“The Reformation was an attack on the very principle of tradition. Ralph McInerny notes the following:
“What Descartes set in motion in the world of thought, Luther a short time before had set in motion in religion: the solitary individual standing in judgement on tradition, having to verify for himself each and claim on penalty of being less than human, or less than a Christian.
“This is not to say new demand were made of reason , for there is nothing reasonable about rejecting an entire tradition of collected wisdom to replace it with one’s latest thoughts, or perhaps the doctrine of whoever happens to shout the loudest. Indeed the anti-traditionalism and individualism which resulted from the reformation are one and the same error–namely, barbarism, or the seeking of some achievements independently from the collaborative pursuit which demands reference to one’s community and antecedents, and seeking such success to the point of wishing to destroy the efforts of those who are greater and wiser.
“One of the major effects of the Reformation in the academy has been the obsession with originality; that one is deemed a ‘genius’ not by becoming deeply learned within an intellectual tradition, and thereafter in gratitude contributing to the tradition, but rather by deliberately departing from a tradition, even before gaining much familiarity with it. The Reformation gave concrete theological foundation to the astonishing pride and conceit of those who wished, in one great sweep, to toss away all of Christendom’s masters of the intellectual life, with the who European educational enterprise and the civilizing tradition of the primary evangelized lands. It has been permissible–and deemed admirable–to cultivate this attitude ever since. This is of the utmost importance for understanding our political situation today, for the academy is where minds are formed, and what happens in the academy affects the future of the human community.”
Sebastian Morello, “The Northern Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt,” Luther and His Progeny, (John Rao, ed.), Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2017, pp. 53-54.