Did the Reformation Occur Before the Renaissance?
The Renaissance was a period from the 14th to the 16th centuries marked by a renewed interest in Classical Graeco-Roman culture, art, learning and science. It began in what is now Italy and spread throughout Europe. The Protestant Reformation was a European religious movement which challenged the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church, which until then was the only organized form of Christianity in Western Europe. The Reformation began when German priest Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" -- a list of grievances against the Catholic Church's practices -- to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517.
1 Not a Coincidence
The fact that the Renaissance occurred before the Protestant Reformation was not a coincidence. One of the major catalysts of the Protestant Reformation was the availability of the Bible in the common vernacular of people throughout Europe. Another was the increased number of people capable of reading the Bible for themselves. Both the availability of printed material and the increasing literacy rates were direct results of the Renaissance.