This volume explores how elements of the medieval tradition were transformed into new claims of authority by the Reformation. In theological terms the volume examines how ecclesiastical, biblical and patristic authority were reinterpreted and applied by the reformers. Several essays treat the social context of the German Reformation: the communities which influenced Luther, the positive stance taken toward the Jewish community by Urbanus Rhegius, and a Protestant treatment of domestic relations that incorporates a spirited defense of women. A third group of studies use contextual family theory to understand issues like clerical identity, Luther's own authority as a reformer, and the religious decisions of the princes. As a whole, the essays try to discover what motivated people to choose Protestantism and how they legitimated that choice for themselves and for others whom they attempted to persuade.