Assess the role played by the Protestant Reformation in the development of European civilization.    

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The Reformation transformed European civilization in many ways. The first, and most obvious, was religion. Western Christianity until the Reformation, had been dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. This not only meant a general lack of religious liberty, but also that the Papacy had enormous political power and influence, as...

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The Reformation transformed European civilization in many ways. The first, and most obvious, was religion. Western Christianity until the Reformation, had been dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. This not only meant a general lack of religious liberty, but also that the Papacy had enormous political power and influence, as well as great wealth. Part of Henry VIII's motivation in starting the English Reformation was not just his personal and dynastic troubles, but also to assert English control over the vast lands and wealth owned by the Church and the monasteries.

Another major effect of the Reformation was the rise of vernacular literacy. Unlike the Roman Catholic church, for which the official Bible was a Latin translation, read mostly by the clergy, the Protestant churches, due to their sola scriptura doctrine, promoted reading the Bible in vernacular translations, an emphasis that contributed significantly to the rise of literacy among all economic classes. 

Finally, the religious liberty that ensued from the Reformation allowed the flourishing of science and philosophy, freed from the doctrinal limits of Thomistic doctrine.

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