The present pestilence of COVID-19 is often described as ‘unprecedented’ in the modern Western media, and understandably so. However, the presence of pestilence was a familiar reality throughout early modern Europe. Our Reformation forebears so frequently encountered the plague that it would not be too much to say that the entire course of religious history, at times, hung by the thread of a mere matter of breaths. Unsurprisingly, though contrary to the popular opinion in the modern blogosphere, our Reformers had a wide variety of responses to the plague. This lecture aims to explore the impact of the plague upon the Reformers, and explain the differences and similarities in their responses. This, of course, will be instructive to our own set of responses to COVID-19 today.
Protestants and Plagues