HIS-221: The Reformation
First Midterm Exam study guide
Spring Term 2009
Section One (1/2 of grade): In this section, you will write two short essays (longer than identifications, which would typically be a sentence or two, but much shorter than the essay in section two). You will have some choice (probably three possible topics). In order to prepare for these essays, be sure that you can briefly and clearly do the following:
1. Describe the basic idea(s) of the following sources that we have read: Unam Sanctam; Colet's Convocation Sermon; Contarini's On the Office of Bishop; Grote's "Sermon" and the excerpt from The Imitation of Christ; all of the texts by Erasmus.
2. Define "soteriology", describe the soteriology of the via moderna (esp. Gabriel Biel) and the schola Augustiniana moderna (esp. Thomas Bradwardine), and explain briefly how they are different from the church's preferred theology (that of Thomas Aquinas). In particular, be able to describe the "salvation equation" of these -- the relationship of God's initiative and grace, human will and actions, and salvation.
3. Explain how indulgences work (theory [as shown in the two papal documents in the Reader] and practice).
4. Describe mainstream orthodox lay piety and devotional practices (for example, pilgrimage, prayers, etc.) as well as abuses and parasitic practices that developed that occurred even though they deviated from the church's teaching.
5. Define "heterodoxy" and "heresy", and explain the major heretical views of the Hussites, Lollards, and Waldensians, as well as why each was seen as threatening to the pre-Reformation church.
The essay topics in this section will NOT be worded as in #1-5 above. However, if you can do what I have set out in those five items, you will be very well prepared for the questions that you will encounter, which will ask you to apply what you to know to analyze briefly a problem or a primary source (one which you may not have previously encountered).
Section Two (1/2 of grade): The questions in this section ask you to make an argument about the church's strength and/or vulnerability on the eve of the Reformation. Although no historical event is ever inevitable, it is fair to ask whether the church should have seen serious trouble coming in the 1510s.
There are two options for the essay. Here are the EXACT WORDS for both of them. Which one you choose is up to you; both will appear on the exam exactly as they appear below. I expect that you will prepare carefully for this section and, since you know in advance what you need to be thinking about, that you will be able to deploy specific examples from the reading to support your points. Essays that do not make effective use of the reading will probably not get higher than a "C".
At the Fifth Lateran Council (1517), the humanist Pico della Mirandolla foretold that if the pope and the council failed to reform the "wounds" in the church, "God Himself ... will not apply a gentle cure". That same year, the Reformation began. What were the "wounds" -- the problems in the church -- that Pico and others felt needed reforming? Why weren't their warnings taken more seriously? In particular, what reasons did church leaders have to feel that the church was successfully meeting its people's needs and was in no danger? In light of what you have written, do you think that the church's failure to anticipate serious trouble was self-delusion or reasonable self-confidence?
From the mid 1300s to the early 1500s, there were many reformers and critics within the western Christian church. Some were accepted and accommodated within the church; others were arrested and even executed as heretics. On what grounds did people seek to reform/renew or to attack the church? What distinguished those who could be accepted by the church from those (e.g., Hans the Drummer, Jan Hus, the Lollards and the Waldensians) who were not? What does the experience of these people and groups suggest about the capacity of the church to correct abuses and deal with criticism? In light of what you have written, do you think that the church's failure to anticipate serious trouble was self-delusion or reasonable self-confidence?
Honor Code instructions:
In order to remain in compliance with the honor code statement that you will sign on the exam book, here's what you may and may not do in preparing for this exam. You may (and perhaps should) discuss these topics with other members of the class. Make sure that you have the details straight, gaps in your notes filled, etc. in conversation with others. Also, you might want to debate different possible responses. This is all preparation which is appropriate to do with others. However, you may not write a common answer with other people which you then try to memorize for the exam. That would be a violation of the honor code since I consider it "unauthorized aid". Discuss, debate -- but then draw up an outline or write out an answer on your own.