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HIS 2403E (100)
Lecture

Martin Luther


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 2403E
Professor
Jeffrey Temple

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Most important lecture of the term
17 July 1507 Martin Luther knocked on the door of an Augustinian monastery and asked to
become a novice
There was nothing unusual about this event many men did this to show devotion to
Christ or to further themselves and their family
Martin was not very unique in his origins. 1483 born in Saxony with peasant family
(relatively wealthy) Hans (father) married into a prominent urban family. Hans was intent
on not allowing the family to fall back into poverty so he wanted his children to have
the best education. Hans wanted Martin to become a lawyer. At 4 years old Martin went to
Mansfield where he learned Latin and memorization etc
For Martin went to Eisenach for his secondary education History, rhetoric, advanced
Latin etc
Martin goes to Erfurt for university bachelor and masters in the arts and is first in his class
then moved on to law
So why did Martin want to become a monk?
His motivations for entering the monastery were very unusual
Martin had gone home to visit family and after this visit he heads back to university but is
caught outside in a thunderstorm and is nearly stuck by lightning he asks to be saved (he
thinks he is going to die) St Anne save me and I will become a monk he believes he St
Anne saved him
Martin was then convinced to become a monk (obviously the father is very upset)
On the 17th of July Luther had chosen not to enter not just any monastery
This order was the most rigid the most demanding they emphasized confession and
penance
Luther throws himself into monastic life he kept rigidly to the monastically schedule
However Luther could not find the spiritual security that he wanted
Merit Theology teaches that when you are born you receive the initial sacrament that
takes away the guilt of original sin but you are still going to sin doesn’t remove the
inclination to sin what this means is from the moment you are baptised onwards is that
you are left alone so you must do enough good to please god.
1st Confession/contrition (must be sorry)
2th then the father will grant you absolution (remove guilt of the sin)
3rd you are assigned penance penance will be set in weight to what you did wrong
According to the theology at the time becoming a monk was a very good deed and you
become a spiritual elite but Luther does not find the spiritual security he wanted
He is never convinced that he has done enough to win Gods favour
As long as when you die the good out weighs the bad you will go to heaven
(think of scales)
Why can’t he find security?
He can never be sure that he has confessed all of his sins or that he was sufficiently sorry
for them
If you do a good deed with the intent to get into heaven than you are being selfish and a sin
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