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Martin Luther

 1483-1546

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany in 1483, the son of a mining family of rural origins. He attended the Latin School in Mansfeld from 1488 on, continuing his school in Magdeburg and later in Eisenach. In 1501 Luther began his studies in Erfurt and intended to become a lawyer. In 1505, however, he made a decision that changed the course of his life; he decided to enter the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. This decision shaped the rest of his life, and his search for a merciful God and His Will culminated in the development of the Reformation of the Church. Luther's negative personal experiences with the ecclesiastical means of grace resulted in not only increasing criticism of the deplorable state of affairs within the church but above all to a fundamental reconsideration of medieval theology.

Return to the "Lutheran Reformation" Chronology

His public criticism of the misuse of letters of indulgence in 1517 did not result in the desired discussion but led to the start of a court of inquisition culminating in Luther's excommunication after the Imperial Diet of Worms in 1521. Frederick the Wise organized a "kidnapping" to protect Martin Luther's life. Luther spent almost a year as Knight George on the Wartburg, where he translated the new testament into German. Luther's most obvious break with his monk's vows ensued when he married the former nun Katharina von Bora in June 1525. The basic unit of the protestant parish house had been born. After the Peasant's War in 1525, which Luther had disapproved of, the Reformer promoted the development of the protestant territorial church through visitations and church policies.

Luther died in Eisleben, the town of his birth, in February 1546. By order of the Elector, Luther was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenburg. With his translation of the Bible into German, Martin Luther attained permanent fame as far as a unification of the German language was concerned. Today some 70 million believers on all five continents are members of the Lutheran Church.

A Chronology of Luther's Life:

  • 11/10/1483 born in Eisleben
  • 1505 Monk in Erfurt
  • 1512 Doctor of Theology in Wittenburg
  • 1517 The 95 theses nailed to the door of the Castle Church
  • 1520 Luther burns the papal bull of excommunication
  • 1521 At the Imperial Diet of Worms, Luther refuses to recant
  • 1521 While hiding at the Wartburg, Eisenach, Luther translated the New Testament into German
  • 1525 Luther weds Katharina von Bora; a number of polemical tracts follow
  • 1529 The "Small Catechism"
  • 1534 Publication of the first Wittenburg Bible, Old and New Testaments, in Martin Luther's German Translation
  • 2/18/1546 Luther dies in Eisleben and is laid to rest in the Castle Church in Wittenburg.


Researched and Written by: William J Helzer,
October 27, 1997

Copyright 1997 by ThenAgain All rights reserved.

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