Martin Luther was a German theologian famous for his role in the Protestant Reformation that took place in Europe in the 16th century. Luther's tract, "The Ninety-Five Theses," directly challenged the Catholic practice of selling indulgences, which were meant to absolve sins.Continue Reading
Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in 1483 and became a monk of the Augustinian order in 1505. During his time as a monk, he became increasingly angry about the system of indulgences which the clergy sold in exchange for the promise of redemption from sins. Between 1519 and 1520, he wrote a series of pamphlets that developed the main ideas of Protestantism. These included the groundbreaking idea that Christians are not saved through their own efforts or by paying for indulgences, but through faith instead.
Martin Luther's writings spread quickly across northern and eastern Europe due to the recent invention of the printing press. His actions did not remain without consequences, as Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther in 1521. Luther contributed to the spread of Protestantism by publishing a complete translation of the Bible in German in 1534. His belief was that all people should be able to read the Holy Book in their own language. Luther died in Eisleben in 1546.Learn more about US History