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Word Count: 997
The Printing Press proved to be essential to the Reformation for the following reasons The demand for books became huge as Europe was coming out of the medieval era into the Renaissance This hunger for knowledge allowed once the Printing Press was invented Knowledge and ideas that were not usually assessable easily obtainable This allowed people to become more literate and rethink about their faith The Printing Press meant that people like Martin Luther were able to spread their word quickly and easily resulting in the Reformation To discuss the Printing Press before and after its invention helps to provide a perspective in answering the question of its impact on the Reformation The books before the Reformation were mostly costly hand made scrolls and folios in Latin and had limited circulation These Manuscripts took weeks to produce with very low productivity Johann Gutenbergs invention of moveable type in 1450 took the Printing Press into a new revolution By the year 1480 twenty-three northern European towns thirty-one Italian towns seven French towns six Spanish and Portuguese towns and one English town had presses Its impact was immediate among the literate classes but since the majority of citizens in Europe could not read or write its impact was initially more gradual then what appears when we look back from our 21st Century view Only one church existed in Western Europe in the year 1500 The Roman Catholic Church At the top was the Pope in Rome who literally governed everything In the 15 Century the decline in the level of education of the clergy had meant the level of education of the average urban and rural citizen had not improved over this period The church in its centralized hierarchy continued to exercise considerable control over the ideas of the church The church was reluctant to encourage literacy for everyone out of genuine concern for the development of extreme views on scripture The Church began
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