Timeline of Events
Literary Works of The Medieval Period



Literary Works From This Period

For the purposes of this study, the reformation time period covers approximately 1300ad to the early part of the 1600s. This segment covers topics such as Luther’s Catechism, John Wycliffe, and John Foxe.

After a multitude of centuries of religious practice, many of the church leaders began to question many of the practices and doctrines of the Catholic Church.  A great schism (separation) had occurred between those that supported the doctrines of the Catholic Faith and the new Reformed Christian beliefs. Christian reformists sought to create a primarily scriptural based belief system, one that excluded any alterations or inclusions from church leadership. Over the years of debate and studying the truths of a scriptural based faith, this lead to the rise of the Protestant faiths.



The Great Schism 1378-1416 : John Huss, and Thomas a Kempis, John Wycliffe

c.1300-c.1400ad –  The Black Death. 1/3 of the population from India to Iceland is wiped out, including about 1/2 of Britain

1309ad – The start of the “Babylonian Captivity of the Church.” The Papacy for 70 years was in Avignon and under the thumb of the King of France. The papacy was pro-France, and Britain was at war with France

1316ad – Raymund Lull stoned to death

1330ad – b. John Wycliffe, the most important theologian in Oxford, the most important university in Europe. He taught that we must rely altogether on the sufferings of Christ. “Beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness”

1337ad – Beginning of the Hundred Years’ War

1349ad – d. Thomas Bradwardine, who influenced Wycliffe to adopt Augustine’s doctrine of grace and to reject the Semi-Pelagianism of the Roman Catholic church

1371ad – b. John Huss, Bohemian pre-reformer. He was greatly influenced by Wycliffe. He rejected indulgences and said Christ is the head of the Church, not the pope

1377ad – The end of the “Babylonian Captivity”

1378ad – The Great Schism. Pope Gregory XI moves the papacy back to Rome. France declares Clement VII pope in Avignon. There are two competing popes for close to 40 years

1380ad – b. Thomas a Kempis, author of Imitation of Christ

1381ad – The Peasant’s Revolt. 30,000 angry peasants descend on London

1381ad – Because of his sympathy for the peasants, Wycliffe is suspected of involvement with the revolt. He is banished from Oxford. During this period, he and his followers translate the Bible from the Vulgate into English

1384ad – The death of Wycliffe, under natural causes

1415ad – Council of Constance condemns Wycliffe. July 6, 1415 Council of Constance burns John Huss, in violation of the Emperor’s promise of safe conduct. The Emperor is told “It is not necessary to keep one’s word to a heretic.”

1417ad – The Council of Constance deposes both popes and elects a new one. This ends the Great Schism. It is a high point for Conciliarism, the idea that the councils are superior to the papacy

1428ad – The Catholic Church burned the bones of Wycliffe and threw them in the Swift river

1452ad – The birth of Savonarola, the great preacher. He taught the authority of scripture and understood the shortcomings of the Church

1453ad – End of the Hundred Years’ War

1483ad – The birth of Martin Luther

1492ad – Erasmus ordained. Erasmus’s Humanist movement was beginning to stir some members of the church to moral reform

1492ad – Columbus sails. Repercussions ensue

1497ad – The birth of Philip Melanchthon

1498ad – The Death of Savonarola


The Reformation (1500-1599) – John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox and Martin Luther

1504 b. Heinrich Bullinger

1507 Luther is ordained as a priest at Erfurt

Henry VIII becomes King of England in 1509

1509 b. John Calvin

1510 Luther sent to Rome on monastic business. He saw the corruption of the church

1513 Leo X becomes Pope

1514 b. John Knox

1515 While teaching on Romans, Luther realizes faith and justification are the work of God

1517 Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg. It is the first public act of the Reformation

Zwingli’s reform is also underway

1519 Charles V becomes Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

1521 Luther is excommunicated

1525 The Bondage of the Will. Many of the essays, discourses, treatises, conversations, etc. that Luther had over the years are collected in his Table Talk

1529 The Colloquy of Marburg

1531 d. Ulrich Zwingli

c. 1532 or 1533 Calvin’s conversion

1534 Henry VIII declares himself “The only supreme head in earth of the Church of England”

1535 Anabaptists take over Muenster

1536 d. Erasmus

1536 Menno Simons rejects Catholicism, becomes an Anabaptist, and helps restore that movement back to pacifism

1536 William Tyndale strangled and burned at the stake. He was the first to translate the Bible into English from the original languages. He was burned for heresy by King Henry, whose divorce Tyndale had opposed.

1536 First edition of Calvin’s Institutes

1540 Jesuit order is founded. The Catholic Reformation is under way

c. 1543 Knox converted

1545 The Council of Trent begins

1546 d. Luther

1547 The young Edward VI becomes King of England. The Duke of Somerset acts as regent, and many reforms take place

1549 Consensus Tigurinus brings Zwinglians and Calvinists to agreement about communion

1553 Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary) begins her reign,  Many protestants who flee Mary’s reign are deeply impacted by exposure to a more true reformation on the continent. John Knox is among them

1558 Elizabeth is crowned, the Marian exiles return

1559 Last edition of the Institutes

1559 The Act of Uniformity makes the 1559 Book of Common Prayer the standard in the Church of England and penalizes anyone who fails to use it. It is not reformed enough for the Puritans

1560 b. Jacobus Arminius. Parliament approves the Scot’s Confession, penned by the six Johns (including Knox)

1561 d. pacifist Anabaptist leader Menno Simons

1563 The Council of Trent is finished

1564 d. John Calvin

1566 Bullinger writes The Second Helvetic Confession

1567-1568 The Vestments Controversy. Puritans did not want the ceremony and ritual symbolized by the robes of the Church of England

1571 Thirty Nine Articles are finalized

1572 d. John Knox

1572 b. John Donne, devout Anglican minister and poet

1572 Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day, the worst persecution of Huguenots

1575 d. Bullinger

1582 The General Assembly in Scotland, with Andrew Melville as moderator, ratifies the “Second Book of Discipline.” It has been called the Magna Carta of Presbyterianism

1593 b. George Herbert, Anglican country parson and poet

1596 b. Moses Amyrald, founder of Amyraldianism, which is basically Calvinism minus limited atonement. Amyraldianism became the theology of the School of Saumer in France

1596 b. Descartes, founder of rationalism

1598 Edict of Nantes grants Huguenots greater religious freedom