After a traditional education, Luther entered an Augustinian monastery in 1505. He was ordained as a priest in 1507 and in 1512 earned the title of Doctor of Theology and Professor of Scripture at Wittenberg.
Luther became widely known as a reformer after visiting Rome in 1510-11, where he was appalled by the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences. In 1517 he denied the Pope‘s authority to forgive sins by posting his 95 theses on the Church door at Wittenberg.
Apparently intended as a mere theological argument, intense controversy followed this pivotal act.
Luther was called to Rome to defend his theses. He ignored the summons and continued to challenge the papacy even more forcefully, publicly setting to flames the papal bull that condemned his activities.
A Church order was given to destroy his written works. Luther was called before the Diet at Worms and expelled from the Empire. His Augsburg Confession, where the character Melanchthon represents his own views, is a benchmark for the German Reformation (1530).
Luther married a nun and had six children, one of whom died young. In his later years he showed definite signs of antisemitism, which has lead to his controversial status.¹
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- ‘Wittenberg’ is an intellectual workout with Hamlet, Faustus and Luther (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
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