Name: Martin Luther, "Works", "Address to the German Nobility"

Date:  1500 - 1799

Location:  Europe



Artist: Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Confronting Bodies: Theological faculties of Cologne and Louvain

Date of Action: 1517-1521

Specific Location: Germany, France, Italy

Description of Artwork: "Works" and "Address to the German Nobility" 1520: Luther stated the causes of social discontent. Luther attended the University of Erfurt (BA, 1502, MA, 1505). In 1506 he joined the monastic order of St. Augustine and was ordained a priest in 1507. From 1508 to 1548 he taught at the new University of Wittenberg receiving a doctorate in Theology in 1552. Luther's Ninety-Five theses (posted 1517), an attack on various ecclesiastical abuses, precipitated the Reformation which soon spread over northern Europe and later over much of the world through Protestant Missions. His personal discovery of the doctrine of "justification by faith" alone led to a reformation of medieval doctrine and along with other factors led to the rise of the Protestant churches.

Description of Incident: 1517 Germany-Wittenberg: Luther nailed 95 theses, criticizing the use of indulgences, to the door of the Castle Church at the University. 1521 Italy-Rome: A Papal bull by Leo X excommunicated Luther, and forbade printing, selling, reading or quoting, his "Works" . 1521 Germany: Charles V, on his own authority, issues an edict against Luther.

Results of Incident: 1517 The Theological faculties of Louvain and Cologne ordered copies of the theses to be burned on grounds of heresy. 1519 Defending his theses in debate, Luther was forced to declare his differences with the Church. 1521 France: The theological faculties of the University of Paris ordered the "Theses" burned. 1521 Italy-Rome: The Papal bull by Leo X against Luther's "Works" created a passionate interest in them. In three months 4,000 copies of "Address to the German Nobility", were sold; in five days 5,000 copies of the vernacular edition of the New Testament were sold. He also ordered a formal burning of Luther's effigy and books.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.

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