With the advent of printing and the development of new paper-making industries, it became possible for an educated lay person to obtain and understand works which hitherto had been the exclusive preserve of the clergy. As the newly emerging professional classes began to gain power in the cities, gradually wresting control from the old patrician families, they brought to their practice and interpretation of the Christian faith much the same critical acumen and professionalism they employed in their secular careers. The clerical monopoly on literacy was thus decisively broken. This development opened the way for an increasingly critical lay assessment of the abilities of the clergy, and growing lay confidence in religious matters."
Alister E. McGrath, A Life of John Calvin. A Study in the Shaping of Western Culture. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. Pbk. p.4.
|E. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in early modern Europe. Cambridge, 1983.|