Lives in Education: A Narrative of People and Ideas

By L. Glenn Smith; Joan K. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

The Reformers

From Abelard's day to the late 1400s, more than seventy-five universities started. By 1490, seventy of these were still functioning. 1 The Roman Catholic Church had passed its highwater mark and was in many respects in a slow decline. There were still many pious believers, but every level of the church had dark corners needing reform. The papacy had always had its highs and lows. There were more downs than ups in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Discipline was lax in many monasteries. The functions of priests were often performed by vicars (substitutes) who had to charge fees for baptism, marriages, and other church functions because the titular priest kept most of the salary for himself. That the church had become for some an avenue to privilege and a way of avoiding grinding toil was evident even in Abelard's time. Special canon courts in which professional churchpeople were tried for civil offenses gave them a decided edge over the rest of the population. The only crime usually punishable by death for a member of the religious establishment was heresy. Murder or lesser crimes by a cleric against a non-Church person usually provoked only a fine.

The taxes paid by peasants, merchants, and small farmers helped support the relatively luxurious lives of professional churchpeople. Many ordinary folks resented the mockery of students and other clerics who had the protection of canon law but felt little need to observe the Church's obligations. When economic and social resentment combined with feelings of thwarted nationalism, the stage was set for what historians call the Reformation.

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Lives in Education: A Narrative of People and Ideas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Notes x
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - The Greeks 5
  • Notes 31
  • Chapter Two - The Romance 33
  • Notes 55
  • Chapter Three - The Monastics 57
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter Four - The Humanists 94
  • Notes 121
  • Chapter Five - The Reformers 123
  • Notes 148
  • Chapter Six - The New Educators 151
  • Notes 196
  • Chapter Seven - The Americans 198
  • Notes 235
  • Chapter Eight - The Friends of Education 239
  • Chapter Nine - The Progressives 273
  • Notes 310
  • Chapter Ten - The Outsiders 312
  • Notes 351
  • Chapter Eleven - The Critics 355
  • Notes 407
  • Chapter Twelve - The Paradigm Shifters 412
  • Notes 439
  • Epilogue 443
  • Notes 445
  • Contributors 447
  • Index 449
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