I’m continuing to work from Alister McGrath’s Reformation Thought: An Introduction”, providing background for anyone interested in understanding the Reformers and the causes for the Reformation.
The backdrop to the Reformation is the late medieval period. In recent scholarship there has been a growing emphasis upon the need to place the Reformation movement in its late medieval context and to bring together the insights of late medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation studies.
The separation of these fields – for example, through each having their own university chairs, journals, and learned societies – has greatly hindered this process of synthesis and consolidation, essential to the correct understanding of the ideas of the Reformation. In [what follows], we shall examine in some detail the two most important intellectual forces in late medieval Europe: humanism and scholastic theology. [We’ll start with] some preliminary points about late medieval religion.
McGrath, Alister E., Reformation Thought: An Introduction (p. 23). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
We should never forget that Rome in the 1300’s and 1400’s was an absolute cesspool, and that on top of that, what religious thinking there was existed on a foundation that was part forgery (Gratian’s Canon Law, and some of Thomas Aquinas’s work, was “authoritatively” built upon forged documents, for example.)
Clearly much of this invalidates Roman claims to authority. But none of this should negate the truth claims of Christianity. That is the entire purpose of the Reformation.