theology and religion at the University of Durham. Among his many works are The Age of Reformation: The Tudors and Stewart Realms, 1485-1603 (Routledge, 2009) and Protestants: The Radicals Who Made the Modern World (Viking, 2017).