Comment on the origins and spread of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. (question continued below)
While also considering the role of key individuals and significant issues that spurred on the movement.
I'm supposed to be writing a 2-3 page essay on this. Basically, I want to write 3-5 body paragraphs on the topic, but I need main ideas for the paragraphs. It could be either sacred or secular. I could also use some help with a thesis statement. Any help is greatly appreciated.
The Protestant Reformation dealt with changes to the religious institution of the time; your topic is going to be secular.
You might want to use the first paragraph in the body of your essay to provide some basic information about the structure and influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1400's. You could address the corruption in the church clergy, the conflict between the Eastern and Western branches of the church, the financial affairs of the church, and the questions all these concerns raised in the minds of church members.
You may want to devote one paragraph to the impact of the invention of the moveable type printing press. The translation of the Bible from Latin into the language of the people and the widespread publication of the Bible made possible by the printing press created a totally changed situation in the church - the priests were no longer the only ones capable of reading the scriptures. John Wycliffe was an important figure in beginning the movement to translate the Bible.
Martin Luther's protests were instrumental in beginning the actual development of different churches to reform the religious practices and beliefs. You will certainly need to explore what he did, why he did it, and how it impacted the viewpoints of the religious community. This will take more than one paragraph, as his influence and impact can not be overestimated.
You could present various other reformers who followed Luther and introduced more reforms in accordance with their beliefs. Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin would be two important reformers to consider including in your paper.
Your thesis statement could summarize the enormous changes the Protestant Reformation brought about in the religious environment and practice of the Western world. The educational level, the involvement of the individual in considering personal beliefs, the responsibilities and influence of the clergy in the general society - all these were changed as a result of the Protestant Reformation.