Dr Rita Voltmer – Apocalypse and Reform
After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the riders of the Apocalypse seemed to approach Christianity, with the spread of deadly diseases, starvation and death, deluge and drought.
Astrologers and prophets read the omens well, indicating that the end of creation was on its way.
From the beginning of the fifteenth century to the dawn of Reformation, the councils of Constance and Basle, as well as preachers themselves, demanded a universal reform of Christendom in head, body, and members, combined with demands for severe discipline both in religion and morals.
Territorial lords and urban magistrates replied to these debates and demanded the eradication of Jews and heathens, prostitutes and vagabonds, fornicators and gamblers, sodomites and blasphemers, heretics and witches.
In their view Christian society had to be purified from sins and vices while Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century continued to follow this pattern, fearing the Apocalypse to come.
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