Essay Topic: The Peasants' War
Scholary Sources:
Herny J. Cohn. Anticlericalism in the German Peasants' War 1525 Past and Present. (1979) 83(1): 3-31

Micheal Mullet. European History Quarterly. April 1993 vol. 23 no. 2 266-271

The Historical Journal(1979), 22: 693-720 Cambridge University Press



I think i am going to look at the Peasants' War throught the Luther and Munzter debate. I would like to analyze Luther's beliefs versus Munter's ideas on what the reformation should be about.





.
The German Peasants’ War
The German Peasants’ War of 1525 was a revolt by poor commoners against the Catholic Church in an effort to implement religious, social and economic reform. The war was not an event that began in 1525 but a result of years of built up frustration by lower class citizens of Germany (Cohn 7). For years peasants were not satisfied with the religious, social and economic structure of the church. The Reformation Movement was the spark that the common man used to initiate the famous rebellion against the Catholic Church. In the Reformation Movement the poor found leaders in which they could use as the voice of the people. Leaders such as Martin Luther and Thomas Muntzer gained followers because they spoke of injustices that the poor were subjected to (Bainton 6). Anticlericalism was a major focus of the German Peasants’ War. Anticlericalism was the opposition to the influence of the clergy or the church in secular or public affairs (Cohn 15). Reformers and peasants believed that the church had too much authority and that it did not delegate that authority properly.
Religious reform was one of the issues involved in the Peasants’ War. Martin Luther’s ideas lead the religious aspect of the revolt because he believed that people should have the freedom to worship how they wanted as long as their worship was scripture based. The current structure of worship given by the Catholic Church did not offer the freedom to do so (Porter 391). Martin Luther argued that God’s word, according to the scriptures should be the only criteria for personal freedom as well as political and economic purpose. During the war the slogan “divine law” was used by all peasant soldiers. This phrase had the implication that peasant demands did not have to be justified by old legal customs, but by the Bible (Cohn 8). Luther’s theological ideas were used to fuel some of the passion used by peasants in their quest against the Catholic Church but his ideas were often twisted and misinterpreted by commoners for their own reasons (Porter 400). Religious reform started as the main goal of the Reformation Movement but as the movement grew it took on other issues that the Catholic Church was guilty of.

Social reform was another important issue that lead to the Peasants’ War. The common man was at the bottom of the social hierarchy and they were frowned upon by nobles, princes and other who had high ranking titles. Peasants were not satisfied and felt underappreciated and taken advantage of because of their low social class. Thomas Muntzer was an ex monk and a follower of Martin Luther but he did have the same theological beliefs. Muntzer’s use of scriptures was used for his own beliefs and personal agenda (Bainton 9). Reformation ideas had an immediate impact on the Peasants’ War because of the condition of the peasantry (Cohn11). Muntzer believed that revelation was the source for a revolutionary change of society. His messages to the peasants often invoked the violent nature of the rebellion because he believed
that violence would be a strong voice that the Catholic Church would listen to. Social reformation was needed to be gained in order for the peasantry to receive the respect that they wanted and in most cases deserved.
Economic reform was also a reason that the peasants rebelled against the church. This was an issue that Luther and Muntzer could agree with. The lower class citizens were a large source of income for high ranking officials because of the tithes and offerings that were required of them. These reformers beliefs about tithing were that tithes should be paid not as a religious duty but out of Christian obedience (Cohn 8). Luther also preached that money should not be given to the church to bless the dead but should be given to the living saints to support the poor (9). Thomas Muntzer and Martin Luther were considered “radical reformers” because of their ideas of reformation with included economic equality across Germany. Muntzer believed that poverty deprived the sprit and he witnessed it with his own eyes (Bainton 6). Peasants were working their lands hard but were not reaping the benefits because of the current economic system. The lower class were constantly taxed and punished if they could not pay the high taxations. This economic standard was no longer acceptable to peasants.
In conclusion, the Peasants’ War was not only about religious reform but social and economic reform as well. Leaders of the Reformation played a major role in the configuration of the Peasants’ War even if they did not agree on every aspect. The goal of the Peasants’ War was to bring change to the Catholic Church through revolutionary tactics. The common man was disgusted with their treatment by the church and felt that change would be gained by violent acts. The Peasants’ War was a chapter in the book of the sixteenth century Reformation.













Bibliography
Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525: Henry J. Cohn, Past & Present, No. 83 (May, 1979), pp. 3-31
Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation: Roland H. Bainton, The Sixteen Century Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 3-16
Luther and Political Millenarianism: The Case of the Peasants’ War, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul-Sep., 1981), pp.389-406








Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation
Focus: This article describes Thomas Muntzer’s involvement in the Reformation and his part in the Peasants’ War. The article documents his early beginnings and some of his contributions to the Reformation Movement.


Martin Luther
Thomas Muntzer
Religious Reform
Believed that the structure of the church should change but should be guided by the scriptures in the Bible.
Used scriptures in the Bible but for his own interpretation
Social Reform
Believed that the social structure should stay intact but should be guided by the spirit of the Lord
Believed the current social structure was not fair to the lower class and need to be changed
Economic reform
Stated that the economic system need to be changed and geared toward helping the poor
This is one area of reform that he and Luther would agree upon


Implication: Thomas Muntzer was a reformer who followed the teaching of Luther until he started to gain his own following. Only then did he start to develop his own agenda in the Reformation Movement. The goal of the Reformation was the same as other reformers Muntzer just had a different way of accomplishing that goal.

Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525
Focus: This article about Martin Luther’s involvement in the Peasants’ War. Luther’s idea of Reformation did not include the violence of war and he spoke out against violent acts.



Martin Luther
Catholic Church
Religious Reform
Thought that the church needed to be reformed to a new structure
Satisfied with the current structure of the church
Economic Reform(tithes)
Believed that tithes should be used to help the poor and unfortunate
Received tithes to honor the dead and to maintain the structure of the church
Authority
Believed the God should possess the power to be governed out how the Lord saw fit
Unfair practices geared for the advancement of the wealthy


Implications: Martin Luther did not begin the Reformation battle with the Catholic Church but he was one of the most recognized figures. His teachings were that of strict theological substance which he would not defer from. Unlike others who sprung from his original movement Luther truly believed that the route to religious freedom was through the Bible


.
The German Peasants’ War
The German Peasants’ War of 1525 was a revolt by poor commoners against the Catholic Church in an effort to implement religious, social and economic reform. The war was not an event that began in 1525 but a result of years of built up frustration by lower class citizens of Germany (Cohn 7). For years peasants were not satisfied with the religious, social and economic structure of the church. The Reformation Movement was the spark that the common man used to initiate the famous rebellion against the Catholic Church. In the Reformation Movement the poor found leaders in which they could use as the voice of the people. Leaders such as Martin Luther and Thomas Muntzer gained followers because they spoke of injustices that the poor were subjected to (Bainton 6). Anticlericalism was a major focus of the German Peasants’ War. Anticlericalism was the opposition to the influence of the clergy or the church in secular or public affairs (Cohn 15). Reformers and peasants believed that the church had too much authority and that it did not delegate that authority properly.
Religious reform was one of the issues involved in the Peasants’ War. Martin Luther’s ideas lead the religious aspect of the revolt because he believed that people should have the freedom to worship how they wanted as long as their worship was scripture based. The current structure of worship given by the Catholic Church did not offer the freedom to do so (Porter 391). Martin Luther argued that God’s word, according to the scriptures should be the only criteria for personal freedom as well as political and economic purpose. During the war the slogan “divine law” was used by all peasant soldiers. This phrase had the implication that peasant demands did not have to be justified by old legal customs, but by the Bible (Cohn 8). Luther’s theological ideas were used to fuel some of the passion used by peasants in their quest against the Catholic Church but his ideas were often twisted and misinterpreted by commoners for their own reasons (Porter 400). Religious reform started as the main goal of the Reformation Movement but as the movement grew it took on other issues that the Catholic Church was guilty of.

Social reform was another important issue that lead to the Peasants’ War. The common man was at the bottom of the social hierarchy and they were frowned upon by nobles, princes and other who had high ranking titles. Peasants were not satisfied and felt underappreciated and taken advantage of because of their low social class. Thomas Muntzer was an ex monk and a follower of Martin Luther but he did have the same theological beliefs. Muntzer’s use of scriptures was used for his own beliefs and personal agenda (Bainton 9). Reformation ideas had an immediate impact on the Peasants’ War because of the condition of the peasantry (Cohn11). Muntzer believed that revelation was the source for a revolutionary change of society. His messages to the peasants often invoked the violent nature of the rebellion because he believed
that violence would be a strong voice that the Catholic Church would listen to. Social reformation was needed to be gained in order for the peasantry to receive the respect that they wanted and in most cases deserved.
Economic reform was also a reason that the peasants rebelled against the church. This was an issue that Luther and Muntzer could agree with. The lower class citizens were a large source of income for high ranking officials because of the tithes and offerings that were required of them. These reformers beliefs about tithing were that tithes should be paid not as a religious duty but out of Christian obedience (Cohn 8). Luther also preached that money should not be given to the church to bless the dead but should be given to the living saints to support the poor (9). Thomas Muntzer and Martin Luther were considered “radical reformers” because of their ideas of reformation with included economic equality across Germany. Muntzer believed that poverty deprived the sprit and he witnessed it with his own eyes (Bainton 6). Peasants were working their lands hard but were not reaping the benefits because of the current economic system. The lower class were constantly taxed and punished if they could not pay the high taxations. This economic standard was no longer acceptable to peasants.
In conclusion, the Peasants’ War was not only about religious reform but social and economic reform as well. Leaders of the Reformation played a major role in the configuration of the Peasants’ War even if they did not agree on every aspect. The goal of the Peasants’ War was to bring change to the Catholic Church through revolutionary tactics. The common man was disgusted with their treatment by the church and felt that change would be gained by violent acts. The Peasants’ War was a chapter in the book of the sixteenth century Reformation.













Bibliography
Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525: Henry J. Cohn, Past & Present, No. 83 (May, 1979), pp. 3-31
Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation: Roland H. Bainton, The Sixteen Century Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 3-16
Luther and Political Millenarianism: The Case of the Peasants’ War, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul-Sep., 1981), pp.389-406








Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation
Focus: This article describes Thomas Muntzer’s involvement in the Reformation and his part in the Peasants’ War. The article documents his early beginnings and some of his contributions to the Reformation Movement.


Martin Luther
Thomas Muntzer
Religious Reform
Believed that the structure of the church should change but should be guided by the scriptures in the Bible.
Used scriptures in the Bible but for his own interpretation
Social Reform
Believed that the social structure should stay intact but should be guided by the spirit of the Lord
Believed the current social structure was not fair to the lower class and need to be changed
Economic reform
Stated that the economic system need to be changed and geared toward helping the poor
This is one area of reform that he and Luther would agree upon


Implication: Thomas Muntzer was a reformer who followed the teaching of Luther until he started to gain his own following. Only then did he start to develop his own agenda in the Reformation Movement. The goal of the Reformation was the same as other reformers Muntzer just had a different way of accomplishing that goal.

Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525
Focus: This article about Martin Luther’s involvement in the Peasants’ War. Luther’s idea of Reformation did not include the violence of war and he spoke out against violent acts.



Martin Luther
Catholic Church
Religious Reform
Thought that the church needed to be reformed to a new structure
Satisfied with the current structure of the church
Economic Reform(tithes)
Believed that tithes should be used to help the poor and unfortunate
Received tithes to honor the dead and to maintain the structure of the church
Authority
Believed the God should possess the power to be governed out how the Lord saw fit
Unfair practices geared for the advancement of the wealthy


Implications: Martin Luther did not begin the Reformation battle with the Catholic Church but he was one of the most recognized figures. His teachings were that of strict theological substance which he would not defer from. Unlike others who sprung from his original movement Luther truly believed that the route to religious freedom was through the Bible


.
The German Peasants’ War
The German Peasants’ War of 1525 was a revolt by poor commoners against the Catholic Church in an effort to implement religious, social and economic reform. The war was not an event that began in 1525 but a result of years of built up frustration by lower class citizens of Germany (Cohn 7). For years peasants were not satisfied with the religious, social and economic structure of the church. The Reformation Movement was the spark that the common man used to initiate the famous rebellion against the Catholic Church. In the Reformation Movement the poor found leaders in which they could use as the voice of the people. Leaders such as Martin Luther and Thomas Muntzer gained followers because they spoke of injustices that the poor were subjected to (Bainton 6). Anticlericalism was a major focus of the German Peasants’ War. Anticlericalism was the opposition to the influence of the clergy or the church in secular or public affairs (Cohn 15). Reformers and peasants believed that the church had too much authority and that it did not delegate that authority properly.
Religious reform was one of the issues involved in the Peasants’ War. Martin Luther’s ideas lead the religious aspect of the revolt because he believed that people should have the freedom to worship how they wanted as long as their worship was scripture based. The current structure of worship given by the Catholic Church did not offer the freedom to do so (Porter 391). Martin Luther argued that God’s word, according to the scriptures should be the only criteria for personal freedom as well as political and economic purpose. During the war the slogan “divine law” was used by all peasant soldiers. This phrase had the implication that peasant demands did not have to be justified by old legal customs, but by the Bible (Cohn 8). Luther’s theological ideas were used to fuel some of the passion used by peasants in their quest against the Catholic Church but his ideas were often twisted and misinterpreted by commoners for their own reasons (Porter 400). Religious reform started as the main goal of the Reformation Movement but as the movement grew it took on other issues that the Catholic Church was guilty of.

Social reform was another important issue that lead to the Peasants’ War. The common man was at the bottom of the social hierarchy and they were frowned upon by nobles, princes and other who had high ranking titles. Peasants were not satisfied and felt underappreciated and taken advantage of because of their low social class. Thomas Muntzer was an ex monk and a follower of Martin Luther but he did have the same theological beliefs. Muntzer’s use of scriptures was used for his own beliefs and personal agenda (Bainton 9). Reformation ideas had an immediate impact on the Peasants’ War because of the condition of the peasantry (Cohn11). Muntzer believed that revelation was the source for a revolutionary change of society. His messages to the peasants often invoked the violent nature of the rebellion because he believed
that violence would be a strong voice that the Catholic Church would listen to. Social reformation was needed to be gained in order for the peasantry to receive the respect that they wanted and in most cases deserved.
Economic reform was also a reason that the peasants rebelled against the church. This was an issue that Luther and Muntzer could agree with. The lower class citizens were a large source of income for high ranking officials because of the tithes and offerings that were required of them. These reformers beliefs about tithing were that tithes should be paid not as a religious duty but out of Christian obedience (Cohn 8). Luther also preached that money should not be given to the church to bless the dead but should be given to the living saints to support the poor (9). Thomas Muntzer and Martin Luther were considered “radical reformers” because of their ideas of reformation with included economic equality across Germany. Muntzer believed that poverty deprived the sprit and he witnessed it with his own eyes (Bainton 6). Peasants were working their lands hard but were not reaping the benefits because of the current economic system. The lower class were constantly taxed and punished if they could not pay the high taxations. This economic standard was no longer acceptable to peasants.
In conclusion, the Peasants’ War was not only about religious reform but social and economic reform as well. Leaders of the Reformation played a major role in the configuration of the Peasants’ War even if they did not agree on every aspect. The goal of the Peasants’ War was to bring change to the Catholic Church through revolutionary tactics. The common man was disgusted with their treatment by the church and felt that change would be gained by violent acts. The Peasants’ War was a chapter in the book of the sixteenth century Reformation.













Bibliography
Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525: Henry J. Cohn, Past & Present, No. 83 (May, 1979), pp. 3-31
Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation: Roland H. Bainton, The Sixteen Century Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 3-16
Luther and Political Millenarianism: The Case of the Peasants’ War, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul-Sep., 1981), pp.389-406








Thomas Muntzer Revolutionary Firebrand of the Reformation
Focus: This article describes Thomas Muntzer’s involvement in the Reformation and his part in the Peasants’ War. The article documents his early beginnings and some of his contributions to the Reformation Movement.


Martin Luther
Thomas Muntzer
Religious Reform
Believed that the structure of the church should change but should be guided by the scriptures in the Bible.
Used scriptures in the Bible but for his own interpretation
Social Reform
Believed that the social structure should stay intact but should be guided by the spirit of the Lord
Believed the current social structure was not fair to the lower class and need to be changed
Economic reform
Stated that the economic system need to be changed and geared toward helping the poor
This is one area of reform that he and Luther would agree upon


Implication: Thomas Muntzer was a reformer who followed the teaching of Luther until he started to gain his own following. Only then did he start to develop his own agenda in the Reformation Movement. The goal of the Reformation was the same as other reformers Muntzer just had a different way of accomplishing that goal.

Anticlericalism in the German Peasants’ War 1525
Focus: This article about Martin Luther’s involvement in the Peasants’ War. Luther’s idea of Reformation did not include the violence of war and he spoke out against violent acts.



Martin Luther
Catholic Church
Religious Reform
Thought that the church needed to be reformed to a new structure
Satisfied with the current structure of the church
Economic Reform(tithes)
Believed that tithes should be used to help the poor and unfortunate
Received tithes to honor the dead and to maintain the structure of the church
Authority
Believed the God should possess the power to be governed out how the Lord saw fit
Unfair practices geared for the advancement of the wealthy


Implications: Martin Luther did not begin the Reformation battle with the Catholic Church but he was one of the most recognized figures. His teachings were that of strict theological substance which he would not defer from. Unlike others who sprung from his original movement Luther truly believed that the route to religious freedom was through the Bible