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The Human Reformation, Article Critique Example

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Article Critique

The Human Reformation by Bruce Robinson discusses the Reformation and its impact in England in the sixteenth century. The article touches on many issues that took place right after the separation of the English church from Rome and goes on to explain the changes that took place during the process of separation and after it as well.  Of particular importance were the changes that took place within the church. Also, Robinson covered the implementation of these changes and how they took place. In this article the author has attempted to tell the story of the Reformation, the implementation of changes that took place and the atmosphere within the church and to some degree in society as well.

First and foremost, the author covers his points in a way so that the reader can get a glimpse of almost all the things that this event had an effect on.  Technically he included a thesis in the start of his paper, where he asks, ‘What happened after Henry decided Rome was unnecessary? What might it have been like to live through the Reformation?’ The text, however, covers much more than that and gives different amount of coverage to different aspects of this event.  It is important to notice that the author of this article avoids adding assumptions and mostly focuses on the facts. He, however, gives a good comparison when talking about the propaganda of Protestantism; he compares the Sunday services to contemporary media propaganda. This can be, in a way, looked at as an assumption regarding the power of the propaganda during those times. In addition, the style of the author makes the article easier to apprehend and understand clearly: he broke down the article to several pieces and that helps the reader understand different parts of this event. For instance, in the beginning he covers the socio-economic condition of the public. He then goes on to describe the events taking place within the Church and latter’s use of propaganda. He ends his article by covering the importance of magic and its later unpopular stance among the public.  It is important to note that Robinsons article doesn’t go with the timeline but covers the events exclusively. This helps the reader first apprehend the facts and later put them in a timeline.

Robinson’s evidences in “The Human Reformation” are vast. Even though he doesn’t specifically cite any of his facts, it is obvious that they are mainstream facts and are undoubtedly true.  He does a good job in the beginning with introducing the reader about the economic conditions in England at that time. Also, he goes on to cover the importance of the Church for the public. These evidences depict the society and their change under the Reformation.  Robinson, however, fails to adequately address the public reception during the process of change. Under the subheading of “Signs of change,” he vaguely covers this portion of the history.  He explains that there were different perceptions that were predominant in different cities like Yorkshire, Essex, and London.  Later in the article he states that there were “330 people who were executed for treason, of whom 287 died as rebels in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536.” The latter broadly explains that there were opposition factions within the public, but it still fails to cover the overall perception of the people.

Robinson’s overall assessment of this text is detailed. He covers almost every angle in this historical event. But what he fails to evaluate is the perception of the public.  As mentioned earlier, this is a great obstacle in this particular article because Robinson mainly covers events that took place because of the government or the Church.  This makes his argument a bit weaker in a sense that the reader does not see the “Human Reformation” but only understands the “government’s implementation of the Human Reformation.” But other than that, there is no doubt that the evidence is evaluated critically and thoroughly. Of great importance is his coverage of the propaganda in those times. Robinson argues that the propaganda was implemented in a way as to change the public perception of the Church as a whole. The Church and King Henry took full advantage of all the propagandistic methods possible. Here the author successfully argues that the implementation of this stance took effect on everyone, even the illiterate. He writes, “Too often a largely illiterate congregation would be urged to read the Bible and familiarize themselves with the arcane theology that never before had they needed to know.” In my opinion, this argument was perhaps the strongest in the article since it had: the evidence, detailed coverage, and good analogy.

All in all, Bruce Robinson’s “The Human Reformation” sufficiently covered an imporant part of the historical narrative. He had adequate knowledge about the details of the event and clearly depicted the events that took place in subsequent form. Robinson, however, failed to address the public perception and the public stance of these events. In addition, he failed to address whether the public perception changed after the government enforced the propaganda of the Church. The overall assessment by the author, however, was scholarly and at the same time it was basic. Consequently, the author dismisses having selective audience and makes the article easy to understand for people of different educational backgrounds.

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