Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Overview
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence
Indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

 salesman Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel was a German Dominican preacher known for selling indulgences.-Life:Tetzel was born in Pirna, Saxony, and studied theology and philosophy at the university of his native city...

 with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 at the Diet of Worms
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

 in 1521 resulted in his excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

 by the Emperor.

Luther taught that salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as redeemer from sin.
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Timeline

1512   Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology (''Doctor in Biblia'').

1512   Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.

1517   Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

1520   Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther in papal bull ''Exsurge Domine''.

1520   Martin Luther burns his copy of the papal bull ''Exsurge Domine'' outside Wittenberg's Elster Gate.

1521   Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull ''Decet Romanum Pontificem''.

1521   Martin Luther's first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.

1521   Martin Luther speaks to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

1521   The Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

1525   Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for priests and nuns.

 
Quotations

When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are.

That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew Luther's Works, American Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1962), Volume 45, Page 201
Encyclopedia
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence
Indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

 salesman Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel was a German Dominican preacher known for selling indulgences.-Life:Tetzel was born in Pirna, Saxony, and studied theology and philosophy at the university of his native city...

 with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 at the Diet of Worms
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

 in 1521 resulted in his excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

 by the Emperor.

Luther taught that salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as redeemer from sin. His theology
Theology of Martin Luther
The theology of Martin Luther was instrumental in influencing the Protestant Reformation, specifically topics dealing with Justification by Faith, the relationship between the Law and the Gospel , and various other theological ideas. Although Luther never wrote a "systematic theology" or a...

 challenged the authority of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 is the only source
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

 of divinely
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 revealed knowledge and opposed sacerdotalism
Sacerdotalism
Sacerdotalism is the idea that a propitiatory sacrifice for sin must be offered by the intervention of an order of men separated to the priesthood...

 by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood
Priesthood of all believers
The universal priesthood or the priesthood of all believers, as it would come to be known in the present day, is a Christian doctrine believed to be derived from several passages of the New Testament...

. Those who identify with Luther's teachings are called Lutherans
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

.

His translation of the Bible
Luther Bible
The Luther Bible is a German Bible translation by Martin Luther, first printed with both testaments in 1534. This translation became a force in shaping the Modern High German language. The project absorbed Luther's later years. The new translation was very widely disseminated thanks to the printing...

 into the language of the people (instead of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

) made it more accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the translation into English of the King James Bible. His hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s influenced the development of singing in churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora
Katharina von Bora
Katharina von Bora, referred to as "die Lutherin", was the wife of Martin Luther, Germanleader of the Protestant Reformation. Beyond what is found in the writings of Luther and some of his contemporaries, little is known about her...

 set a model for the practice of clerical marriage
Clerical marriage
Clerical marriage is the practice of allowing clergy to marry. Churches such as the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox exclude this practice for their priests, while accepting already married men for ordination to priesthood...

, allowing Protestant priests to marry.

In his later years, while suffering from several illnesses and deteriorating health, Luther became increasingly antisemitic, writing that Jewish homes should be destroyed, their synagogues burned, money confiscated and liberty curtailed. These statements have contributed to his controversial status.

Birth and education



Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder (or Ludher, later Luther) and his wife Margarethe (née Lindemann) on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben
Eisleben
Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as the hometown of Martin Luther, hence its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. As of 2005, Eisleben had a population of 24,552...

, Germany, then part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. He was baptized as a Catholic the next morning on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours
Martin of Tours was a Bishop of Tours whose shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints...

. His family moved to Mansfeld
Mansfeld
Mansfeld is a town in the Mansfeld-Südharz district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river Wipper, 10 km northwest of Eisleben....

 in 1484, where his father was a leaseholder of copper mines and smelters and served as one of four citizen representatives on the local council. The religious scholar Martin Marty
Martin E. Marty
Martin Emil Marty is an American Lutheran religious scholar who has written extensively on 19th century and 20th century American religion. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1956, and served as a Lutheran pastor from 1952 to 1962 in the suburbs of Chicago...

 describes Luther's mother as a hard-working woman of "trading-class stock and middling means" and notes that Luther's enemies would later wrongly describe her as a whore and bath attendant. He had several brothers and sisters, and is known to have been close to one of them, Jacob.
Hans Luther was ambitious for himself and his family, and he was determined to see Martin, his eldest son, become a lawyer. He sent Martin to Latin schools in Mansfeld, then Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 in 1497, where he attended a school operated by a lay group
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

 called the Brethren of the Common Life
Brethren of the Common Life
The Brethren of the Common Life was a Roman Catholic pietist religious community founded in the 14th century by Gerard Groote, formerly a successful and worldly educator who had had a religious experience and preached a life of simple devotion to Jesus Christ...

, and Eisenach
Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

 in 1498. The three schools focused on the so-called "trivium": grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Luther later compared his education there to purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 and hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

.

In 1501, at the age of nineteen, he entered the University of Erfurt
University of Erfurt
The University of Erfurt is a public university located in Erfurt, Germany. Originally founded in 1379, the university was closed in 1816 for the next 177 years...

 – which he later described as a beerhouse and whorehouse. The schedule called for waking at four every morning for what has been described as "a day of rote learning and often wearying spiritual exercises." He received his master's degree in 1505.

In accordance with his father's wishes, Luther enrolled in law school at the same university that year but dropped out almost immediately, believing that law represented uncertainty. Luther sought assurances about life and was drawn to theology and philosophy, expressing particular interest in Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

, and Gabriel Biel
Gabriel Biel
Gabriel Biel was a German scholastic philosopher and member of the Brethren of the Common Life born in Speyer. In 1432 he was ordained to the priesthood and entered Heidelberg University. He succeeded academically and became an instructor in the faculty of the arts.- Life :His studies were pursued...

. He was deeply influenced by two tutors, Bartholomaeus Arnoldi
Bartholomaeus Arnoldi
Bartholomaeus Arnoldi was an Augustinian friar and doctor of divinity who taught Martin Luther and later turned into his earliest and one of his personally closest opponents.-Life:...

 von Usingen and Jodocus Trutfetter, who taught him to be suspicious of even the greatest thinkers and to test everything himself by experience. Philosophy proved to be unsatisfying, offering assurance about the use of reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

 but none about loving God, which to Luther was more important. Reason could not lead men to God, he felt, and he thereafter developed a love-hate relationship with Aristotle over the latter's emphasis on reason. For Luther, reason could be used to question men and institutions, but not God. Human beings could learn about God only through divine revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

, he believed, and Scripture therefore became increasingly important to him.

He later attributed his decision to an event: on 2 July 1505, he was on horseback during a thunderstorm and a lightning bolt struck near him as he was returning to university after a trip home. Later telling his father he was terrified of death and divine judgment, he cried out, "Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!" He came to view his cry for help as a vow he could never break. He left law school, sold his books, and entered a closed Augustinian
Order of Saint Augustine
The Order of St. Augustine —historically Ordo Eremitarum Sancti Augustini", O.E.S.A.), generally called Augustinians is a Catholic Religious Order, which, although more ancient, was formally created in the thirteenth century and combined of several previous Augustinian eremetical Orders into one...

 friary in Erfurt
Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...

 on 17 July 1505. One friend blamed the decision on Luther's sadness over the deaths of two friends. Luther himself seemed saddened by the move. Those who attended a farewell supper walked him to the door of the Black Cloister. "This day you see me, and then, not ever again," he said. His father was furious over what he saw as a waste of Luther's education.

Monastic and academic life


Luther dedicated himself to monastic life
Christian monasticism
Christian monasticism is a practice which began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules Christian...

, devoting himself to fasting
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

, long hours in prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

, pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

, and frequent confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

. He would later remark, "If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them." Luther described this period of his life as one of deep spiritual despair. He said, "I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of him the jailor and hangman of my poor soul."

Johann von Staupitz
Johann von Staupitz
Johann von Staupitz was a theologian, university preacher, Vicar-General of the Augustinian Order in Germany who supervised Martin Luther during a critical period in that man's spiritual life. Martin Luther himself remarked, "If it had not been for Dr...

, his superior, concluded that Luther needed more work to distract him from excessive introspection and ordered him to pursue an academic career. In 1507, he was ordained to the priesthood, and in 1508 began teaching theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 at the University of Wittenberg. He received a Bachelor's degree in Biblical studies on 9 March 1508, and another Bachelor's degree in the Sentences by Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian and bishop and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he is also known as Magister Sententiarum-Biography:Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno , in...

 in 1509. On 19 October 1512, he was awarded his Doctor of Theology
Doctor of Theology
Doctor of Theology is a terminal academic degree in theology. It is a research degree that is considered by the U.S. National Science Foundation to be the equivalent of a Doctor of Philosophy....

 and, on 21 October 1512, was received into the senate of the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

, having been called to the position of Doctor in Bible. He spent the rest of his career in this position at the University of Wittenberg.

The start of the Reformation


In 1516, Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel was a German Dominican preacher known for selling indulgences.-Life:Tetzel was born in Pirna, Saxony, and studied theology and philosophy at the university of his native city...

, a Dominican friar and papal commissioner for indulgences, was sent to Germany by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 in Rome. Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man; justification rather depends only on such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man. The benefits of good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.

On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to his bishop, Albert of Mainz
Albert of Mainz
Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545.-Biography:...

, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The Ninety-Five Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly "searching, rather than doctrinaire." Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which asks: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?"

Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory [also attested as 'into heaven'] springs."

He insisted that, since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

However, this oft-quoted saying of Tetzel was by no means representative of the official Catholic teaching on indulgences, but rather, more a reflection of his capacity to exaggerate. Yet if Tetzel overstated the matter in regard to indulgences for the dead, his teaching on indulgences for the living was pure.

According to scholars Walter Krämer, Götz Trenkler, Gerhard Ritter and Gerhard Prause, the story of the posting on the door, even though it has settled as one of the pillars of history, has little foundation in truth. In his preface to the posthumous second pressing of Luther’s compiled work, humanist and reformist Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon , born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems...

 writes "reportedly, Luther, burning with passion and just devoutness, posted the Ninety-Five Theses at the Castle Church in Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

, Germany at All Saints Eve, October 31" (Old calendar). At the time he wrote the preface, Melanchthon lived in Tübingen
Tübingen
Tübingen is a traditional university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated south of the state capital, Stuttgart, on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers.-Geography:...

, far from Wittenberg. In the preface, Melanchthon presents more untrue assertions: that indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel
Johann Tetzel was a German Dominican preacher known for selling indulgences.-Life:Tetzel was born in Pirna, Saxony, and studied theology and philosophy at the university of his native city...

 publicly burned Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, that Luther held colleges on nature and physics, and that Luther had visited Rome in 1511. For a professor of the Wittenberg University to post theses on doors is unparalleled in history. Even further, Luther was strongly law abiding and it would have been against his character to publish his thoughts and direction in this manner. Moreover, Luther never mentioned anything in this direction in his writings, and the only contemporary account of the publishing of the theses is the Latin account by his servant Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola was a German Protestant reformer and humanist. He was a follower and friend of Martin Luther, who became his antagonist in the matter of the binding obligation of the law on Christians.-Early life:Agricola was born at Eisleben, whence he is sometimes called Magister Islebius...

, who states that Luther presents "certain theses in the year of 1517 according to the customs of University of Wittenberg as part of a scientific discussion. The presentation of the theses was done in a modest and respectful way, preventing to mock or insult anybody". He makes no mention of nailing the theses to a door, nor does any other source report this. In actuality, Luther presented a hand-written copy, accompanied with honorable comments to the archbishop Albrecht of Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 and Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

, responsible for the practice of the indulgence sales, and to the bishop of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

, Luther's superior.

It wasn’t until January 1518 that friends of Luther translated the 95 Theses from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

. Within two weeks, copies of the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.

Luther's writings circulated widely, reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519. Students thronged to Wittenberg to hear Luther speak. He published a short commentary on Galatians
Epistle to the Galatians
The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia...

 and his Work on the Psalms. This early part of Luther's career was one of his most creative and productive. Three of his best-known works were published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation
To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation
To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation is the first of three tracts written by Martin Luther in 1520. In this work, he defined for the first time the signature doctrines of the Priesthood of all believers and the two kingdoms.-History:...

, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church
On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church
thumb||FrontspiecePrelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church was the second of the three major treatises published by Martin Luther in 1520, coming after the Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation and before On the Freedom of a Christian...

, and On the Freedom of a Christian
On the Freedom of a Christian
On the Freedom of a Christian sometimes also called "A Treatise on Christian Liberty"...

.

Justification by faith



From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance
Penance
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

 and righteousness
Righteousness
Righteousness is an important theological concept in Zoroastrianism, Hinduism , Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity. The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification
Justification (theology)
Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice....

 – God's act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God's grace. He began to teach that salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 or redemption is a gift of God's grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. "This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification," he wrote, "is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness."

Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. This teaching by Luther was clearly expressed in his 1525 publication On the Bondage of the Will
On the Bondage of the Will
On the Bondage of the Will , by Martin Luther, was published in December 1525. It was his reply to Desiderius Erasmus's De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio or On Free Will, which had appeared in September 1524 as Erasmus's first public attack on Luther, after being wary about the methods of...

, which was written in response to On Free Will by Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus , known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and a theologian....

 (1524). Luther based his position on Predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 on St. Paul's epistle to the . Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are performed in cooperation with God, Luther wrote that Christians receive such righteousness entirely from outside themselves; that righteousness not only comes from Christ but actually is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to Christians (rather than infused into them) through faith. "That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law," he wrote. "Faith is that which brings the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 through the merits of Christ." Faith, for Luther, was a gift from God; the experience of being justified by faith was "as though I had been born again." His entry into Paradise, no less, was a discovery about "the righteousness of God" – a discovery that "the just person" of whom the Bible speaks (as in Romans 1:17) lives by faith. He explained his concept of "justification" in the Smalcald Articles
Smalcald Articles
The Smalcald Articles or Schmalkald Articles are a summary of Lutheran doctrine, written by Martin Luther in 1537 for a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League in preparation for an intended ecumenical Council of the Church.-History:...

:


The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us ... Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 13:31).

Breach with the papacy


Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdeburg
Albert of Mainz
Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545.-Biography:...

 did not reply to Luther's letter containing the 95 Theses. He had the theses checked for heresy and in December 1517 forwarded them to Rome. He needed the revenue from the indulgences to pay off a papal dispensation for his tenure of more than one bishopric. As Luther later noted, "the pope had a finger in the pie as well, because one half was to go to the building of St Peter's Church in Rome".

Pope Leo X was used to reformers and heretics, and he responded slowly, "with great care as is proper." Over the next three years he deployed a series of papal theologians and envoys against Luther, which only served to harden the reformer's anti-papal theology. First, the Dominican theologian Sylvester Mazzolini
Sylvester Mazzolini
Sylvester Mazzolini, in Italian Silvestro Mazzolini da Prierio, in Latin Sylvester Prierias. was a theologian born at Priero, Piedmont; he died at Rome.At the age of fifteen, he entered the Dominican Order...

 drafted a heresy case against Luther, whom Leo then summoned to Rome. The Elector Frederick
Frederick III, Elector of Saxony
Frederick III of Saxony , also known as Frederick the Wise , was Elector of Saxony from 1486 to his death. Frederick was the son of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and his wife Elisabeth, daughter of Albert III, Duke of Bavaria...

 persuaded the pope to have Luther examined at Augsburg, where the Imperial Diet
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 was held. There, in October 1518, Luther informed the papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

 Cardinal Cajetan
Thomas Cajetan
Thomas Cajetan , also known as Gaetanus, commonly Tommaso de Vio , was an Italian cardinal. He is perhaps best known among Protestants for his opposition to the teachings of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation while he was the Pope's Legate in Wittenberg, and perhaps best known among...

 that he did not consider the papacy part of the biblical Church, and the hearings degenerated into a shouting match. More than his writing the 95 Theses, Luther's confrontation of the church cast him as an enemy of the pope. Cajetan's original instructions had been to arrest Luther if he failed to recant, but he lacked the means in Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

, where the Elector guaranteed Luther's security. Luther slipped out of the city at night, without leave from Cajetan.

In January 1519, at Altenburg
Altenburg
Altenburg is a town in the German federal state of Thuringia, 45 km south of Leipzig. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district.-Geography:...

 in Saxony, the papal nuncio Karl von Miltitz
Karl von Miltitz
Karl von Miltitz was a papal nuncio and a Mainz Cathedral canon.-Biography:He was born in Rabenau near Meißen and Dresden, his family stemming from the lesser Saxon nobility. He studied at Mainz, Trier, Cologne , and Bologna , but his deficient Latin reveals that he was not especially learned...

 adopted a more conciliatory approach. Luther made certain concessions to the Saxon, who was a relative of the Elector, and promised to remain silent if his opponents did. The theologian Johann Maier von Eck
Johann Eck
Dr. Johann Maier von Eck was a German Scholastic theologian and defender of Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation. It was Eck who argued that the beliefs of Martin Luther and Jan Hus were similar.-Life:...

, however, was determined to expose Luther's doctrine in a public forum. In June and July 1519, he staged a disputation
Leipzig Debate
The Leipzig Debate was a theological disputation originally between Andreas Karlstadt and Johann Eck. Eck, a staunch defender of Roman Catholic doctrine, had challenged Karlstadt to a public debate concerning the doctrines of free will and grace...

 with Luther's colleague Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Rudolph Bodenstein von Karlstadt , better known as Andreas Karlstadt or Andreas Carlstadt or Karolostadt, was a German Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation. He was born in Karlstadt, Franconia.-Education:Karlstadt received his doctorate of theology in 1510 from the...

 at Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 and invited Luther to speak. Luther's boldest assertion in the debate was that Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 16:18 does not confer on popes the exclusive right to interpret scripture, and that therefore neither popes nor church councils
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

 were infallible. For this, Eck branded Luther a new Jan Hus
Jan Hus
Jan Hus , often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague...

, referring to the Czech reformer and heretic burned at the stake in 1415. From that moment, he devoted himself to Luther's defeat.

Excommunication


On 15 June 1520, the Pope warned Luther with the papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 (edict) Exsurge Domine
Exsurge Domine
220px|thumb|Title page of first printed edition of Exsurge DomineExsurge Domine is a papal bull issued on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X in response to the teachings of Martin Luther in his 95 theses and subsequent writings which opposed the views of the papacy...

that he risked excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 unless he recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings, including the 95 Theses, within 60 days. That autumn, Johann Eck
Johann Eck
Dr. Johann Maier von Eck was a German Scholastic theologian and defender of Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation. It was Eck who argued that the beliefs of Martin Luther and Jan Hus were similar.-Life:...

 proclaimed the bull in Meissen and other towns. Karl von Miltitz
Karl von Miltitz
Karl von Miltitz was a papal nuncio and a Mainz Cathedral canon.-Biography:He was born in Rabenau near Meißen and Dresden, his family stemming from the lesser Saxon nobility. He studied at Mainz, Trier, Cologne , and Bologna , but his deficient Latin reveals that he was not especially learned...

, a papal nuncio
Nuncio
Nuncio is an ecclesiastical diplomatic title, derived from the ancient Latin word, Nuntius, meaning "envoy." This article addresses this title as well as derived similar titles, all within the structure of the Roman Catholic Church...

, attempted to broker a solution, but Luther, who had sent the Pope a copy of On the Freedom of a Christian in October, publicly set fire to the bull and decretal
Decretal
Decretals is the name that is given in Canon law to those letters of the pope which formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law.They are generally given in answer to consultations, but are sometimes due to the initiative of the popes...

s at Wittenberg on 10 December 1520, an act he defended in Why the Pope and his Recent Book are Burned and Assertions Concerning All Articles. As a consequence, Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on 3 January 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem
Decet Romanum Pontificem
Decet Romanum Pontificem is the papal bull excommunicating Martin Luther, bearing the title of the first three Latin words of the text. It was issued on January 3, 1521, by Pope Leo X to effect the excommunication threatened in his earlier papal bull Exsurge Domine since Luther failed to recant...

.

Diet of Worms




The enforcement of the ban on the 95 Theses fell to the secular authorities. On 18 April 1521, Luther appeared as ordered before the Diet of Worms
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

. This was a general assembly of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire that took place in Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

, a town on the Rhine. It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 presiding. Prince Frederick III, Elector of Saxony
Frederick III, Elector of Saxony
Frederick III of Saxony , also known as Frederick the Wise , was Elector of Saxony from 1486 to his death. Frederick was the son of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and his wife Elisabeth, daughter of Albert III, Duke of Bavaria...

, obtained a safe conduct for Luther to and from the meeting.

Johann Eck, speaking on behalf of the Empire as assistant of the Archbishop of Trier
Archbishopric of Trier
The Archbishopric of Trier was a Roman Catholic diocese in Germany, that existed from Carolingian times until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Its suffragans were the dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun. Since the 9th century the Archbishops of Trier were simultaneously princes and since the 11th...

, presented Luther with copies of his writings laid out on a table and asked him if the books were his, and whether he stood by their contents. Luther confirmed he was their author, but requested time to think about the answer to the second question. He prayed, consulted friends, and gave his response the next day:


Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.


Luther is sometimes also quoted as saying: "Here I stand. I can do no other". Recent scholars consider the evidence for these words to be unreliable, since they were inserted before "May God help me" only in later versions of the speech and not recorded in witness accounts of the proceedings.

Over the next five days, private conferences were held to determine Luther's fate. The Emperor presented the final draft of the Diet of Worms
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

 on 25 May 1521, declaring Luther an outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest: "We want him to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic." It also made it a crime for anyone in Germany to give Luther food or shelter. It permitted anyone to kill Luther without legal consequence.

At Wartburg Castle


Luther's disappearance during his return trip was planned. Frederick III, Elector of Saxony
Frederick III, Elector of Saxony
Frederick III of Saxony , also known as Frederick the Wise , was Elector of Saxony from 1486 to his death. Frederick was the son of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and his wife Elisabeth, daughter of Albert III, Duke of Bavaria...

 had him intercepted on his way home by masked horsemen and escorted to the security of the Wartburg Castle
Wartburg Castle
The Wartburg is a castle situated on a 1230-foot precipice to the southwest of, and overlooking the town of Eisenach, in the state of Thuringia, Germany...

 at Eisenach. During his stay at Wartburg, which he referred to as "my Patmos
Patmos
Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,984 and an area of . The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 meters above sea level. The Municipality of Patmos, which includes the offshore islands of Arkoi ,...

", Luther translated the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 from Greek into German and poured out doctrinal and polemical writings. These included a renewed attack on Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz
Albert of Mainz
Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545.-Biography:...

, whom he shamed into halting the sale of indulgences in his episcopates, and a "Refutation of the Argument of Latomus," in which he expounded the principle of justification
Justification (theology)
Rising out of the Protestant Reformation, Justification is the chief article of faith describing God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous through Christ's atoning sacrifice....

 to Jacobus Latomus
Jacobus Latomus
Jacobus Latomus was a Flemish theologian, a distinguished member of the Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Leuven. Latomus was a theological adviser to the Inquisition, and his exchange with William Tyndale is particularly noted...

, an orthodox theologian from Louvain
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

.

In this work, one of his most emphatic statements on faith, he argued that every good work designed to attract God's favor is a sin. All humans are sinners by nature, he explained, and God's grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

, which cannot be earned, alone can make them just. On 1 August 1521, Luther wrote to Melanchthon on the same theme: "Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides."

In the summer of 1521, Luther widened his target from individual pieties like indulgences and pilgrimages to doctrines at the heart of Church practices. In On the Abrogation of the Private Mass, he condemned as idolatry the idea that the mass is a sacrifice, asserting instead that it is a gift, to be received with thanksgiving by the whole congregation. His essay On Confession, Whether the Pope has the Power to Require It rejected compulsory confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 and encouraged private confession and absolution
Absolution
Absolution is a traditional theological term for the forgiveness experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This concept is found in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Anglican churches, and most Lutheran churches....

, since "every Christian is a confessor." In November, Luther wrote The Judgement of Martin Luther on Monastic Vows. He assured monks and nuns that they could break their vows without sin, because vows were an illegitimate and vain attempt to win salvation.

Luther made his pronouncements from Wartburg in the context of rapid developments at Wittenberg, of which he was kept fully informed. Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Rudolph Bodenstein von Karlstadt , better known as Andreas Karlstadt or Andreas Carlstadt or Karolostadt, was a German Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation. He was born in Karlstadt, Franconia.-Education:Karlstadt received his doctorate of theology in 1510 from the...

, supported by the ex-Augustinian Gabriel Zwilling
Gabriel Zwilling
Gabriel Zwilling was a German Lutheran and Protestant Reformer born near Annaberg, Electorate of Saxony. He was educated in Wittenberg and Erfurt...

, embarked on a radical programme of reform there in June 1521, exceeding anything envisaged by Luther. The reforms provoked disturbances, including a revolt by the Augustinian monks against their prior, the smashing of statues and images in churches, and denunciations of the magistracy. After secretly visiting Wittenberg in early December 1521, Luther wrote A Sincere Admonition by Martin Luther to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion. Wittenberg became even more volatile after Christmas when a band of visionary zealots, the so-called Zwickau prophets
Zwickau prophets
The Zwickau Prophets were three men from Zwickau of the Radical Reformation who were possibly involved in a disturbance in nearby Wittenberg and its reformation in early 1522....

, arrived, preaching revolutionary doctrines such as the equality of man, adult baptism
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

, and Christ's imminent return. When the town council asked Luther to return, he decided it was his duty to act.

Return to Wittenberg


Luther secretly returned to Wittenberg on 6 March 1522. "During my absence," he wrote to the Elector, "Satan has entered my sheepfold, and committed ravages which I cannot repair by writing, but only by my personal presence and living word." For eight days in Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

, beginning on Invocavit Sunday, 9 March, Luther preached eight sermons, which became known as the "Invocavit Sermons." In these sermons, he hammered home the primacy of core Christian values
Christian values
The term Christian values historically refers to the values found in the teachings of Jesus.The biblical teachings of Jesus include:* love of God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" ,...

 such as love, patience, charity, and freedom, and reminded the citizens to trust God's word rather than violence to bring about necessary change.


Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: "Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it." But when he sees the Word running and contending alone on the battle-field, then he shudders and shakes for fear.


The effect of Luther's intervention was immediate. After the sixth sermon, the Wittenberg jurist Jerome Schurf wrote to the elector: "Oh, what joy has Dr. Martin’s return spread among us! His words, through divine mercy, are bringing back every day misguided people into the way of the truth."

Luther next set about reversing or modifying the new church practices. By working alongside the authorities to restore public order, he signalled his reinvention as a conservative force within the Reformation. After banishing the Zwickau prophets, he now faced a battle not only against the established Church but against radical reformers who threatened the new order by fomenting social unrest and violence.

Peasants' War



Despite his victory in Wittenberg, Luther was unable to stifle radicalism further afield. Preachers such as Zwickau prophet Nicholas Storch
Nicholas Storch
Nicholas Storch was a radical reformation preacher and a weaver by trade. With Thomas Dreschel and Mark Thomas Stübner, he was one of the Zwickau prophets....

 and Thomas Müntzer helped instigate the German Peasants' War
German Peasants' War
The German Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt was a widespread popular revolt in the German-speaking areas of Central Europe, 1524–1526. At its height in the spring and summer of 1525, the conflict involved an estimated 300,000 peasants: contemporary estimates put the dead at 100,000...

 of 1524–25, during which many atrocities were committed, often in Luther's name. There had been revolts
Popular revolt in late medieval Europe
Popular revolts in late medieval Europe were uprisings and rebellions by peasants in the countryside, or the bourgeois in towns, against nobles, abbots and kings during the upheavals of the 14th through early 16th centuries, part of a larger "Crisis of the Late Middle Ages"...

 by the peasantry on a smaller scale since the 15th century. Luther's pamphlets against the Church and the hierarchy, often worded with "liberal" phraseology, now led many peasants to believe he would support an attack on the upper classes in general. Revolts broke out in Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

, Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

, and Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 in 1524, even drawing support from disaffected nobles, many of whom were in debt. Gaining momentum under the leadership of radicals such as Müntzer in Thuringia and Michael Gaismair in Tyrol, the revolts turned into war.

Luther sympathised with some of the peasants' grievances, as he showed in his response to the Twelve Articles in May 1525, but he reminded the aggrieved to obey the temporal authorities. During a tour of Thuringia, he became enraged at the widespread burning of convents, monasteries, bishops’ palaces, and libraries. In Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants
Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants
Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants is a piece written by Martin Luther, related to The German Peasants' War. The Peasants' War took place between 1524 and 1526, as a result of a tumultuous collection of grievances in many different spheres: political, economic, social, and...

, written on his return to Wittenberg, he explained the Gospel teaching on wealth, condemned the violence as the devil's work, and called for the nobles to put down the rebels like mad dogs:


Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel ... For baptism does not make men free in body and property, but in soul; and the gospel does not make goods common, except in the case of those who, of their own free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, do what the apostles and disciples did in Acts 4 [:32–37]. They did not demand, as do our insane peasants in their raging, that the goods of others—of Pilate and Herod—should be common, but only their own goods. Our peasants, however, want to make the goods of other men common, and keep their own for themselves. Fine Christians they are! I think there is not a devil left in hell; they have all gone into the peasants. Their raving has gone beyond all measure.


Luther justified his opposition to the rebels on three grounds. First, in choosing violence over lawful submission to the secular government, they were ignoring Christ's counsel to "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's"; St. Paul had written in his epistle to the that all authorities are appointed by God and therefore should not be resisted. This reference from the Bible forms the foundation for the doctrine known as the Divine Right of Kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, or, in the German case, the divine right of the princes. Second, the violent actions of rebelling, robbing, and plundering placed the peasants "outside the law of God and Empire," so they deserved "death in body and soul, if only as highwaymen and murderers." Lastly, Luther charged the rebels with blasphemy for calling themselves "Christian brethren" and committing their sinful acts under the banner of the Gospel.

Without Luther's backing for the uprising, many rebels laid down their weapons; others felt betrayed. Their defeat by the Swabian League
Swabian League
The Swabian League was an association of Imperial States - cities, prelates, principalities and knights - principally in the territory of the Early medieval stem duchy of Swabia, established in 1488 at the behest of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg and supported as well by Bertold von...

 at the Battle of Frankenhausen
Battle of Frankenhausen
The Battle of Frankenhausen was fought on 15 May 1525. It was the final act of the German Peasants' War: joint troops of Landgrave Philip I of Hesse and Duke George of Saxony defeated the peasants under their Anabaptist leader Thomas Müntzer near Frankenhausen in the County of Schwarzburg .On April...

 on 15 May 1525, followed by Müntzer’s execution, brought the revolutionary stage of the Reformation to a close. Thereafter, radicalism found a refuge in the anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 movement and other sects, while Luther's Reformation flourished under the wing of the secular powers.

Marriage


Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora
Katharina von Bora
Katharina von Bora, referred to as "die Lutherin", was the wife of Martin Luther, Germanleader of the Protestant Reformation. Beyond what is found in the writings of Luther and some of his contemporaries, little is known about her...

, one of 12 nuns he had helped escape from the Nimbschen Cistercian convent in April 1523, when he arranged for them to be smuggled out in herring barrels. "Suddenly, and while I was occupied with far different thoughts," he wrote to Wenceslaus Link, "the Lord has plunged me into marriage." Katherina was 26 years old, Luther was 41 years old.

On 13 June 1525, the couple was engaged with Johannes Bugenhagen
Johannes Bugenhagen
Johannes Bugenhagen , also called Doctor Pomeranus by Martin Luther, introduced the Protestant Reformation in the Duchy of Pomerania and Denmark in the 16th century. Among his major accomplishments was organization of Lutheran churches in Northern Germany and Scandinavia...

, Justus Jonas
Justus Jonas
Justus Jonas was a German Lutheran reformer.-Biography:Jonas was born at Nordhausen in Thuringia. His real name was Jodokus Koch, which he changed according to the common custom of German scholars in the sixteenth century, when at the University of Erfurt...

, Johannes Apel, Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon , born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems...

 and Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

 and his wife as witnesses. On the evening of the same day, the couple was married by Bugenhagen. The ceremonial walk to the church and the wedding banquet were left out, and were made up two weeks later on 27 June.

Some priests and former monks had already married, including Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Karlstadt
Andreas Rudolph Bodenstein von Karlstadt , better known as Andreas Karlstadt or Andreas Carlstadt or Karolostadt, was a German Christian theologian during the Protestant Reformation. He was born in Karlstadt, Franconia.-Education:Karlstadt received his doctorate of theology in 1510 from the...

 and Justus Jonas
Justus Jonas
Justus Jonas was a German Lutheran reformer.-Biography:Jonas was born at Nordhausen in Thuringia. His real name was Jodokus Koch, which he changed according to the common custom of German scholars in the sixteenth century, when at the University of Erfurt...

, but Luther's wedding set the seal of approval on clerical marriage. He had long condemned vows of celibacy
Celibacy
Celibacy is a personal commitment to avoiding sexual relations, in particular a vow from marriage. Typically celibacy involves avoiding all romantic relationships of any kind. An individual may choose celibacy for religious reasons, such as is the case for priests in some religions, for reasons of...

 on Biblical grounds, but his decision to marry surprised many, not least Melanchthon, who called it reckless. Luther had written to George Spalatin
George Spalatin
Georg Spalatin was the pseudonym taken by Georg Burkhardt , an important German figure in the history of the Reformation....

 on 30 November 1524, "I shall never take a wife, as I feel at present. Not that I am insensible to my flesh or sex (for I am neither wood nor stone); but my mind is averse to wedlock because I daily expect the death of a heretic."
Before marrying, Luther had been living on the plainest food, and, as he admitted himself, his mildewed bed was not properly made for months at a time.

Luther and his wife moved into a former monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, "The Black Cloister," a wedding present from the new elector John the Steadfast
John, Elector of Saxony
John of Saxony , known as John the Steadfast or John the Constant, was Elector of Saxony from 1525 until 1532...

 (1525–32). They embarked on what appeared to have been a happy and successful marriage, though money was often short. Between bearing six children, Hans – June 1526, Elizabeth – 10 December 1527 died within a few months, Magdalene – 1529 died in Luthers arms in 1542, Martin – 1531, Paul
Paul Luther
Paul Luther was a German physician, medical chemist and alchemist. He was the third son of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther and was successively physician to John Frederick II, Duke of Saxony, Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg, Augustus, Elector of Saxony, and his successor Christian I...

 – January 1533, and Margaret – 1534, Katharina helped earn the couple a living by farming the land and taking in boarders. Luther confided to Michael Stiefel on 11 August 1526: "My Katie is in all things so obliging and pleasing to me that I would not exchange my poverty for the riches of Croesus
Croesus
Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

."

Organising the church



By 1526, Luther found himself increasingly occupied in organising a new church. His Biblical ideal of congregations' choosing their own ministers had proved unworkable. According to Bainton: "Luther's dilemma was that he wanted both a confessional church based on personal faith and experience and a territorial church including all in a given locality. If he were forced to choose, he would take his stand with the masses, and this was the direction in which he moved." From 1525 to 1529, he established a supervisory church body, laid down a new form of worship service
Service of worship
In the Protestant denominations of Christianity, a service of worship is a meeting whose primary purpose is the worship of God. The phrase is normally shortened to service. It is also commonly called a worship service...

, and wrote a clear summary of the new faith in the form of two catechisms.

To avoid confusing or upsetting the people, Luther avoided extreme change. He also did not wish to replace one controlling system with another. He concentrated on the church in the Electorate of Saxony
Electorate of Saxony
The Electorate of Saxony , sometimes referred to as Upper Saxony, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356...

, acting only as an adviser to churches in new territories, many of which followed his Saxon model. He worked closely with the new elector, John the Steadfast
John, Elector of Saxony
John of Saxony , known as John the Steadfast or John the Constant, was Elector of Saxony from 1525 until 1532...

, to whom he turned for secular leadership and funds on behalf of a church largely shorn of its assets and income after the break with Rome. For Luther's biographer Martin Brecht, this partnership "was the beginning of a questionable and originally unintended development towards a church government under the temporal sovereign". The elector authorised a visitation
Canonical Visitation
A canonical visitation is the act of an ecclesiastical superior who in the discharge of his office visits persons or places with a view of maintaining faith and discipline, and of correcting abuses by the application of proper remedies.-Catholic usage:...

 of the church, a power formerly exercised by bishops. At times, Luther's practical reforms fell short of his earlier radical pronouncements. For example, the Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors in Electoral Saxony (1528), drafted by Melanchthon with Luther's approval, stressed the role of repentance in the forgiveness of sins, despite Luther's position that faith alone ensures justification. The Eisleben
Eisleben
Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as the hometown of Martin Luther, hence its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. As of 2005, Eisleben had a population of 24,552...

 reformer Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola was a German Protestant reformer and humanist. He was a follower and friend of Martin Luther, who became his antagonist in the matter of the binding obligation of the law on Christians.-Early life:Agricola was born at Eisleben, whence he is sometimes called Magister Islebius...

 challenged this compromise, and Luther condemned him for teaching that faith is separate from works. The Instruction is a problematic document for those seeking a consistent evolution in Luther's thought and practice.

In response to demands for a German liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, Luther wrote a German Mass
Deutsche Messe
Deutsche Messe, or The German Mass, was published by Martin Luther in 1526. It followed his Latin mass, Formula missae . Both of these masses were meant only as a suggestion made on request and were not expected to be used exactly as they were, but could be altered...

, which he published in early 1526. He did not intend it as a replacement for his 1523 adaptation of the Latin Mass but as an alternative for the "simple people", a "public stimulation for people to believe and become Christians." Luther based his order on the Catholic service but omitted "everything that smacks of sacrifice"; and the Mass became a celebration where everyone received the wine as well as the bread. He retained the elevation of the host
Elevation (Liturgy)
In Christian liturgy the elevation is a ritual raising of the consecrated elements of bread and wine during the celebration of the Eucharist. The term is applied especially to that by which, in the Roman Rite of Mass, the Host and the Chalice are each shown to the people immediately after each is...

 and chalice
Chalice
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. This can also refer to;* Holy Chalice, the vessel which Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve the wine* Chalice , a type of smoking pipe...

, while trappings such as the Mass vestments, altar, and candles were made optional, allowing freedom of ceremony. Some reformers, including followers of Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

, considered Luther's service too papistic; and modern scholars note the conservatism of his alternative to the Catholic mass. Luther's service, however, included congregational singing of hymns and psalms in German, as well as of parts of the liturgy, including Luther's unison setting of the Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

. To reach the simple people and the young, Luther incorporated religious instruction into the weekday services in the form of the catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

. He also provided simplified versions of the baptism and marriage services.

Luther and his colleagues introduced the new order of worship during their visitation of Electoral Saxony
Electorate of Saxony
The Electorate of Saxony , sometimes referred to as Upper Saxony, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356...

, which began in 1527. They also assessed the standard of pastoral care and Christian education in the territory. "Merciful God, what misery I have seen," Luther wrote, "the common people knowing nothing at all of Christian doctrine ... and unfortunately many pastors are well-nigh unskilled and incapable of teaching."

Catechisms



Luther devised the catechism as a method of imparting the basics of Christianity to the congregations. In 1529, he wrote the Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism consisted of works written by Martin Luther and compiled Christian canonical texts, published in April of 1529. This book was addressed particularly to clergymen to aid them in teaching their congregations...

, a manual for pastors and teachers, as well as a synopsis, the Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

, to be memorised by the people themselves. The catechisms provided easy-to-understand instructional and devotional material on the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

, the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

, the Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, baptism, and the Lord's Supper. Luther incorporated questions and answers in the catechism so that the basics of Christian faith would not just be learned by rote
Rote learning
Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization. The major practice involved in rote learning is learning by repetition by which students commit information to memory in a highly structured way. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the...

, "the way monkeys do it", but understood.

The catechism is one of Luther's most personal works. "Regarding the plan to collect my writings in volumes," he wrote, "I am quite cool and not at all eager about it because, roused by a Saturnian hunger, I would rather see them all devoured. For I acknowledge none of them to be really a book of mine, except perhaps the Bondage of the Will
On the Bondage of the Will
On the Bondage of the Will , by Martin Luther, was published in December 1525. It was his reply to Desiderius Erasmus's De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio or On Free Will, which had appeared in September 1524 as Erasmus's first public attack on Luther, after being wary about the methods of...

and the Catechism." The Small Catechism has earned a reputation as a model of clear religious teaching. It remains in use today, along with Luther's hymns and his translation of the Bible.

Luther's Small Catechism proved especially effective in helping parents teach their children; likewise the Larger Catechism was effective for pastors. Using the German vernacular they expressed the Apostles' Creed in simpler, more personal, Trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 language. He rewrote each article of the Creed to express the character of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Luther's goal was to enable the catechumens to see themselves as a personal object of the work of the three persons of the Trinity, each of which works in the catechumen's life. That is, Luther depicted the Trinity not as a doctrine to be learned, but as persons to be known. The Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Spirit sanctifies, a divine unity with separate personalities. Salvation originates with the Father and draws the believer to the Father. Luther's treatment of the Apostles Creed must be understood in the context of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

) and the Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, which are also part of the Lutheran catechical teaching.

Translation of the Bible




Luther had published his German translation of the New Testament in 1522, and he and his collaborators completed the translation of the Old Testament in 1534, when the whole Bible was published. He continued to work on refining the translation until the end of his life.
Others had translated the Bible into German, but Luther tailored his translation to his own doctrine. When he was criticised for inserting the word "alone" after "faith" in Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

 3:28, he replied in part: "[T]he text itself and the meaning of St. Paul urgently require and demand it. For in that very passage he is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine, namely, that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law . . . But when works are so completely cut away – and that must mean that faith alone justifies – whoever would speak plainly and clearly about this cutting away of works will have to say, 'Faith alone justifies us, and not works'."

Luther's translation used the variant of German spoken at the Saxon chancellery, intelligible to both northern and southern Germans. He intended his vigorous, direct language to make the Bible accessible to everyday Germans, "for we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read it without hindrance."

Published at a time of rising demand for German-language publications, Luther's version quickly became a popular and influential Bible translation. As such, it made a significant contribution to the evolution of the German language and literature. Furnished with notes and prefaces by Luther, and with woodcuts by Lucas Cranach
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

 that contained anti-papal imagery, it played a major role in the spread of Luther's doctrine throughout Germany. The Luther Bible influenced other vernacular translations, such as William Tyndale
William Tyndale
William Tyndale was an English scholar and translator who became a leading figure in Protestant reformism towards the end of his life. He was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther...

's English Bible (1525 forward), a precursor of the King James Bible.

Hymns


Luther was a prolific hymn writer, authoring hymns such as Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A Mighty Fortress is Our God
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is the best known of Martin Luther's hymns. Luther wrote the words and composed the melody sometime between 1527 and 1529. It has been translated into English at least seventy times and also into many other languages...

), based on Psalm 46
Psalm 46
Psalm 46 is the 46th psalm from the Book of Psalms, composed by sons of Korah.-Uses:Portions of the psalm are used or referenced in several Jewish prayers. Verse 8 is the ninth verse of V'hu Rachum in Pesukei Dezimra, and is also a part of Uva Letzion. Verse 12 is part of Havdalah...

. Luther connected high art and folk music, also all classes, clergy and laity, men, women and children. His device for this linking was the singing of German hymns in connection with worship, school, home, and the public arena.

Luther's 1524 creedal hymn Wir glauben all an einen Gott (We All Believe in One True God) is a three-stanza confession of faith prefiguring Luther's 1529 three-part explanation of the Apostles' Creed in the Small Catechism. Luther's hymn, adapted and expanded from an earlier German creedal hymn, gained widespread use in vernacular Lutheran liturgies as early as 1525. Sixteenth-century Lutheran hymnals also included Wir glauben all among the catechetical hymns, although 18th-century hymnals tended to label the hymn as Trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 rather than catechetical, and 20th-century Lutherans rarely use the hymn because of the perceived difficulty of its tune.

Luther's 1538 hymnic version of the Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, Vater unser im Himmelreich, corresponds exactly to Luther's explanation of the prayer in the Small Catechism, with one stanza for each of the seven prayer petitions, plus opening and closing stanzas. The hymn functioned both as a liturgical setting of the Lord's Prayer and as a means of examining candidates on specific catechism questions. The extant manuscript shows multiple revisions, demonstrating Luther's concern to clarify and strengthen the text and to provide an appropriately prayerful tune. Other 16th- and 20th-century versifications of the Lord's Prayer have adopted Luther's tune, although modern texts are considerably shorter.
Luther wrote Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir , BWV 38, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig in 1724 in his second annual cycle for the twenty-first Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 19 October 1724...

(From depths of woe I cry to you) in 1523 as a hymnic version of Psalm 130
Psalm 130
Psalm 130 , traditionally De profundis from its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential psalms.-Commentary:...

 and sent it as a sample to encourage evangelical colleagues to write psalm-hymns for use in German worship. In a collaboration with Paul Speratus, this and seven more hymns were published in the first Lutheran hymnal, also called Achtliederbuch. In 1524 Luther developed his original four-stanza psalm paraphrase into a five-stanza Reformation hymn that developed the theme of "grace alone" more fully. Because it expressed essential Reformation doctrine, this expanded version of Aus tiefer Not was designated as a regular component of several regional Lutheran liturgies and was widely used at funerals, including Luther's own. Along with Erhart Hegenwalt's hymnic version of Psalm 51
Psalm 51
Psalm 51 , traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God....

, Luther's expanded hymn was also adopted for use with the fifth part of Luther's catechism, concerning confession.

Luther's 1540 hymn Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (To Jordan came the Christ our Lord) reflects the structure and substance of his questions and answers concerning baptism in the Small Catechism. Luther adopted a preexisting Johann Walter
Johann Walter
Johann Walter was a Lutheran composer and poet during the Reformation period.-Life:Walter was born in Kahla, Thuringia in 1496...

 tune associated with a hymnic setting of Psalm 67
Psalm 67
Psalm 67 is part of the biblical Book of Psalms.-Anglican Church:It may be recited as a canticle in the Anglican liturgy of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer as an alternative to the Nunc dimittis, when it is referred to by its incipit as the Deus misereatur .The main hymn...

's prayer for grace; Wolf Heintz's four-part setting of the hymn was used to introduce the Lutheran Reformation in Halle in 1541. Preachers and composers of the 18th century, including J. S. Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, used this rich hymn as a subject for their own work, although its objective baptismal theology was displaced by more subjective hymns under the influence of late-19th-century Lutheran pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

.

Luther wrote Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein , BWV 2, is a church cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 18 June 1724...

(Oh God, look down from heaven). He wrote Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland is a chorale text adapted by Martin Luther from the second verse of Veni, redemptor gentium; the corresponding Gregorian chant dates from the 12th century.Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland discusses the chorale itself....

(Now come, Savior of the gentiles) based on Veni redemptor gentium. It became the main hymn (Hauptlied) for Advent
Advent
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday, called Levavi...

. He transformed A solus ortus cardine to Christum wir sollen loben schon (We should now praise Christ) and Veni creator spiritus
Veni Creator Spiritus
Veni Creator Spiritus is a hymn believed to have been written by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. It is normally sung in Gregorian Chant and often associated with the Roman Catholic Church, where it is performed during the liturgical celebration of the feast of Pentecost...

to Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist (Come, Holy Spirit, Lord God). He wrote two hymns on the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

, Dies sind die heilgen Zehn Gebot and Mensch, willst du leben seliglich. His Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ is a Lutheran chorale of 1524, with words written by Martin Luther. For centuries the chorale has been the prominent hymn for Christmas Day in German speaking Lutheranism, but has also been used in different translations internationally...

(Praise be to You, Jesus Christ) became the main hymn for Christmas. He wrote for Pentecost
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

 Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist
Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist
Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist is a chorale in four stanzas. The first stanza dates from the 13th century and alludes to the Latin sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus, three other stanzas were written by Martin Luther...

and for Easter Christ ist erstanden (Christ is risen), based on Victimae paschali laudes
Victimae Paschali Laudes
Victimae paschali laudes is a sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Mass and liturgical Protestant Eucharists of Easter Sunday. It is usually attributed to the 11th century Wipo of Burgundy, chaplain to the German Emperor Conrad II, but has also been attributed to Notker Balbulus, Robert II of...

.

Luther's hymns inspired composers to write music. Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 included several verses as chorale
Chorale
A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....

s in his cantata
Bach cantata
Bach cantata became a term for a cantata of the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach who was a prolific writer of the genre. Although many of his works are lost, around 200 cantatas survived....

s and based chorale cantata
Chorale cantata
In music, a chorale cantata is a sacred composition for voices and instruments, principally from the German Baroque era, in which the organizing principle is the words and music to a chorale. Usually a chorale cantata is in multiple movements or parts. Most chorale cantatas were written between...

s entirely on them, namely Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, as early as possibly 1707, in his second annual cycle (1724 to 1725) Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, BWV 2, Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 7, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland , BWV 62, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the chorale cantata, based on Martin Luther's chorale Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, in Leipzig for the first Sunday in Advent and first performed it on 3 December 1724.-History and words:Bach wrote the...

, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 91
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, BWV 91
Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ , BWV 91, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was written in Leipzig in 1724 for Christmas Day and first performed on 25 December 1724.-History and words:...

, and Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 38, later Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80, and in 1735 Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit, BWV 14.

Marburg Colloquy and Eucharist controversy


In October 1529, Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse
Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse
Philip I of Hesse, , nicknamed der Großmütige was a leading champion of the Protestant Reformation and one of the most important of the early Protestant rulers in Germany....

 convoked an assembly of German and Swiss theologians at the Marburg Colloquy
Marburg Colloquy
The Marburg Colloquy was a meeting at Marburg Castle, Marburg, Hesse, Germany which attempted to solve a dispute between Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli over the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. It took place between 1 October and 4 October 1529. The leading Protestant reformers of...

, to establish doctrinal unity in the emerging Protestant states. Agreement was achieved on fourteen points out of fifteen, the exception being the nature of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 – the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

 of the Lord's Supper—an issue crucial to Luther.

The theologians, including Zwingli, Melanchthon, Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer was a Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Bucer was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but after meeting and being influenced by Martin Luther in 1518 he arranged for his monastic vows to be annulled...

, and Johannes Oecolampadius
Johannes Oecolampadius
Johannes Œcolampadius was a German religious reformer. His real name was Hussgen or Heussgen .-Life:He was born in Weinsberg, then part of the Electoral Palatinate...

, differed on the significance of the words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

: "This is my body which is for you" and "This cup is the new covenant in my blood" (1 Corinthians 11
1 Corinthians 11
In the eleventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul of Tarsus writes on the conduct of Christians while worshiping together.-Vv 2-16 the Woman's Headcovering:Verses 2-16 have been the source of much confusion for interpreters...

:23–26). Luther insisted on the Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine, which he called the sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

, while his opponents believed God to be only spiritually or symbolically present. Zwingli, for example, denied Jesus's ability to be in more than one place at a time but Luther stressed his ubiquity
Omnipresence
Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. According to eastern theism, God is present everywhere. Divine omnipresence is thus one of the divine attributes, although in western theism it has attracted less philosophical attention than such attributes as omnipotence,...

. According to transcripts, the debate sometimes became confrontational. Citing Jesus's words "The flesh profiteth nothing" (John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 6.63), Zwingli said, "This passage breaks your neck". "Don't be too proud," Luther retorted, "German necks don't break that easily. This is Hesse, not Switzerland." On his table Luther wrote the words "Hoc est corpus meum" ("This is my body") in chalk, to continually indicate his firm stance.

Despite the disagreements on the Eucharist, the Marburg Colloquy paved the way for the signing in 1530 of the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

, and for the formation of the Schmalkaldic League
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

 the following year by leading Protestant nobles such as John of Saxony, Philip of Hesse, and George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
George of Brandenburg-Ansbach was a Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach from the House of Hohenzollern.- Early life :...

. The Calvinist Swiss cities, however, did not sign these agreements.

On the soul after death


In contrast to the views of Calvin and Melanchthon, through his life Luther maintained the idea that the soul was unconscious in death, and from this Luther came also to dispute traditional interpretations of some Bible passages, such as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This also led Luther to reject the idea of torments for the saints: "It is enough for us to know that souls do not leave their bodies to be threatened by the torments and punishments of hell, but enter a prepared bedchamber in which they sleep in peace" However, Luther affirmed the continuation of one's personal identity beyond death. For example, in his Smalcald Articles he described the saints as currently residing "in their graves and in heaven."

Franz August Otto Pieper argues that Luther's apparent teaching of "soul sleep" (German Seelenschlaf) was a source of embarrassment to some later Lutherans, such as Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard was a Lutheran church leader and Lutheran Scholastic theologian during the period of Orthodoxy.-Biography:He was born in the German city of Quedlinburg...

. This was also the view of Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature...

 (1755) in his analysis of late Lutheran Orthodoxy
Lutheran Orthodoxy
Lutheran orthodoxy was an era in the history of Lutheranism, which began in 1580 from the writing of the Book of Concord and ended at the Age of Enlightenment. Lutheran orthodoxy was paralleled by similar eras in Calvinism and tridentine Roman Catholicism after the...

 to these passages.

Luther's Commentary on Genesis contains a passage which concludes "...the soul does not sleep (anima non sic dormit), but wakes (sed vigilat) and experiences visions". Francis Blackburne
Francis Blackburne (archdeacon)
Francis Blackburne was an English Anglican churchman, archdeacon of Cleveland and an activist against the requirement of subscription to the Thirty Nine Articles.-Life:...

 in 1765 argued that John Jortin
John Jortin
-Life:Jortin was the son of Renatus Jordain, a French Huguenot refugee and government official, and Martha Rogers, daughter of Daniel Rogers. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became a Fellow in 1721. He was Rede lecturer at Cambridge in 1724, and Boyle lecturer in 1749...

 misread this and other passages from Luther, while Gottfried Fritschel
Gottfried Fritschel
Gottfried William Leonhard Fritschel was a German-born Lutheran who emigrated to Iowa.His father was Martin Fritschel a minister, his brother Conrad Sigmund Fritschel was a professor at Wartburg College, and his son George J...

 pointed out in 1867 that it actually refers to the soul of a man "in this life" (homo enim in hac vita) tired from his daily labour (defatigus diurno labore) who at night enters his bedchamber (sub noctem intrat in cubiculum suum) and whose sleep is interrupted by dreams.

Henry Eyster Jacobs' English translation from 1898 reads:
"Nevertheless, the sleep of this life and that of the future life differ; for in this life, man, fatigued by his daily labour, at nightfall goes to his couch, as in peace, to sleep there, and enjoys rest; nor does he know anything of evil, whether of fire or of murder."

On Islam



At the time of the Marburg Colloquy, Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 was besieging Vienna
Siege of Vienna
The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city of Vienna, Austria. The siege signalled the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire's power, the maximum extent of Ottoman expansion in central Europe, and was the result of a...

 with a vast Ottoman
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 army. Luther had argued against resisting the Turks in his 1518 Explanation of the Ninety-five Theses, provoking accusations of defeatism. He saw the Turks as a scourge
Scourge
A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back.-Description:...

 sent to punish Christians by God, as agents of the Biblical apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 that would destroy the antichrist
Antichrist
The term or title antichrist, in Christian theology, refers to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner...

, whom Luther believed to be the papacy, and the Roman Church. He consistently rejected the idea of a Holy War
Religious war
A religious war; Latin: bellum sacrum; is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religiously motivated group attempting to...

, "as though our people were an army of Christians against the Turks, who were enemies of Christ. This is absolutely contrary to Christ's doctrine and name". On the other hand, in keeping with his doctrine of the two kingdoms
Doctrine of the two kingdoms
Martin Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms of God teaches that God is the ruler of the whole world and that he rules in two ways....

, Luther did support non-religious war against the Turks. In 1526, he argued in Whether Soldiers can be in a State of Grace that national defence is reason for a just war. By 1529, in On War against the Turk
On War against the Turk
On War against the Turk was a book written by Martin Luther in 1528 and published in 1529. It was one of several pamphlets and sermons by Martin Luther about Islam and resistance to the Ottoman Empire, during the critical period of territorial expansion of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, marked by...

, he was actively urging Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 and the German people to fight a secular war against the Turks.
He made clear, however, that the spiritual war against an alien faith was separate, to be waged through prayer and repentance. Around the time of the Siege of Vienna, Luther wrote a prayer for national deliverance from the Turks, asking God to "give to our emperor perpetual victory over our enemies".

In 1542, Luther read a Latin translation of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. He went on to produce several critical pamphlets on the Islamic faith, which he called Mohammedanism or the Turk. Though Luther saw the Muslim faith as a tool of the devil, he was indifferent to its practice: "Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live." He opposed banning the publication of the Qur'an, wanting it exposed to scrutiny.

Augsburg Confession



Shaken by the Siege of Vienna
Siege of Vienna
The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city of Vienna, Austria. The siege signalled the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire's power, the maximum extent of Ottoman expansion in central Europe, and was the result of a...

, Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 convened the Imperial Diet
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 at Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

 in 1530, aiming to unite the empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 against the Turks. To achieve this, he needed first to resolve the religious controversies in his lands, "considering with love and kindness the views of everybody". He asked for a statement of the evangelical case, and one was duly devised by Luther, Melanchthon, and their colleagues at Wittenberg. Melanchthon drafted the document, known as the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

, and travelled with the elector's party to Augsburg, where it was read to the emperor and diet on 25 June 1530. (Luther was left behind at the Coburg
Coburg
Coburg is a town located on the Itz River in Bavaria, Germany. Its 2005 population was 42,015. Long one of the Thuringian states of the Wettin line, it joined with Bavaria by popular vote in 1920...

 fortress in southern Saxony because he remained under the imperial ban and lacked a safe-conduct to attend the diet.) Luther's writings during his 165 days at Coburg, including the Exhortation to all Clergy Assembled at Augsburg, show that, unlike Melanchthon, he was set against making concessions.

Despite the Confession's avoidance of strident language or abuse of the pope, the diet rejected it on 22 September and ordered the reformers to renounce heresy and submit to the control of the Roman Catholic Church by the following April or face the imperial army. That decision confirmed Luther's belief that the mission had been futile. It prompted the Lutheran princes to form a military alliance, the Schmalkaldic League
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

, which Luther cautiously supported on grounds of self-defence in his Warning to His Dear German People of 1531. The Augsburg Confession had become the statement of faith on which Lutherans were prepared to stand or fall. Though a modification of Luther's own position, it nevertheless is regarded as the first Lutheran treatise.

Luther's body


In the 1530s and 1540s, printed images of Luther that emphasized his monumental size were crucial to the spread of Protestantism. In contrast to images of frail Catholic saints, Luther was presented as a stout man with a "double chin, strong mouth, piercing deep-set eyes, fleshy face, and squat neck." He was shown to be physically imposing, an equal in stature to the secular German princes whom he would join forces with to spread Lutheranism. His large body also let the viewer know that he did not shy away from earthly pleasures, whether it be drinking beer or having sexual relations with his wife; behavior that was in contrast to the monastic values of the Catholic Church. Famous images from this period include the woodcuts by Hans Brosamer
Hans Brosamer
Hans Brosamer, an old German engraver, was born at Fulda about the year 1506. On account of the small size of his prints he is ranked amongwhat are called the Little Masters...

 (1530) and Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

 and Lucas Cranach the Younger
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Lucas Cranach the Younger was a German Renaissance artist, known for his woodcuts and paintings.He was the youngest son of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Barbara Brengebier, and began his career as an apprentice in his father's workshop alongside his brother Hans. Henceforth, his own reputation and...

 (1546).

Anti-Antinomianism


Early in 1537, Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola
Johannes Agricola was a German Protestant reformer and humanist. He was a follower and friend of Martin Luther, who became his antagonist in the matter of the binding obligation of the law on Christians.-Early life:Agricola was born at Eisleben, whence he is sometimes called Magister Islebius...

 (1494–1566) – serving at the time as pastor in Luther's birthplace, Eisleben – preached a sermon in which he claimed that God's gospel, not God's moral law (the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

), revealed God's wrath to Christians. Based on this sermon and others by Agricola, Luther suspected that Agricola was behind certain anonymous antinomian
Antinomianism
Antinomianism is defined as holding that, under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation....

 theses circulating in Wittenberg. These theses asserted that the law is no longer to be taught to Christians but belonged only to city hall. Luther responded to these theses with six series of theses against Agricola and the antinomians, four of which became the basis for disputation
Disputation
In the scholastic system of education of the Middle Ages, disputations offered a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology and in sciences...

s between 1538 and 1540. He also responded to these assertions in other writings, such as his 1539 open letter
Open letter
An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally....

 to C. Güttel Against the Antinomians, and his book On the Councils and the Church from the same year.

In his theses and disputations against the antinomians, Luther reviews and reaffirms, on the one hand, what has been called the "second use of the law," that is, the law as the Holy Spirit's tool to work sorrow over sin in man's heart, thus preparing him for Christ's fulfillment of the law offered in the gospel. Luther states that everything that is used to work sorrow over sin is called the law, even if it is Christ's life, Christ's death for sin, or God's goodness experienced in creation. Simply refusing to preach the Ten Commandments among Christians – thereby, as it were, removing the three letters l-a-w from the church – does not eliminate the accusing law. Claiming that the law – in any form – should not be preached to Christians anymore would be tantamount to asserting that Christians are no longer sinners in themselves and that the church consists only of essentially holy people.

On the other hand, Luther also points out that the Ten Commandments – when considered not as God's condemning judgment but as an expression of his eternal will, that is, of the natural law – also positively teach how the Christian ought to live. This has traditionally been called the "third use of the law." For Luther, also Christ's life, when understood as an example, is nothing more than an illustration of the Ten Commandments, which a Christian should follow in his or her vocation
Vocation
A vocation , is a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity.-Senses:...

s on a daily basis.

The Ten Commandments, and the beginnings of the renewed life of Christians accorded to them by the sacrament of baptism, are a present foreshadowing of the believers' future angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

-like life in heaven in the midst of this life. Luther's teaching of the Ten Commandments, therefore, has clear eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 overtones, which, characteristically for Luther, do not encourage world-flight but direct the Christian to service to the neighbor in the common, daily vocations of this perishing world.

In the 20th century, there have been attempts to show that the "third use of the law" was a typical "Reformed
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

" doctrine and that Luther himself never taught this, but in light of Luther's disputations against the antinomians and other texts, this position cannot be maintained.

Philip of Hesse controversy


From December 1539, Luther became implicated in the bigamy
Bigamy
In cultures that practice marital monogamy, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Bigamy is a crime in most western countries, and when it occurs in this context often neither the first nor second spouse is aware of the other...

 of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse
Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse
Philip I of Hesse, , nicknamed der Großmütige was a leading champion of the Protestant Reformation and one of the most important of the early Protestant rulers in Germany....

, who wanted to marry one of his wife's ladies-in-waiting. Philip solicited the approval of Luther, Melanchthon, and Bucer, citing as a precedent the polygamy of the patriarchs. The theologians were not prepared to make a general ruling, and they reluctantly advised the landgrave that if he was determined, he should marry secretly and keep quiet about the matter. As a result, on 4 March 1540, Philip married a second wife, Margarethe von der Sale, with Melanchthon and Bucer among the witnesses. However, Philip was unable to keep the marriage secret, and he threatened to make Luther's advice public. Luther told him to "tell a good, strong lie" and deny the marriage completely, which Philip did during the subsequent public controversy. In the view of Luther's biographer Martin Brecht, "giving confessional advice for Philip of Hesse was one of the worst mistakes Luther made, and, next to the landgrave himself, who was directly responsible for it, history chiefly holds Luther accountable". Brecht argues that Luther's mistake was not that he gave private pastoral advice, but that he miscalculated the political implications. The affair caused lasting damage to Luther's reputation.

Anti-Judaism and antisemitism



Luther wrote about the Jews throughout his career, though only a few of his works dealt with them directly. Luther rarely encountered Jews during his life, but his attitudes reflected a theological and cultural tradition which saw Jews as a rejected people guilty of the murder of Christ, and he lived within a local community that had expelled Jews some ninety years earlier. He considered the Jews blasphemers and liars because they rejected the divinity of Jesus, whereas Christians believed Jesus was the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. At the same time, Luther believed that all human beings who set themselves against God shared one and the same guilt. As early as 1516, Luther wrote, "...[M]any people are proud with marvelous stupidity when they call the Jews dogs, evildoers, or whatever they like, while they too, and equally, do not realize who or what they are in the sight of God". In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity. When his efforts at conversion failed, he grew increasingly bitter toward them.

Luther's other major works on the Jews were his 60,000-word treatise Von den Juden und Ihren Lügen (On the Jews and Their Lies), and Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (On the Holy Name and the Lineage of Christ), both published in 1543, three years before his death. Luther argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but "the devil's people": he referred to them with violent, vile language. Luther advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks
Siddur
A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. This article discusses how some of these prayers evolved, and how the siddur, as it is known today has developed...

, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, and smashing up their homes, so that these "poisonous envenomed worms" would be forced into labour or expelled "for all time". In Robert Michael's view, Luther's words "We are at fault in not slaying them" amounted to a sanction for murder. Luther's "recommendations" for how to treat the Jews was a clear reference to the "sharp mercy" of Deuteronomy 13, the punishments prescribed by Moses for those who led others to "false gods".

Luther spoke out against the Jews in Saxony, Brandenburg, and Silesia. Josel of Rosheim
Josel of Rosheim
Josel of Rosheim Josel of Rosheim Josel of Rosheim (alternatively: Joselin, Joselmann, Yoselmann, , Joseph ben Gershon mi-Rosheim, or Joseph ben Gershon Loanz; c...

, the Jewish spokesman who tried to help the Jews of Saxony in 1537, later blamed their plight on "that priest whose name was Martin Luther—may his body and soul be bound up in hell!—who wrote and issued many heretical books in which he said that whoever would help the Jews was doomed to perdition." Josel asked the city of Strasbourg to forbid the sale of Luther's anti-Jewish works: they refused initially, but relented when a Lutheran pastor in Hochfelden
Hochfelden, Bas-Rhin
Hochfelden is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.-History:Until their deportation to the south in 1940, Hochfelden had a significant Jewish community....

 used a sermon to urge his parishioners to murder Jews. Luther's influence persisted after his death. Throughout the 1580s, riots led to the expulsion of Jews from several German Lutheran states.

Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and he acquired the status of a prophet within Germany. According to the prevailing view among historians, his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an "ideal underpinning" for the National Socialists' attacks on Jews. Reinhold Lewin writes that "whoever wrote against the Jews for whatever reason believed he had the right to justify himself by triumphantly referring to Luther." According to Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Third Reich contained references to and quotations from Luther. Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 wrote admiringly of his writings and sermons on the Jews in 1940. The city of Nuremberg presented a first edition of On the Jews and their Lies to Julius Streicher
Julius Streicher
Julius Streicher was a prominent Nazi prior to World War II. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine...

, editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer
Der Stürmer was a weekly tabloid-format Nazi newspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic...

, on his birthday in 1937; the newspaper described it as the most radically anti-Semitic tract ever published. It was publicly exhibited in a glass case at the Nuremberg rallies and quoted in a 54-page explanation of the Aryan Law by Dr. E.H. Schulz and Dr. R. Frercks. On 17 December 1941, seven Protestant regional church confederations issued a statement agreeing with the policy of forcing Jews to wear the yellow badge
Yellow badge
The yellow badge , also referred to as a Jewish badge, was a cloth patch that Jews were ordered to sew on their outer garments in order to mark them as Jews in public. It is intended to be a badge of shame associated with antisemitism...

, "since after his bitter experience Luther had already suggested preventive measures against the Jews and their expulsion from German territory." According to Daniel Goldhagen
Daniel Goldhagen
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen is an American author and former Associate Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University. Goldhagen reached international attention and broad criticism as the author of two controversial books about the Holocaust, Hitler's Willing Executioners and...

, Bishop Martin Sasse, a leading Protestant churchman, published a compendium of Luther's writings shortly after Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, and also Reichskristallnacht, Pogromnacht, and Novemberpogrome, was a pogrom or series of attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938.Jewish homes were ransacked, as were shops, towns and...

, for which Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid Ninian John MacCulloch FBA, FSA, FR Hist S is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford...

, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford argued that Luther's writing was a "blueprint." Sasse applauded the burning of the synagogues and the coincidence of the day, writing in the introduction, "On 10 November 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany." The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words "of the greatest antisemite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews." According to Professor Dick Geary, the Nazis won a larger share of the vote in Protestant than in Catholic areas of Germany in elections of 1928 to November 1932.

At the heart of scholars' debate about Luther's influence is whether it is anachronistic
Anachronism
An anachronism—from the Greek ανά and χρόνος — is an inconsistency in some chronological arrangement, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other...

 to view his work as a precursor of the racial antisemitism of the National Socialists. Some scholars see Luther's influence as limited, and the Nazis' use of his work as opportunistic. Biographer Martin Brecht
Martin Brecht
Martin Brecht Church historian, professor emeritus of the University of Münster, Westphalia, Germany. Until his retirement in 1997 at age 65, he served as head of the Department of Medieval and Modern Church History of the Evangelical Theological Faculty of the university.He is author of a three...

 points out that "There is a world of difference between his belief in salvation and a racial ideology. Nevertheless, his misguided agitation had the evil result that Luther fatefully became one of the 'church fathers' of anti-Semitism and thus provided material for the modern hatred of the Jews, cloaking it with the authority of the Reformer." Johannes Wallmann argues that Luther's writings against the Jews were largely ignored in the 18th and 19th centuries, and that there was no continuity between Luther's thought and Nazi ideology. Uwe Siemon-Netto
Uwe Siemon-Netto
Uwe Siemon-Netto , the former religion editor of United Press International, is an international columnist and a Lutheran lay theologian...

 agreed, arguing that it was because the Nazis were already anti-Semites that they revived Luther's work. Hans J. Hillerbrand agreed that to focus on Luther was to adopt an essentially ahistorical perspective of Nazi antisemitism that ignored other contributory factors in German history
History of Germany
The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul , which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the...

. Similarly, Roland Bainton
Roland Bainton
Roland Herbert Bainton was a British born American Protestant church historian.-Life:He was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England and came to the United States in 1902. He received an A.B. degree from Whitman College, and B.D. and Ph.D.. degrees from Yale University. He also received a number of...

, noted church historian and Luther biographer, wrote "One could wish that Luther had died before ever [On the Jews and Their Lies] was written. His position was entirely religious and in no respect racial."

Other scholars argue that, even if his views were merely anti-Judaic
Anti-Judaism
Religious antisemitism is a form of antisemitism, which is the prejudice against, or hostility toward, the Jewish people based on hostility to Judaism and to Jews as a religious group...

, their violence lent a new element to the standard Christian suspicion of Judaism. Ronald Berger writes that Luther is credited with "Germanizing the Christian critique of Judaism and establishing anti-Semitism as a key element of German culture and national identity." Paul Rose
Paul Lawrence Rose
Paul Lawrence Rose is the Professor of European History and Mitrani Professor of Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University.Rose specializes in the study of anti-Semitism, Germany history, European intellectual history, and Jewish history. -Notes:...

 argues that he caused a "hysterical and demonizing mentality" about Jews to enter German thought and discourse, a mentality that might otherwise have been absent.

Since the 1980s, Lutheran Church denominations have repudiated Martin Luther's statements against the Jews and have rejected the use of them to incite hatred against Lutherans.

Final years and death



Luther had been suffering from ill health for years, including Ménière's disease
Ménière's disease
Ménière's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo and tinnitus and progressive hearing loss, usually in one ear. It is named after the French physician Prosper Ménière, who, in an article published...

, vertigo
Vertigo (medical)
Vertigo is a type of dizziness, where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. The symptoms are due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear...

, fainting, tinnitus
Tinnitus
Tinnitus |ringing]]") is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period , ear...

, and a cataract
Cataract
A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light...

 in one eye. From 1531 to 1546, his health deteriorated further. The years of struggle with Rome, the antagonisms with and among his fellow reformers, and the scandal which ensued from the bigamy
Bigamy
In cultures that practice marital monogamy, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Bigamy is a crime in most western countries, and when it occurs in this context often neither the first nor second spouse is aware of the other...

 of the Philip of Hesse incident, in which Luther had played a leading role, all may have contributed. In 1536, he began to suffer from kidney and bladder stones
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

, and arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

, and an ear infection ruptured an ear drum. In December 1544, he began to feel the effects of angina.

His poor physical health made him short-tempered and even harsher in his writings and comments. His wife Katharina was overheard saying, "Dear husband, you are too rude," and he responded, "They are teaching me to be rude."

His last sermon was delivered at Eisleben
Eisleben
Eisleben is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is famous as the hometown of Martin Luther, hence its official name is Lutherstadt Eisleben. As of 2005, Eisleben had a population of 24,552...

, his place of birth, on 15 February 1546, three days before his death. It was "entirely devoted to the obdurate Jews, whom it was a matter of great urgency to expel from all German territory," according to Léon Poliakov
Leon Poliakov
Léon Poliakov was a French historian who wrote extensively on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.Born into a Russian Jewish family, Poliakov lived in Italy and Germany until he settled in France....

. James Mackinnon writes that it concluded with a "fiery summons to drive the Jews bag and baggage from their midst, unless they desisted from their calumny and their usury and became Christians." Luther said, "we want to practice Christian love toward them and pray that they convert," but also that they are "our public enemies ... and if they could kill us all, they would gladly do so. And so often they do."

Luther's final journey, to Mansfeld, was taken because of his concern for his siblings' families continuing in their father Hans Luther's copper mining trade. Their livelihood was threatened by Count Albrecht of Mansfeld bringing the industry under his own control. The controversy that ensued involved all four Mansfeld counts: Albrecht, Philip, John George, and Gerhard. Luther journeyed to Mansfeld twice in late 1545 to participate in the negotiations for a settlement, and a third visit was needed in early 1546 for their completion.

The negotiations were successfully concluded on 17 February 1546. After 8:00 pm, he experienced chest pains. When he went to his bed, he prayed, "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God" (Ps. 31:5), the common prayer of the dying. At 1:00 am he awoke with more chest pain and was warmed with hot towels. He thanked God for revealing his Son to him in whom he had believed. His companions, Justus Jonas and Michael Coelius, shouted loudly, "Reverend father, are you ready to die trusting in your Lord Jesus Christ and to confess the doctrine which you have taught in his name?" A distinct "Yes" was Luther's reply.


An apoplectic stroke deprived him of his speech, and he died shortly afterwards at 2:45 am on 18 February 1546, aged 62, in Eisleben, the city of his birth. He was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg, beneath the pulpit. The funeral was held by his friends Johannes Bugenhagen
Johannes Bugenhagen
Johannes Bugenhagen , also called Doctor Pomeranus by Martin Luther, introduced the Protestant Reformation in the Duchy of Pomerania and Denmark in the 16th century. Among his major accomplishments was organization of Lutheran churches in Northern Germany and Scandinavia...

 and Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon , born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems...

. A year later, troops of Luther's adversary Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 entered the town, but were ordered by Charles not to disturb the grave.

A piece of paper was later found on which Luther had written his last statement. The statement was in Latin, apart from "We are beggars," which was in German.


1. No one can understand Virgil's Bucolics unless he has been a shepherd for five years. No one can understand Virgil's Georgics, unless he has been a farmer for five years.

2. No one can understand Cicero's Letters (or so I teach), unless he has busied himself in the affairs of some prominent state for twenty years.

3. Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles.

Do not assail this divine Aeneid; nay, rather prostrate revere the ground that it treads.

We are beggars: this is true.


Luther is honoured on 18 February with a commemoration in the Lutheran Calendar of Saints
Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)
The Lutheran Calendar of Saints is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by some Lutheran Churches in the United States. The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod are from the...

 and a feast day in the Episcopal (United States) Calendar of Saints
Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
The veneration of saints in the Episcopal Church is a continuation of an ancient tradition from the early Church which honors important people of the Christian faith. The usage of the term "saint" is similar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition may...

; in the Church of England's Calendar of Saints
Calendar of saints (Church of England)
The Church of England commemorates many of the same saints as those in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, mostly on the same days, but also commemorates various notable Christians who have not been canonised by Rome, with a particular though not exclusive emphasis on those of English origin...

 he is commemorated on 31 October.

Works and editions

  • Exegetica opera latina – Latin exegetical works.

  • The standard German edition of Luther's Latin and German works is the Weimarer Ausgabe, indicated by the abbreviation "WA". This is continued into "WA Br" Weimarer Ausgabe, Briefwechsel (correspondence), "WA Tr" Weimarer Ausgabe, Tischreden (tabletalk) and "WA DB" Weimarer Ausgabe, Deutsche Bibel (German Bible).

See also



  • Christianity and antisemitism
  • Consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

  • List of Erasmus's correspondents
  • John Calvin
    John Calvin
    John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

  • John Wycliffe
    John Wycliffe
    John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

  • Lutheran Marian theology
  • Propaganda during the Reformation
    Propaganda during the Reformation
    Propaganda during the Reformation, helped by the spread of the printing press throughout Europe, and in particular within Germany, caused new ideas, thoughts, and doctrine to be made available to the public in ways that had never been seen before the sixteenth century...

  • Theologia Germanica
    Theologia Germanica
    Theologia Germanica, also known as Theologia Deutsch or Teutsch, is a mystical treatise believed to have been written in the mid 14th century by an anonymous author, usually associated with the Friends of God. According to the introduction of the Theologia the author was a priest and a member of...

  • Theology of Martin Luther
    Theology of Martin Luther
    The theology of Martin Luther was instrumental in influencing the Protestant Reformation, specifically topics dealing with Justification by Faith, the relationship between the Law and the Gospel , and various other theological ideas. Although Luther never wrote a "systematic theology" or a...

  • Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
    University of Halle-Wittenberg
    The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg , also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg within Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

     (Germany)
  • Translation


Further reading


For works by and about Luther, see Martin Luther (resources)
Martin Luther (resources)
-Wittenberg edition:Nineteen volumes published between 1539-1558. Twelve volumes of German and seven volumes of Latin works.*, 1558, Wittenberg, Thomam Klug-Jena edition:...

 or Luther's works at Wikisource.
  • Luther, M. The Bondage of the Will. Eds. J. I. Packer
    J. I. Packer
    James Innell Packer is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the low church Anglican and Reformed traditions. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia...

     and O. R. Johnson. Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1957. OCLC 22724565.
  • Luther's Works, 55 vols. Eds. H. T. Lehman and J. Pelikan
    Jaroslav Pelikan
    Jaroslav Jan Pelikan was a scholar in the history of Christianity, Christian theology and medieval intellectual history.-Early years:...

    . St Louis Missouri, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1955–86. Also on CD-ROM. Minneapolis and St Louis: Fortress Press and Concordia Publishing House, 2002.
  • Reu, Johann Michael
    Johann Michael Reu
    Johann Michael Reu , was a German Lutheran theologian. Born in Diebach, Germany, Reu attended mission institute founded by Wilhelm Loehe in Neuendettelsau. He was ordained a pastor at age 20, and emigrated to the United States in 1889. In 1899, he joined the faculty of Wartburg Theological Seminary...

     Thirty-five Years of Luther Research Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House, 1917.

External links