Monday, 2 January 2017

Wrong anniversary?

How very disappointing! At the start of this week's Beyond Belief, marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, all of the experts debunked the story that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. They told us they didn't think it happened and that all that actually happened was that Luther wrote a letter to (The Times) his archbishop in order to get an essentially academic debate going about indulgences. The first recorded account of the "great myth" of Luther nailing his theses to the church door dates from 1543 but the story grew exponentially so that by 1617 the image of Luther as 'the man with the hammer' was fully established.

It was in 1620 that three further theses were produced, addressing the German nobility, and the academics on Beyond Belief believe their publication to be the real anniversary of the Lutheran revolution. The third - On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church - brands the Pope as the Antichrist and dismisses five of the seven Catholic Church's seven sacraments (leaving only baptism and the Eucharist).

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