95 Theses Date

95 Theses Date-25
On Halloween of 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church.

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This act opened up a debate with religious scholars of the time that eventually lead to the Protestant Reformation.

Reformation Day has been observed as a holiday since the mid-16th century, but its official date of October 31st was set until about 1717.

This month marks the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s famous action.

Accordingly, a number of books have come out, reconsidering the man and his influence.

Some people observe the day from a religious standpoint and use it to attend special church services.

Other people observe it as any other public holiday and take the time to shop or sight-see.

His reforms survived to breed other reforms, many of which he disapproved of. To tote up the Protestant denominations discussed in Alec Ryrie’s new book, “Protestants” (Viking), is almost comical, there are so many of them. (More than eighty thousand poorly armed peasants were slaughtered when the latter rebellion failed.) Indeed, the horrific Thirty Years’ War, in which, basically, Europe’s Roman Catholics killed all the Protestants they could, and vice versa, can in some measure be laid at Luther’s door.

Although it did not begin until decades after his death, it arose in part because he had created no institutional structure to replace the one he walked away from.

“The quintessentially modern idea of the individual was as unthinkable before Luther as is color in a world of black and white,” he writes.

“And the more recent ideas of pluralism, religious liberty, self-government, and liberty all entered history through the door that Luther opened.” The other books are more reserved.

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