The Reformation and the War of Religious Ideas
in Munitions of the Mind
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Printing, wrote Francis Bacon, together with gunpowder and the compass, 'changed the appearance and state of the whole world'. The printing press certainly provided the artillery that enabled the lines to be drawn up in an unprecedented religious war of ideas. The Reformation, Professor Eisenstein again writes, was the first movement of any kind, religious or secular, to use the new presses for overt propaganda and agitation against an established institution. Luther quickly revealed his skills as a publicist of the first order, especially following his excommunication in 1520. The Reformation, in other words, was taken out of Luther's hands and others, less reluctant to take up the sword than he, such as the German princes and radical reformers, challenged the Pope and Emperor. Bloodshed was inevitable, from the Peasants Revolt of 1525 to the excesses of the Inquisition in Spain and the Frenchking's ruthless persecutions in France.

Munitions of the Mind

A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present era

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