The ‘Introduction’ asks: What was the Reformation? Scholars from differing backgrounds have created myths to explain the phenomenon. There have been numerous attempts to reform Christianity, and there were several theological and political movements contemporary with Luther's reformation. The wider impact of the Reformation can be seen by considering the period 1517–1700 and by expanding the geographical scope of inquiry beyond Western Europe. The Reformation was much more than an event in religious history, but no clear distinction between religious and secular life existed at the time. The Reformation designates both a period and process, through which identity was formed through division and conflict.