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Martin Luther was definitely a key part of the German Reformation.

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Introduction

Martin Luther was definitely a key part of the German Reformation; his fame had spread rapidly throughout Germany following the posting of his 95 theses at Wittenberg in November 1517. In the 16th century in Germany many people were reading Luther's New Testament, even at a time when literacy levels were low. Martin Luther clearly had a vital influence on the movement known as the German Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany was attacked and criticised by a number of reformers, and Luther was just one of them, however he achieved more than anyone else. Between 1517 and until he died in 1546 Luther challenged Catholic theology and produced his own theological statements. He set up a new church in German states, with new services and ministers. He brought a huge change in the lives of the German peasants, nobleman and churchmen. A catholic preacher called Tetzel, sold indulgences to people guaranteeing them they would get into heaven. Tetzel annoyed Luther because he was selling indulgences, which were, in effect, much sought after passports to heaven. ...read more.

Middle

Luther challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic church. Luther opposed the selling of indulgences. After the Diet of Worms in 1521, the Reformation spread to many German cities. The social structure of the cities favoured reform. The bishops and clergy were less involved in city government and artisans formed the majority of the population. Guilds were influential and welcomed reform because the reformed religion encouraged their continued participation. Wealthy people were happy to support reform and peasants living in the cities were interested in the preaching of reformers. A new ethic developed with the people and Luther's beliefs encouraged it. The spoken word was powerful at an illiterate age. Also, cartoons and images, plays and carnivals encouraged popular understanding. People had so many negative feelings about the Catholic church they welcomed the Reformation; they disliked the church taxes, church courts and indulgence sellers. Martin Luther was very involved in the Reformation in cities. Many city councils received encouragement from him. The Reformation was clearly more than a change in the religious beliefs of certain individuals. ...read more.

Conclusion

The printing press had an enormous impact on European culture in general. However it was limited because there were little or no new ideas. Literacy rates were every low. The technological improvements were spread out over a long time. Many businesses could not make sufficient money out of printing. The printing press could also be used by the opposition, the Catholics. Another factor that aided Luther were the pre-reformation conditions, although religion was the centre of life, the abuses of the church and the indulgences were annoying people. The Pope was more interested in money and having a good life then performing his duties. Many people were thinking what Luther was thinking; Luther was just the first to speak out. It was easy for people to agree with Luther when the conditions were like this. The Princes aided the Reformation because they accepted Protestantism. At first the princes sat on the fence, but eventually they accepted it. They were very influential but slow to act. However some princes refused to move away from Catholicism. Martin Luther was without a doubt very responsible for the success of the German Reformation. There were other factors that did aid Martin Luther but, he probably would have been successful without these. ...read more.

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