Luther's Success from 1517-21

  • Created by: nay29
  • Created on: 04-11-18 15:17
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  • What made Luther successful in 1517-1521?
    • Printing Press
      • Rapid spread of ideas
        • allowed Luther to publish his 95 Theses and his pamphlets
          • January 1518, Christoph von Scheurl and other friends of Luther translated the 95 Theses into German
            • They then printed and copied it, making it one of the first documents to be spread with the printing press
              • Copies of the Theses had been spread throughout Germany within 2 weeks
                • Within six weeks, Theses had been spread across Europe
                  • Increased how well-known Luther was, and also increased the protest across Europe at the state of the Catholic Church
            • Latin was the language of academics and so the translation helped it to spread even further
              • Allowed people to think for themselves and read the Bible for the first time, making their own judgement on the value of the ideas
        • Pamphlets were made of Luther's ideas
          • Pamplets were great because where a book would take two weeks to produce, a pamphlet could be printed in a day or two, which made printing for the masses much easier
            • Luther would spread copies in the town where the pamphlets were printed, and then people would recommend them to others by word of mouth
              • Booksellers promoted the pamphlets, and travellers would carry copies to other towns and make their own editions in batches of 1000 - this meant that Luther's ideas were spreading fast without his direct involvement.
        • Woodcuts could be produced using a printing press
          • These were useful because they could be understood and shared to the masses - only 10% of german people could read at the time so this was a way of spreading his message to ordinary people, to whom the Church mattered most
      • 1440, Johannes Gutenberg, Germany
        • Prior to the printing press, books were a sign of great wealth
          • The invention allowed the poorer population who wouldn't previously have been able to afford books to still learn the ideas of Luther
        • Printing press also meant that the spread of knowledge was not in the control of the Church
          • The Church disapproved of Luther's pamphlets and banned their production in Leipzig but copies still came to the city, there was little they could do
          • Even though the Church disapproved, people still printed the copies because there was demand so they saw it as business
      • Luther was declared a heretic in 1521, and owning/reading his works was banned, but by this point he was so well known that execution was not an option
        • In this way, the printing press actually helped him as it gave him the popularity that stopped him from execution
    • Frederick the Wise
      • He kidnapped Luther in May 1521, before the Edict of Worms, taking him into protective custody
        • As Luther and his escort were passing through the forest they were taken by a group of horsemen who rode off with Luther as their 'captive'
          • Frederick had decided that Luther's political situation was too unstable for him to be out in public - he needed to be in hiding
            • Luther was taken to Frederick's castle at Wartburg where he disguised himself as a farmer, starting work on the German translation of the Bible
      • Made Luther a professor at the new university he founded in Wittenburg (1511)
        • This allowed Luther to focus his efforts on the Bible, and allowed him to develop the views that he then wrote about
      • Negotiated an amnesty for Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521
        • Luther could have been arrested and executed following his ex-communication, however the intervention of Frederick the Wise meant that Luther would appear for a hearing under the elector's policy of safe conduct
      • Refused to carry out a papal bull against Luther in 1520
      • Allowed the publication of Luther's documents in Saxony and beyond

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