The Reformation and the Universities

A.) Universities founded before the Reformation

Universities were the centers of HUMANISM which did much to prepare the reformation, Luther was inspired by ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM, professor at the University of Basel, to translate the bible (as were d'Etaples who translated the bible into French, Tyndale in English). Luther taught at the University of Wittenberg when he conceived his 95 theses. He defended his theses in a disputation at the University of Leipzig; the Universities of Cologne and Leuven condemned his theses in 1519. The University of Wittenberg was the center of the Lutheran Reformation, until Luther's death in 1546.
Calvin's career began when he posted a pamphlet which contained pro-Lutheran theses at the University of Paris. Instead a debate on the theses, as intended by Calvin, he immediately was condemned and had to flee.
Both Luther and Calvin regarded higher education essential, as the interpretation of the bible, in their view, could not be left in the hands of laymen alone. Calvin founded the Academy in Geneva in 1559.

The implementation of the protestant reformation had caused a technical problem. Hitherto, universities served a clientele of students from far and near. Now there were Catholic and Protestant universities; protestant students could and would not attend Catholic universities and vice versa. A number of universities were founded to provide students with a university of the 'right' confession within the terrirory. New Lutheran universities were founded in Liegnitz (Legnica, Silesia, 1526), in Marburg (Hessen, 1527), Königsberg (Prussia, 1544), Jena (in what was left of Ernestine Saxony after the SCHMALKALDIC WAR, 1558), in Helmstedt (Hessen-Kassel, 1575).
Newly reformed Zürich established a university; early in the Hungarian reformation universities were founded in Sarospatak (1530) and Debrecen (1550). Calvinist universities were founded at Geneva 1559, Nimes (France 1562), Orthez (France, 1566), Leiden (Holland 1575) etc.
Catholic (mostly Jesuit) universities were founded in Dillingen (1554), Würzburg (1561), Douai (Sp. Netherlands, 1562), Braunsberg (Ermland, 1568) etc.

Article Universities, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition
REFERENCE Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, pp.266-269, KMLA Lib.Sign. 274.06 GB 121

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First on January 10th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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