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Germany and the Holy Roman EmpireVolume I: Maximilian I to the Peace of Westphalia, 1493-1648$
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Joachim Whaley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198731016

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198731016.001.0001

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The Reform of the Reich and the Church, c.1490–1519

The Reform of the Reich and the Church, c.1490–1519

(p.58) (p.59) (p.60) II The Reform of the Reich and the Church, c.1490–1519
Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Joachim Whaley

Oxford University Press

The reign of Maximilian I was crucial in the development of the early modern constitution of the Reich. The political reform process was, however, part of a wider reform movement that also aspired to reform the church. However, the existence of an imperial church, which the ecclesiastical princes had a vested interest in preserving, made this unlikely. At the same time the pressure for reform increased under the impact of religious renewal movements and of the growing social unrest in both urban and rural areas. The popular grievances were taken up by humanist scholars and writers and transformed into a general reform agenda. They were the first generation of intellectuals to use the newly invented print media. Finally, the scene is set for the emergence of Luther who united many of the disparate reform agendas and transformed them into an explosive force.

Keywords:   Maximilian I, reform of the Reich, imperial church, religious renewal, rural discontent, urban discontent, humanism, printing, Luther

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