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Encyclopedia > The 95 Theses
The 95 Theses

The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences, commonly known as The Ninety-Five Theses, was written by Martin Luther and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Luther used these theses to display his displeasure with the Church's sale of indulgences, and this ultimately gave birth to Protestantism. Luther's popularity encouraged others to share their doubt with the Church and protest its medieval ways; it especially challenged the teachings of the Church on the nature of penance, the authority of the pope and the usefulness of indulgences. They sparked a theological debate that would result in the Reformation and the birth of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist traditions within Christianity. Image File history File links 95Thesen. ... Image File history File links 95Thesen. ... Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... Reformation redirects here. ... Look up Indulgence in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... For other uses, see Penance (disambiguation). ... This article is about authority as a concept. ... For other uses, see Pope (disambiguation). ... Theology finds its scholars pursuing the understanding of and providing reasoned discourse of religion, spirituality and God or the gods. ... Reformation redirects here. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ... The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Anabaptists (Greek... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is...

Contents

Background

Protestant Reformation
The Reformation
History and origins
History of Protestantism
Movements and denominations
Protestantism
Protestant Reformers
Precursors

See also Template:Protestant Image File history File links 95Thesen. ... Reformation redirects here. ... Reformation redirects here. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Peasants War map. ... The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive league of Protestant princes in the Holy Roman Empire in the mid-16th century. ... The Radical Reformation was a 16th century response to both the perceived corruption in the Roman Catholic Church and the expanding Protestant movement led by Martin Luther. ... A denomination, in the Christian sense of the word, is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and/or doctrine. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      For other use of... From the 16th to the 18th century the name Huguenot was applied to a member of the Protestant Reformed Church of France, historically known as the French Calvinists. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther. ... The Protestant Reformation in Switzerland was promoted initially by Huldrych Zwingli, who gained the support of the magistrate and population of Zürich in the 1520s. ... -1... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Calvinism... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Anabaptists (Greek... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Relation to other religions Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      The... This box:      King Henry VIII of England. ... The Church of England logo since 1998 The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... This box:      Anglicanism most commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, a world-wide affiliation of Christian Churches, most of which have historical connections with the Church of England. ... For the record label, see Puritan Records. ... John Knox regarded as the leader of the Scottish Reformation The Scottish Reformation was Scotlands formal break with the papacy in 1560, and the events surrounding this. ... Presbyterianism is a tradition shared by a large number of Christian denominations which is most prevalent within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity. ... The Waldensians, Waldenses or Vaudois are a Christian denomination believing in poverty and austerity, promoting true poverty, public preaching and the literal interpretation of the scriptures. ... The Protestant Reformation, begun 1517 with the nailing of Martin Luthers 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, divided the Roman Catholic Church and created the Protestant branch of churches. ... Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli or Ulricus Zuinglius (January 1, 1484 – October 11, 1531) was the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. ... Swiss redirects here. ... William Tyndale (sometimes spelled Tyndale,Tindall or Tyndall) (ca. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... Menno Simons - wood engraving by Christoffel van Sichem 1610 Menno Simons (1496–January 31, 1561) was an Anabaptist religious leader from Friesland (today a province of The Netherlands). ... Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... “Deutschland” redirects here. ... Thomas Müntzer, in a 18th century engraving by C. Van Sichem Thomas Muentzer (or Müntzer, Münzer) (1489 or 1490–27 May 1525) was an early Reformation-era German pastor who was a rebel leader during the Peasants War. ... “Deutschland” redirects here. ... John Calvin (July 10, 1509 – May 27, 1564) was a French Protestant theologian during the Protestant Reformation and was a central developer of the system of Christian theology called Calvinism or Reformed theology. ... Swiss redirects here. ... Thomas Cranmer (July 2, 1489 – March 21, 1556) was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of the English kings Henry VIII and Edward VI. He is credited with writing and compiling the first two Books of Common Prayer which established the basic structure of Anglican liturgy for centuries and... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... For other persons named John Knox, see John Knox (disambiguation). ... This article is about the country. ... For other persons named John Wesley, see John Wesley (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The Papal palace in Avignon In the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1377 during which seven popes, all French, resided in Avignon: Pope Clement V: 1305–1314 Pope John XXII: 1316–1334 Pope Benedict XII: 1334–1342 Pope Clement VI... Insert non-formatted text here Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... Historical map of the Western Schism: red is support for Avignon, blue for Rome The Western Schism or Papal Schism (also known as the Great Schism of Western Christianity) was a split within the Catholic Church (1378 - 1417). ... The Council of Constance was an ecumenical council considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church. ... Jan Hus ( ) (IPA: , alternative spellings John Hus, Jan Huss, John Huss) (c. ... Flag of Bohemia Bohemia (Czech: ; German: ) is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western and middle thirds of the Czech Republic. ... Crusades First – Peoples – German – 1101 – Second – Third – Fourth – Albigensian – Childrens – Fifth – Sixth – Seventh – Shepherds – Eighth – Ninth – Aragonese – Alexandrian – Nicopolis – Northern – Hussite – Varna – Otranto Hussite Wars Nekmer - SudomÄ•Å™ – Vítkov – VyÅ¡ehrad – Nebovidy - NÄ›mecký Brod – HoÅ™ice – Ústí nad Labem – Tachov – Lipany – Grotniki The Hussite Wars, also called... The Northern Renaissance is the term used to describe the Renaissance in northern Europe, or more broadly in Europe outside Italy. ... German mysticism (Sometimes called Dominican mysticism or Rhineland mysticism) is the name given to a Christian mystical movement in the Late Middle Ages, that was especially prominent in Germany, and in the Dominican order. ...

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The background to Luther's 95 Theses centers on particular disputes with the Church dealing with the offering of indulgences— the granting of forgiveness - was being sold and thus the penance for sin was a commercial transaction instead of a genuine change of heart. In short, the practice of indulgences became somewhat commoditized (along with venerating holy relics) and then commercialized. So, instead of granting an indulgence as a remission of the penalty for breaking church law, making a confession, and then restoring whatever had been damaged - property or human relationships or other serious sins - an indulgence could be purchased. This was a gross violation of the original intention of confession, penance, and the role of indulgences, and contributed to what Luther felt was an offense to justification, a right relationship with God, or salvation, among Christians (there being only one church at this time) who were being falsely told that they could find absolution, that is, forgiveness of their sins, through the purchase of indulgences, rather than through the free gift of God's mercy offered in and through Jesus Christ. Catholic Church redirects here. ... Look up Indulgence in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Penance (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sin (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Salvation (disambiguation). ... Absolution in a liturgical church refers to the pronouncement of Gods forgiveness of sins. ...


The Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany, in the Holy Roman Empire, where the Ninety-five Theses famously appeared, held one of Europe's largest collections of religious artifacts, or holy relics. These had been piously collected by Frederick III. At that time pious veneration, or viewing, relics was purported to allow the viewer to receive relief from temporal punishment for sins in purgatory. By 1509 Frederick had over 5,000 relics, "including vials of the milk of the Virgin Mary, straw from the manger [of Jesus], and the body of one of the innocents massacred by King Herod."[1] Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12°59 east, 51°51 north. ... Statue of Martin Luther in the main square Wittenberg, officially [Die] Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12° 59 E, 51° 51 N, on the Elbe river. ... This article is about the medieval empire. ... Frederick in an engraved portrait by Albrecht Dürer, 1524 Frederick III, Elector of Saxony (January 17, 1463 – May 5, 1525), also known as Frederick the Wise, was Elector of Saxony (from the House of Wettin) from 1486 to his death. ... Illustration for Dantes Purgatorio (18), by Gustave Doré, an imaginative picturing of Purgatory. ... Herod the Great. ...


The relics were kept in reliquaries and exhibited once a year for the faithful to venerate. "In 1509, each devout visitor who donated toward the preservation of the Castle Church received an indulgence of one hundred days per relic." This would allow the person relief of 100 days in purgatory, and thus hasten their entry into highest heaven. By 1520 Frederick had increased his collection to over 19,000 relics, allowing pilgrims viewing them to receive an indulgence that would reduce their time in purgatory by 5,209 years.[1] For the band Reliquary, click here. ... Veneration is a religious symbolic act giving honor to someone by honoring an image of that person, particularly applied to saints. ...


As part of a fund-raising campaign commissioned by Pope Leo X to finance the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Johann Tetzel a Dominican priest began the selling of indulgences in the German lands. Albert of Mainz (the Archbishop of Mainz) in Germany had borrowed heavily to pay for his high church rank and was deeply in debt. He agreed to allow the sale of the indulgences in his territory in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Luther was apparently not aware of this. Even though Luther's prince, Frederick III, and the prince of the neighboring territory, George, Duke of Saxony, forbade the sale in their lands, Luther's parishioners traveled to purchase them. When these people came to confession, they presented their plenary indulgences which they had paid good silver money for, claiming they no longer had to repent of their sins, since the document promised to forgive all their sins. Luther was outraged that they had paid money for what was theirs by right a free gift from God! He felt compelled to expose the fraud that was being sold to the pious people. This exposure was to take place in the form of a public scholarly debate at the University of Wittenberg. The 95 Thesis outlined the items to be discussed and issued the challenge to any and all comers. Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici (11 December 1475 – 1 December 1521) was Pope from 1513 to his death. ... This article is about the famous building in Rome. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about religious workers. ... Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg: engraved portrait by Albrecht Dürer, 1519 Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern (German: Albrecht; June 28, 1490 in Cölln – September 24, 1545 in Aschaffenburg), Elector and Archbishop of Mainz and Archbishop of Magdeburg, was the younger son of John Cicero, Elector... Between 780/82 AD and 1802 AD the Archbishop of Mainz, was an influential ecclesiastic and secular prince of the middle ages. ... Portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder George the Bearded, Duke of Saxony (b. ... This article is about the practice of confession in the Modern confessional in the Church of the Holy Name, Dunedin, New Zealand. ...


Nailed or mailed?

A replica of the 95 Theses in Schlosskirche, Wittenberg

According to a report written by Philipp Melanchthon in 1546, Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, October 31, 1517. Some scholars have questioned the accuracy of this account, noting that no contemporaneous evidence exists for it.[2] Others have countered that no such evidence is necessary, because this action was the customary way of advertising an event on a university campus of Luther's day.[3] Church doors at the time functioned very much as bulletin boards. Still others suggest the posting may well have happened sometime in November 1517. Most agree that, at the very least, Luther mailed the theses to the Archbishop of Mainz, the pope, friends and other universities on that date.[4] Image File history File linksMetadata 912u_Luther's_95_Theses,_Schlosskirche,_Wittenberg,_GER,_. ... Image File history File linksMetadata 912u_Luther's_95_Theses,_Schlosskirche,_Wittenberg,_GER,_. ... Statue of Martin Luther in the main square Wittenberg, officially [Die] Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12° 59 E, 51° 51 N, on the Elbe River. ... Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. ... // Events Spanish conquest of Yucatan Peace between England and France Foundation of Trinity College, Cambridge by Henry VIII of England Katharina von Bora flees to Magdeburg Science Architecture Michelangelo Buonarroti is made chief architect of St. ... Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12°59 east, 51°51 north. ... Statue of Martin Luther in the main square Wittenberg, officially [Die] Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Germany, in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, at 12° 59 E, 51° 51 N, on the Elbe river. ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1517 was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. ... Look up bulletin board, notice board in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Most recently, in February 2007, the media reported that a handwritten note by Luther's secretary Georg Rörer, found in the university library at Jena, appeared to confirm the traditional account of Luther's nailing the theses to the door. As of February 2007, this new find has yet to be assessed by scholars.[5] Georg Rörer (Latin, Rorarius) (1492-1557) was a Lutheran reformer and pastor. ... , For other uses, see Jena (disambiguation). ...


More significant is the response and events that followed. What is important is that on October 31, 1517, Luther approached the competent church authorities with his pressing call for reform. On this day he presented them with his theses and the request that they call a halt to the unworthy activities of the indulgence preachers. When the bishops did not respond, or when they sought merely to divert him, Luther circulated his theses privately. The theses spread quickly and were printed in Nuremberg, Leipzig, and Basel. Suddenly they were echoing throughout Germany and beyond its borders." [6]


Reaction to the Ninety-five Theses

The Ninety-five Theses gained enormous popularity over a very short period of time. Luther's ideas resonated with people regardless of class, status, or wealth, at a time when such concepts were integral to social order. [7]


Pope Leo X wished for Martin Luther to recant 41 purported errors, some from the Ninety-five Theses and others from other writings and sayings attributed to Luther. This Luther famously refused to do before the Diet of Worms in 1521, thus symbolically initiating the Protestant Reformation.[8] Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici (11 December 1475 – 1 December 1521) was Pope from 1513 to his death. ... Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... Exsurge Domine was a Papal bull issued on June 15, 1520 at the Diet of Worms by Pope Leo X in response to the 95 theses of Martin Luther. ... For other uses, see Diet of Worms (disambiguation). ...


Bibliography

  • Erwin Iserloh The Theses Were Not Posted: Luther Between Reform and Reformation. trans. by Jared Wicks, S.J.. Boston: Beacon Press, 1968.

Seal of the Society of Jesus. ...

References

  1. ^ a b Martin Treu, Martin Luther in Wittenberg: A Biographical Tour (Wittenberg: Saxon-Anhalt Luther Memorial Foundation, 2003), 15.
  2. ^ Iserloh, Erwin. The Theses Were Not Posted. Toronto: Saunders of Toronto, Ltd., 1966.
  3. ^ Helmar Junghans, "Luther's Wittenberg," in The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther, ed. Donald K. McKim (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 26
  4. ^ Junghans, 26.
  5. ^ E.g., "Neuer Beleg für Luthers Thesenanschlag", SPIEGEL Online, 1 February 2007.  (German)
  6. ^ Iserloh, Erwin. The Theses Were Not Posted. Toronto: Saunders of Toronto, Ltd., 1966.
  7. ^ • Edwards, Mark. Luther: A Reformer for the Churches. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.
  8. ^ Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Vol VII, Ch III.

Photo of the cover of the first issue of Der Spiegel (1/1947) Der Spiegel (German for The Mirror) is Europes biggest and Germanys most influential weekly magazine, published in Hamburg, with a circulation of around one million per week. ...

External links

Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
95 Theses

  Results from FactBites:
 
95 Theses: Information from Answers.com (668 words)
The Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, known as the 95 Theses, challenged the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the nature of penance, the authority of the pope and the usefulness of indulgences.
These relics were kept in reliquaries--artistically wrought vessels mostly of silver gilt--and exhibited once a year for the faithful to venerate.
Luther is said to have posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517.
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