The development of the printing press was the most significant cause of the Reformation.

Essay by waz1500High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

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The Reformation started in 1517, when Martin Luther began his protests against indulgences and then against the Roman Catholic Church. It was a time of immense change within Europe. There were many causes that contributed towards the Reformation, such as, the printing press and the state of the Church and they are all of some significance.

The first factor that contributed towards the Reformation was the development of the printing press. In the middle of the 15th century the printing press was invented and this had many effects. Access to knowledge had now been increased greatly. Books and pamphlets could now be printed and everyone could get their hands on this newly available information. Printing highlighted discrepancies and contradictions between what was really in the Bible and what the Church said was in the Bible. This led to more people coming away from the Church.

There was also a decrease in censorship by the Church.

The Church could no longer control knowledge and intellectual thought as they had once done before the development of the printing press, when the monks used to write all the books available, by hand and therefore, controlling what went into them. If it wasn't for the printing press, the new ideas which led to Reformation might never have got off the ground.

Another contributing factor to the Reformation was the revival of classical texts. Ancient Greek and Roman texts were rediscovered and with them new ways of thinking. For example, the works of the Greek philosopher, Protagoras were recovered and in his works there was the idea that, 'man is the measure of all things', i.e. man is unlimited in potential. New ideas such as these led to Humanism- the study of arts, architecture, literature and language, which replaced the previous idea of Scholasticism.