Martin Luther and Phillip Melanchthon's Contributions in Educational Reform in the Protestant Reformation

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Martin Luther and Phillip Melanchthon's Contributions in Educational Reform in the Protestant Reformation

The life of Martin Luther is frequently studied and his ideas are widely known. Accounts of the nailing of his Ninety-Five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg and his condemnation at the Diet of Worms are considered by many in the western world to be common knowledge. What is less frequently explored; however, are his vast achievements outside of his direct conflict with the Catholic Church. A major example of this is Luther's achievement in educational reform.

Although at first Luther resisted new forms of education, he came to view schools as powerful tools for getting his
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Luther also took notice of Melanchthon, specifically of his inaugural address at the university, which he entitled, "Discourse on Reforming the Studies of Youth." Because of the mutual respect and admiration given towards one another the two became collaborators in the Protestant Reformation. Melanchthon gave strength to the Reformation in his argumentative yet rational works, like Loci Communes Rerum Theologicarum(Commonplaces of Theology, 1521).

When Luther was confined to the Castle of Wartburg following the Diet of Worms, Melanchthon took over as the leader of the Reformation at the University of Wittenberg, becoming the professor of theology there and standardizing the constitutions of the reformed German churches. Melanchthon then, "as the leading representative of the Reformation at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, presented the Augsburg Confession, consisting of 21 articles of faith that he had drawn up with Luther's advice."[1]

While Melanchthon was deeply influenced by Luther's ideas on religious reform, it was he who helped to shape Luther's stance on educational reform. At first, Luther's ideas and those of the education, specifically humanist education, seemed to clash. Luther's passionate teachings about faith and religion seemed to be an immediate threat to humanist schools that were more worldly and oriented towards reason and practical learning. He
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