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Martin Luther's Impact On Germany Essay

2137 words - 9 pages

Martin Luther's Impact on Germany

Although we remember Luther as the 'great thinker who sparked the
reformation with his revolutionary ideas', it would be unfair to not
acknowledge that Luther was the first to form these new ideas. Many
attempts at reform had been attempted prior to Luther, led by heresies
such as John Wycliffe, John Hus et al. In fact, during the course of
Christianity there has been resistance and dissent, attempts at
reform. Fortunately for Luther, when he made his idea and theses
public, the German or rather Holy Roman Empire was in such a state
that made conditions very well suited for the acceptance and spread of
his words. The conditions that I speak of can be mostly categorised
within certain headings, Religious, Cultural, Social, Economic and
Political causes. The reformation was not about reforming religion but
institutions as a whole. This was the time of change, a volatile time.

Although I speak as though Luther was of no real importance, this is
far from the truth. Michael Mullet describes here in a quote-

'What he taught was a powerful and readily understood concept of mans
salvation; what he preached was preached with unique force, sincerity,
simplicity and, often, vulgarity; what he wrote covers a substantial
square footage of a modern library.'

Luther was a very clever and talented man, his personal role being a
very important role in history. Because of his highly regarded
personality, he was looked up to. His bravery was highly revered;
examples of such can be seen in his appearance at the Diet at Worms.
This required much courage and wise ness, as he knew Charles V knew
better than to upset the populace by acting rashly against Luther.
Luther was also a fine example of a man typical of renaissance
thinking, standing by his ideas firmly even when under pressure such
as his Meeting with Colonel Cajetan at Augsburg. Luther's message was
particularly successful in spreading and sustaining due to its
flexibility. Luther purposeful made it so, adapting it to different
audiences. The finer points were understood by the literate types in
the larger cities and the rural communities picked up on beneficial
points to them and the portrayal of a corrupt papacy. The agreement
between the literate and illiterate shows just how flexible his
message was.

Religion was the main subject of Luther's ideas and teachings, his
disgust at indulgence selling sparking him of to try and start a
reform. The church and clergy were seen as being very corrupt at all
levels, and were with held in little respect by many. Indulgences were
sold to the laity, denouncing their sins with a word from the pope.
These were not cheap and not available to many save the rich who could
afford them. This did not please many, believing it was unfair that
they would have to...

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