Learning About the Reformation

Posted on November 4, 2011 by


When we started looking at our unit on the Reformation, I was almost clueless. At that point, I had a few vague memories of this topic from history books in years past, involving a man nailing a paper to the door of a church. But other than these generalized recollections, I knew little or nothing about the Reformation and how it shaped the world in that time period. As we started reading into the Reformation, I began to get a more firm grip on what exactly this movement was, and who played key roles in it.  It was this basic reading that laid the ground level for my interest in my project topic. In the reading, they mostly spoke of Martin Luther, and his accomplishments in the Reformation. However, they also had several mentions of another man, and briefly spoke about the influence he held during the movement. This man’s name was John Calvin.

The mentioning of him in the reading we were given raised my interest in finding out more about this man- his history was mentioned very little in the reading, but it was apparent that he held close to, if not equal, the amount of power and influence at that time as Martin Luther. I decided that I still wanted to learn more about the basics, though, and before I started my research, I compared several online source’s definition and summary of the Reformation to gain a better and more varied perspective on what the time was like. Among these searches I uncovered a few other interesting facts- such as how events like the Black Death affected citizen’s faith in the church, and therefore helped to make the Reformation possible. When I first began to research him, I started out with a simple Wikipedia search to find out more about his life story and his accomplishments. Then I decided to try to look for a primary source document. I picked his Institutes of the Christian Religion, mostly because it was one of the first texts he had written, and also because it was suggested that it was one of Calvin’s more controversial writings. Currently, his life accomplishments are one of the things I am still looking for. I am also still trying to find articles on the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin’s texts is a whopping four volumes long- at first, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information. However, Mike recommended the method of using articles written by others to choose a small section of the text to research.

As a learner, I am learning that if I set smaller goals for myself, rather than trying to do everything all at once, I work more effectively and get more work done. The easiest part of a research based class, for me, is how we usually have no weekly homework to do. Whenever I have an assignment due on a Friday, it is difficult for me to properly proportion the amount of work that needs to be done per night. The amount of freedom given to the students is the most challenging to me.  At this point, a blog post is the form that I am thinking of submitting for this project.


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Posted in: Learning, Projects