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The Early Reformation on the Continent$
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Owen Chadwick

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269021

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198269021.001.0001

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Resistance Justified

Resistance Justified

(p.315) 15 Resistance Justified
The Early Reformation on the Continent

Owen Chadwick (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Politics made it essential for Reformers to provide justifications for war and resistance in certain circumstances against the rulers of the state. The pacifism of Erasmus and Luther's early condemnation of rebellion during the social unrest of the 1520s gradually gave way to a theory of a right of resistance, not by the people but by responsible magistrates. The War of the Schmalkand League forced both Luther and Melanchthon to rethink their ideas. Luther's death in 1546 and Melanchthon's in 1560 created posthumous images and reputation for the Reformers, and the first biographies of Luther created Protestant and Catholic images of him that were to last for centuries. At the same time, the appeal of both sides to history stimulated historical scholarship, including the collection and publication of ancient documents.

Keywords:   historical research, Martin Luther, Melanchthon, resistance theory, Schmalkand League

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