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Martin Luther's 95 Theses

This is the place to discuss the past, its study, and those who study it. Discussion about events that happened less than twenty years ago should go go in Politics instead.
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lpetrich
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Martin Luther's 95 Theses

Post by lpetrich » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:38 pm

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, a monk and professor of theology named Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) mailed a copy of his 95 theses to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz. He may also have nailed a copy of them on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, but we are not sure about that.

(Wikipedia)Ninety-five Theses, Martin Luther 95 Theses: Full Text (each one is only a sentence), The 95 Theses: A Summary

He objected to indulgences as buying one's way into Heaven, and he objected to where the money was going: out of Germany, for rebuilding St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

His theses circulated widely, but the Catholic Church decided that they were heretical, and a few years later, the Church put him on trial at an assembly in a town called Worms -- the Diet of Worms. He refused to back down, and the Church excommunicated him. But some leaders befriended him and supported him, as he established a new church, translated the Bible, composed hymns, wrote about various theological issues, and got married to an ex-nun.

He hoped that his new improved version of Christianity would make Jews want to convert, but when they failed to do so, he turned against them. He wrote "On the Jews and Their Lies" (1543), advocating that Jews be either expelled or turned into slave laborers. Some 400 years later, many Nazis loved what he said about Jews and what to do about them.

He was followed by several other reformers, like John Calvin, and some of them also established their own churches. The Catholic Church did not like these new churches, and the result was some 150 years of bloody Wars of Religion. These wars ended in a draw, with much of northern Europe Protestant and the rest Catholic.

Martin Luther succeeded where most of his predecessors had failed. A century earlier, reformer Jan Hus (John Huss) had some success in Czechia, but the Church caught up with him and burned him at the stake. Even earlier, the Church successfully suppressed the Albigensians of southern France, and before that, the Bogomils of Bulgaria. The Eastern Orthodox Church, however, was too big and distant for the Catholic Church to suppress, however.


Although his immediate legacy was those Wars of Religion, his further legacy was the weakening of the Catholic Church and the growth of religious tolerance and freedom of thought more generally. Catholics and Protestants discovered that they could coexist, despite considering each other idolators and heretics.

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:49 pm

Yup! I was raised Lutheran, and made my way back to my home church for the celebration of Reformation Sunday this year. It was quite a glorious affair by Lutheran standards... red streamers everywhere, a new set of altar dressings, a contingent of brass instruments backing up the choir. It's traditional to wear red for the occasion, and between the people and the decorations it looked like Valentine's Day had come early, without the pink.

I've been taking advantage of the occasion to re-read some of Luther's works as my evening reading. Tackled his personal letters and "Bondage of the Will" last night, planning on going through "Freedom of the Christian" tonight.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:33 pm

This seems a good place to ask again a question I first brought up in the 2011 thread "Reason is the enemy of faith". To wit-
Jobar wrote:Obviously at some point Luther underwent some experience(s) which changed him from a fairly sensible individual for his day, to the hate-full monster that scripted so much of Nazi antisemitism, and wrote those nasty and crude condemnations of human reason. I suspect that there are scholars who could tell us what caused such a dreadful transformation, but so far I haven't found one.
Without necessarily wanting to re-start the dispute over how responsible Luther was for the Holocaust, I am interested in any light Poli could throw on the sea change Luther went through in his outlook on Jews, and on human reason.

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:27 pm

I don't think it was a sea change per se - he was a medieval man with medieval attitudes on things, and we should not expect otherwise. He did go through a sort of evolution on the Jewish question, during the early Reformation years; he had thought for a while that Jews were reacting to the church and its trappings rather than the Gospel, and that if exposed to the true gospel they would desire the salvation of Christ voluntarily. He even harbored hopes of interfacing with Islam, and was among the earliest of Western scholars to study the Qur'an. But his attitude shifted, when said evangelistic projects failed, and he reverted to a persepctive more common for his time.

He was never a friend of reason, if it conflicted with conscience; he saw it as a deeply limited capacity which political powers could easily manipulate for their own purposes. He valued education and learning, even the sciences insofar as they existed at Wittenberg, and enjoyed conversations and disputations of the academic sort. But he did not trust reason. He is famous for writing that "reason is a whore" - she will sleep with anyone. He felt that overconfidence in human reason causes the heart to "turn in on itself", you think yourself infallible if you think that your personal thoughtways are objective and rational and your opponents not. So it's okay to engage in logical dispute as a game of sorts, but if you take it too seriously, you start to forget that your clever manipulation of language is not the same thing as "truth". Truth, to Luther, can only come from the source of truth.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Cheerful Charlie
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Post by Cheerful Charlie » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:42 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]This seems a good place to ask again a question I first brought up in the 2011 thread "Reason is the enemy of faith". To wit-
Jobar wrote:Obviously at some point Luther underwent some experience(s) which changed him from a fairly sensible individual for his day, to the hate-full monster that scripted so much of Nazi antisemitism, and wrote those nasty and crude condemnations of human reason. I suspect that there are scholars who could tell us what caused such a dreadful transformation, but so far I haven't found one.
Without necessarily wanting to re-start the dispute over how responsible Luther was for the Holocaust, I am interested in any light Poli could throw on the sea change Luther went through in his outlook on Jews, and on human reason.[/QUOTE]

Luther's anti-Semitic rant was a big part of the problem in Germany's anti-Jewish ferver, but not the only source by far. A big part of that was the transition from anti-Semitism from religious reasons to cultural reasons. This took place after Napolean conquered Europe and rolled back various anti-Semitc laws throughout Europe. This was spread through German intelligentsia, not the least of who were Germany's extremist University proessors.

There is an interesting article on the net about this, "Heil Professor!".

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArt ... ARTID=3634
Last edited by Cheerful Charlie on Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cheerful Charlie

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justme
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Post by justme » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:11 am

I think the word reason is a direction from which a viewer perceives reality from. It's not a standard for all but a place to look from for those whose co0mfortable on the ground they presently stand upon.

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