Notes: Episode 36, The Reformation (Part 2)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


2:59 – I was incorrect – Switzerland was actually confederated from 26 different cantons. The amount of historical, cultural, religious, and especially language differences in such a small area by strict measurement is really quite astonishing. It is, however, also a microcosm of the Germanic world at this time, mirroring the political realities of the Holy Roman Empire’s own hundreds of states.

10:16 – So I did some digging on this whole yodeling thing, and I can’t find a definitive answer one way or the other, as Gary mentioned. The first Alpine-style yodeling was recorded in 1545, and it certainly saw a major increase at this time, so there’s a possibility that it was being used by various religious sects to communicate and warn. However, yodeling has existed for an extremely long time and it may be that people started thinking it was really fun right around the time all of this turmoil was occurring, kind of like how the hula hoop fad in the late 50s hardly caused the Bay of Pigs incident, despite the fact that both happen on a beach. Still, it’s a great theory and I’m going to hope it’s true.

21:00 – Gary brought some pretty strong words to the table, so I had to go looking on this. In a work called “Commentary on the 82nd Psalm” from 1530, Luther wrote: “If some were to teach doctrines contradicting an article of faith clearly grounded in Scripture and believed throughout the world by all Christendom, such as the articles we teach children in the Creed – for example, if anyone were to teach that Christ is not God, but a mere man and like other prophets, as the Turks and the Anabaptists hold – such teachers should not be tolerated, but punished as blasphemers.” The implication being, of course, that they should be executed. The comment about denying the divinity of Christ perplexes me a bit here, as I’m not familiar with this being a tenet of most Anabaptist groups; it may have been an early misunderstanding on the part of Luther, or it may have been a deliberate intent to dehumanize the belief system. I’m not sure which.

39:47 – The Calvinist counter-argument to the preclusion of free will by predestination is that God, in his omniscience, is capable of knowing what you will decide through your own free will because God exists outside of time and therefore has already seen the entirety of your life play out. You may have not yet made the decisions you will make throughout your life, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t know which you will make. It honestly ends up sounding a bit like a discussion around a time travel movie after awhile, and people understandably have a lot of trouble dealing with it. I didn’t really give that side of the philosophy as much exposure as it deserved.

43:19 – Gary was correct here; the Dutch Reform Church was indeed Calvinist, not Anabaptist, and shared a number of similarities with the Presbyterian church.

50:18 – Mary Queen of Scots was actually the daughter of James V of Scotland and first cousin once removed to both Mary I of England (who we’re talking about now) and later Elizabeth I. She was eventually executed for plotting to assassinate Elizabeth after an extremely interesting and controversial life.

51:12 – You came to the notes because of how obviously I was trying not to say a name, didn’t you? Don’t worry, I got you – I was talking about James II, who I absolutely blanked on for some reason during recording. Ah, well – so it goes.

1:12:14 – 68 year war? I mean obviously I didn’t go into math for a reason, but that’s just embarrassing.

1:21:06 – Okay so yes, I’m making a lot of really general and sweeping statements here, but this one went too far for me. The balance struck by Westphalia didn’t remain until the first world war, as it was contingent on the power of the Holy Roman Empire. Its dissolution during the Napoleonic Wars and the eventual creation of the modern state of Germany saw to the balance being heavily modified. I will however stand by the idea that the concept behind the Westphalian balance of power did remain the same until 1919; it was more the players and their strategies that changed, not the game itself.

2 thoughts on “Notes: Episode 36, The Reformation (Part 2)”

  1. Michael says:

    Your description of Calvinism sounds more like the arminian response to John Calvin or the Jesuit response of mMolinism in which God knows all counterfactuals of Any Given world and chose to actualize a particular one. Your statement is not at all like Calvinism at all. I’m a presbyterian myself and I’m familiar with the institute’s and have been studying Calvin for many years.. the grounds on which God knows the future is rooted in his status as sovereign creator and his eternal decrees.

    1. Adam says:

      Hi Michael,

      It’s been a very long time since I recorded this episode so I don’t remember what it is I said specifically, but I’m willing to concede that I likely got this wrong. Predestination is one of the trickier concepts to grapple with, and if I didn’t completely misunderstand it myself, then I’m sure I misspoke at some point while discussing it – I’ve had substantially less time studying it than you. The misrepresentation was certainly unintentional, and I apologize. I’ll keep this in mind if the subject ever comes up in the future. I’m happy to let your comment and this response stand as it is, but if you would like me to address it further, would you mind replying with a timestamp? I’d be glad to add a more specific correction, but should probably review what it is I’m correcting first.



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