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The 95 Theses were written in 1517 and by 1521 [Martin] Luther had developed these ideas and burned the Book of Canon Law and the Papal Bull Exsurge Dominie. Four years in the C20* would be considered relatively quick for the weakening of an established order. The end of the Eastern Bloc did not happen overnight. In the C16* such an occurrence was all but unheard of. However, on closer analysis, arguments against this approach can be forwarded.

21 The reference to the ‘end of the Eastern Bloc’ is used to suggest that:
(a) The upheaval of the Catholic Church in the 16th century occurred quickly
(b) The upheaval of the Catholic Church in the 16th century occurred slowly
(c) The collapse of the two regimes was similar
(d) The collapse of the two regimes was different
(e) Revolutions never happen quickly

(a) CORRECT. The reference to the end of the Eastern Bloc is preceded by the statement that: ‘Four years in the C20 would be considered relatively quick for the weakening of an established order’. The end of the Eastern Bloc is used as an example of that fact and a comparison is made to what was achieved in four years in the 16th century.
(b) INCORRECT. See (a).
(c) INCORRECT. No comparison is made of the two regimes.
(d) INCORRECT. See (c).
(e) INCORRECT. Nowhere is it suggested that revolutions do not happen quickly. In fact, the defi nition of ‘revolutionary’ in the fi rst paragraph suggests the opposite.

I answered (b), so am shocked by my polarly wrong answer? The sentence before the bolded implies that even '4 years ... would be considered relatively quick,' so the (predicate) 'did not happen overnight' sounded sarcastic to me. I thought that if even 'four years ... relatively quick,' then the end of the Bloc certainly wouldn't 'happen overnight', and would need at least '...4 years.'

*C20 = 20th century, C16 = 16th century

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    Where did you get this from? Please provide that information here, and in future questions.
    – J.R.
    Sep 10 '14 at 9:54
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    You answered (b) and you are shocked by your wrong answer. And your question is?
    – Drew
    Sep 14 '14 at 1:22
  • The use of C16 and C20 to indicate "the 16th century" and "the 20th century" is confusing. Simply clarifying those two abbreviations allows the question (and the answers) to then make sense.
    – Mark G B
    Jun 26 at 14:21
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The author states that a change in 4 years would be considered fast, even nowadays. The fall of the eastern bloc was considered something that we considered to have happened quite fast, even though it actually took years.

In the 16th century, such a fast thing (like the collapse) of the eastern bloc, was all but unheard of. So to 16th century standards, those 4 years that the change took was not just "relatively quick" but really felt like "it happened overnight".

20th century => used to fast changes => big change in some years = "quite fast"

16th century => not used to fast changes => big change in some years = "woa! what just happened?"

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    While I will grant that most people consider the fall of the Eastern Bloc to "have happened quite fast", that is precisely the opposite meaning that the question's author intended. The question's author indicates that the fall of the Soviet bloc took MORE than 4 years. Which is what any student of modern Eastern European history, even the casual, will attest to. Your 2nd paragraph is more accurate, and salvages your answer.
    – Mark G B
    Jun 26 at 14:29
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Personally I think that's a very poorly worded question.

The reference to the end of the Easter Bloc does not, OF ITSELF, say anything about the upheaval in the Catholic Church following Luther. For this question to make sense you would have to say something more like, "The reference to the end of the Eastern Bloc is contrasted with the upheaval in the Catholic Church to imply that ..." or something of that sort.

Saying that (c) and (d) are incorrect because "no comparison is made of the two regimes" makes no sense. (c) and (d) compare the COLLAPSE of the two regimes, not the nature of the regimes themselves. Clearly the text IS comparing their collapse: it is saying that the Eastern Bloc collapsed more quickly than the dominion of the Catholic Church. That is the whole point of the paragraph. I think I would have answered (d): the point of the paragraph is that the Eastern Bloc collapsed quickly while the Catholic church lost its power slowly.

Side note: I'm not sure where this was written, but apparently it is using "C16" to mean "the 16th century", etc, which you can guess from context, but this is not a convention that I recall ever seeing used elsewhere.

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    I can't agree with your interpretation of the paragraph. The subject of the paragraph is the upheaval of the Catholic Church, and the intent of the paragraph is how quick that collapse was, even by modern standards. As the test answer explains, the reference to the Eastern Bloc is used an example of how quick the events in C16 were. (the Eastern Bloc took around 3 years to collapse, from initial revolutions in 1989 through to dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, although I don't think knowing that is actually necessary to interpret the text)
    – David Hall
    Sep 9 '14 at 22:18
  • Not sure where you're disagreeing with me. Personally I found the text confusing whether they were trying to say that the time it took the Catholic Church to come apart was surprising quick or expectedly (is that a word?) long. Is that your point?
    – Jay
    Sep 9 '14 at 22:22
  • I was disagreeing with saying "the point of the paragraph is that the Eastern Bloc collapsed quickly while the Catholic church lost its power slowly". My reading is that the point of the paragraph is that the upheavals of the Church occurred quickly (both for the time and in modern terms) with the reference to the Eastern Bloc used as a supporting example.
    – David Hall
    Sep 9 '14 at 22:26
  • But I also agree that it is a poor and confusing question - very surprised it is from an esol test.
    – David Hall
    Sep 9 '14 at 22:27
  • @DavidHall Okay, I'll give you that. As I say, it wasn't clear to me from reading it whether they were trying to say it was fast or slow.
    – Jay
    Sep 10 '14 at 13:44
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I answered (b), so am shocked by my polarly wrong answer? The sentence before the bolded implies that even '4 years ... would be considered relatively quick,' so the (predicate) 'did not happen overnight' sounded sarcastic to me. I thought that if even 'four years ... relatively quick,' then the end of the Bloc certainly wouldn't 'happen overnight', and would need at least '...4 years.'

Given that your logic in deriving the author's meaning is correct, I am surprised you decided on the wrong answer!

Four years, according to the question's author, is relatively quick. And, his predicate, "did not happen overnight", does have a sarcastic tone. Although the denouement was dramatic and brief, the end of the Eastern bloc indeed took more than four years. It was decades in the making.

And yet, the question's author states, in opening:

The 95 Theses were written in 1517 and by 1521 [Martin] Luther had developed these ideas and burned the Book of Canon Law and the Papal Bull Exsurge Dominie.

Specifically, the author is saying that Martin Luther's actions, over a mere 4 years, delivered a fatal blow to the dominance of the established order of the Catholic church. And yet, in a century (the 20th) generally thought of as having massive and rapid changes, one of the most significant "established order" changes, i.e. the collapse of the Eastern bloc, took the longer time. Logically, it seems to me the only possible conclusion is that Luther's changes were rapid, and happened quickly. And, that the author is using the comparison of the two regimes to illustrate the rapidity of Luther's changes.

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  • I assume this is an English language test question. This is a great example where a test taker who has knowledge of the subject domain of the passage has real advantage! Good answer in bringing the historical context! For those interested in the historical context of the "quickness" or not of the weakening of the Catholic Church (hence "arguments against this approach can be forwarded"), see this article where the quotation came from, arguing that Martin Luther might not have been a revolutionary. Jun 28 at 7:22

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