Monday, October 10, 2016

MARTIN LUTHER'S REFORMATION: Word and Image: Review by Polly Guerin

Theologian (1483-1546) Martin Luther 
When Martin Luther, thinker, monk, rebel hammered his 95 These to the door of the castle church, the sound reverberated throughout the world. Or so the legend goes.
    His influence spread through Western Europe, with European settlers, to the United States. Lutheran communities scattered across America are all direct beneficiaries of Luther's legacy. 
THE WORD: His weapon was the word. He not only revolutionized the church, but also the way people thought, giving them reassurance and conveying to them the comforting image of a merciful and forgiving God. Luther's 95 Theses constitutes one of the most important documents in German and European history. Luther was a man who defined his time and whose message is as relevant today as it was 500 years ago.
     October 31, 1517 is considered the day the Reformation began, and the 500th anniversary of this momentous event is October 31, 2017. In celebration of this historical landmark the Morgan Library and Museum presents WORD and IMAGE, Martin Luther's Reformation with nearly 100 artworks and objects on loan to the Morgan thorough a collaboration with several German museums, and most of the objects have never been seen before in North America. Exhibit runs through January 12, 2017.
INDULGENCES: Martin Luther forever changed Christianity when he began the Protestant 
Reformation in 16th Century Europe. Luther was given a permanent post at Wittenberg University in 1512. It was the selling of 'indulgences' that drove him to publish his 95 Theses. 
Excerpts from Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses
In 1517, Pope Leo X announced a new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter's Basilica. On October 31, the same year, an angry Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper with 95 Theses on the university's chapel door.  Though he intended these to be discussion points, the Ninety-Five Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences as corrupting people's faith. Luther pursued further and sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences.  Aided by the fortuitous invention of the printing press, copies of the Ninety-Five Theses spread throughout Germany with two weeks and throughout Europe in two months.

Martin Luther Translated New Testament into German Language
EXCOMMUNICATION: The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance.  In 1518 the Church investigated Luther on charges of heresy, and in 1521 he was declared an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor. A condemned man he took refuge in Wartburg Castle. While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, to give ordinary people the opportunity to read God's word. Though still under threat of arrest, Luther returned to Wittenberg Castle Church in May 1522 and began organizing a new church, Lutheranism.
    His actions fractured the Roman Catholic Church into new sects of Christianity and set in other reform within the Church. Luther's translation of the Bible into the language of the people, radically changed the relationship between Church and their followers.   
    LECTURES and Discussions: November 13th Martin Luther and Anti-Semitism, and December 8th, Social Media and Activism. Gallery Talks: Word and Image October 21 and December 16th.
    Ta Ta Darlings! Did you know..."As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." With these words, preacher Johann Tetzel vociferously sold indulgences, which promised absolution from sins, and served to finance St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Fan mail welcome. Contact Polly at  Visit her other Blogs listed in the left hand column on

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