The History and Influence of Martin Luther

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The History and Influence of
Martin Luther

A German priest, professor of theology and philosophy, but most importantly an iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. This man alone challenged the most powerful religion, empire, and figure of the time. What he did would soon influence the lives of millions of people all around the world. He is known as the father of Protestantism. The man changed the course of history and reshaped Europe. This man’s name is Martin Luther. Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony, in the Holy Roman Empire (currently located in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) to the parents of Margarette and Hans Luther. Hans Luther was the son of a farmer who was originally going to take over his dad’s land but turned his back on him and became a copper miner. In 1484 after the birth of his son Hans moved from Eisleben to Mansfeld to get a better job. When Hans arrived in Mansfeld he became a successful copper smelter in 1491. His wife Margarette Luther came from a small but well-off family. She was mainly a housewife who did a lot of the house work. Margarette took care of their three children and was considered to be a harsh disciplinarian. Both of his parents were extremely abusive. Martin once wrote that he would be beaten until the “blood flowed” which led him to running away and becoming a monk at a monastery. Hans died in 1530 and Margarette in 1531. In Martin’s early life, his father had very high hopes and dreams for his eldest son. Hans was determined to have his son become a lawyer so that the Luther family could be higher up on the social ladder as the family was currently peasant. When he was a child, Martin was enrolled in Latin school where he was taught the Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, and Latin grammar. By the age of 14, in 1497, he attended a school at Magdeburg which he was displeased with and described the experience as “purgatory and hell”. In 1501, at the age of 18, Martin entered the University of Erfurt, where he studied law at his father’s request. In 1502, he received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree, ranking 13th among the 57 candidates. On January 6, 1505, Martin was awarded his master’s degree ranking 2nd among 17 applicants. Shortly after his master’s degree, Martin enrolled in law school but dropped out immediately the same year because he believed that law represented uncertainty. Luther was drawn to theology and philosophy and was influenced by his tutors Bartholomaeus Arnoldi von Usingen and Jodocus Trutfetter who taught him that you should be suspicious of even the greatest thinkers and to test everything himself by experience. Luther liked Philosophy but was disappointed that it didn’t say anything about loving and praising God. Martin believed that reasoning could not lead men to God and heaven and people could only learn about God through Divine revelations and the Scripture. On July, 1505, Martin went away from his father’s wishes by getting admission into the house of the Augustinian Hermits in Erfurt. Luther’s life in the monastery included long periods of prayer, pilgrimage, and fasting. A lot of the things that happened during his life as a monk are very unclear as there wasn’t much factual information and the only things to go off of were his biography that was overly exaggerated and contradictory. In 1507, he was ordained to the priesthood and in 1508 went to go teach theology at the University of Wittenberg in which on October 19, 1512, he was awarded his Doctor of Theology. In 1516, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican preacher, was sent by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences (a remission from punishment due to sin that can be bought) to raise money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as it was in bad condition. The Catholic Church justified the selling of indulgences by saying that man can only get into heaven only on the faith that is in charity and good works which included donating...
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