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REFORMATION 500 50 things you may not know about Luther


As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Living Lutheran is exploring 500 of its unique aspects, continuing the series this month with 50 things you may not know about Martin Luther. The first 25 are included here, and the remaining 25 can be found at livinglutheran.org.


This list is not meant as an all-encompassing compendium of ever ything es sent ial to the Reformat ion and its theology, but rather as a glimpse of the variety of ways the movement that Luther sparked in 1517 would influence the history of the world.


By Timothy J. Wengert 1


Martin Luther didn’t think of himself as a reformer of the church. He felt that job


belonged only to Jesus Christ—Luther was merely a John the Baptist, pointing to the Lamb of God.


Oct. 31, 1517—but they were posted in the mail to the archbishop of Mainz, Albrecht von Brandenburg.


4 5


Hans and Margarethe Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1527. 2 3


Luther wasn’t exactly from peasant stock. His father, Hans—whose father was a farmer—


ended up a well-to-do mine owner. His mother’s family, the Lindemanns, included a mayor of Eisenach, Thuringia, in Germany.


The 95 Theses may or may not have been posted on the University of Wittenberg’s “bulletin board” (the Castle Church door) on


36 JUNE 2017


Luther’s chief complaint in the 95 Theses was bad preaching and how it undermined the listeners’ faith in God.


In the 16th century, Luther would have posted a university notice like the 95 Theses


with wax or paste, not hammer and nails. The depiction of Luther hammering the theses first appeared in 1717.


6


During Luther’s lifetime, the


95 Theses were only available


in three Latin printings. Only with the publication of the German Sermon on Indulgences and Grace did he become the world’s first living best-selling author.


Wittenberg printing of the German Sermon on Indulgences and Grace.


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