Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 15, “The Legacy of the Reformation” pp. 434-438.
“The Reformation did not reform the whole church, much less
European society, and well before midcentury it needed reform itself” (Ozment 1980, 434). There have been various arguments about the success or lack of success in the Reformation. Some of its work, to modern eyes, may seem misplaced. “The Reformation, in a word, should be judged above all by its continuity and discontinuity with the Middle Ages, not with the twentieth century” (Ozment 1980, 435). Ozment suspects the ripples of the Reformation have had a profound influence on culture. There may well have been repressive moves in the Reformation. Yet Ozment does not equate this with failure. “That the Reformation adopted its own repressive measures was not the reason it failed. Its failure rather lay in its original attempt to ennoble people beyond their capacities - not, as medieval theologians and Renaissance philosophers had done, by encouraging them to imitate saints and angels, but by demanding that they live simple, sober lives, pray not to presumption, superstition, or indulgence, but merely as human beings. This proved a truly impossible ideal; the Reformation foundered on man’s indomitable credulity” (Ozment 1980, 438).