The Sale of Indulgences and Martin Luther's German Bible

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 117
  • Published : February 21, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
History Extended Essay

The Sale of Indulgences and Martin Luther’s German Bible
To what extent did the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the nature of sin and salvation lead to the printing of the Bible in the vernacular of Germany? May 2013
Word Count: 3382

Abstract
Word Count: 300
The Protestant Reformation is one of the most significant events in history. It challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and created a new, formidable, denomination of Christianity known as Protestantism. This was made possible chiefly through the works of a man named Martin Luther, who was a Roman Catholic priest. Martin Luther objected to some of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and made his opposition vocal. This led to his being ostracized from society, during which time he translated the Christian Scriptures into the common German language of his land. Martin Luther’s German Bible played a profound role in the development of the Protestant Reformation. This essay will investigate the following query: To what extent did the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the nature of sin and salvation lead to the printing of the Bible in the vernacular of Germany? This investigation will examine the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church regarding sin, hell, heaven, purgatory, and indulgences. The factors that allowed these doctrines to be taught without opposition – namely, the printing of the Bible in Latin, a language unfamiliar to most people, but familiar to those already dedicated and in accord with the Roman Church will be discussed. This investigation will look at Luther’s primary objections to these doctrines and the way in which he expressed his objections. Luther’s isolation as a consequence of his objections and his translation of the Bible into German while at Wartburg Castle will be explored. Based on the findings of this query, it can be concluded that Martin Luther’s translating the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible to the vernacular of Germany is greatly related to Martin Luther’s opposition to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the nature of sin and salvation.

Table of Contents
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………..4-5 The Bible in the Roman Catholic Church…………………………………………………………5 Sin, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven in the Roman Catholic Church……………………………...5-6 The Sale of Indulgences………………………………………………………………………...6-7 Objections of Martin Luther………………………………………………………………………7 Consequences of Luther’s Objections…………………………………………………………..7-8 Luther’s Stay at Wartburg Castle……………………………………………………………….8-9 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..9-10 Works Cited……………………………………………………………………………………...11

Introduction
In the sixteenth century of the Common Era, the Roman Catholic Church had long been the most dominant institution in Western Europe. The vast majority of the population at the time was parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church. Many kingdoms and dominions had Roman Catholicism as the official religion. Heads of State were subservient to the authority of the papacy as instituted by the Church (Jaritz xii). The Roman Catholic Church of this time period was plagued by corruption even at the highest levels of hierarchy. Bishops and priests taught parishioners many teachings that, while in accordance with true Roman Catholic Doctrine, were used for personal wealth and gain. One such teaching was the sale of indulgences. If a parishioner bought an indulgence from the church, this meant he or she could have a portion of his or her penance for sins removed by a member of the clergy. They could also purchase indulgences for the souls of loved ones who, as they believed, were still in purgatory so that they could be completely cleansed of sin before entering into heaven. The indulgence was said to remove some of the deceased person’s unfulfilled penance and consequently shorten his or her time in the cleansing fires of purgatory. The sale of...
tracking img