Luther - Heather Fackelman German Literature and Culture...

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Heather Fackelman February 9, 2009 German Literature and Culture Montclair State University Martin Luther: The Protestant Reformation Up until 1517, the Roman Catholic Church exploited and capitalized on the poor through the sale of indulgences, or remission of punishment for sins that have already been forgiven. The marketing of “forgiveness of sins” depended highly on the illiteracy of the population to whom these indulgences were being sold (the Bible was printed in Latin, a language only the well-educated could read and understand) and Johann Tetzel’s tactics. Tetzel is most well-known for his quote “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs,” promoting the notion that people could buy their way into heaven. Martin Luther fought this notion, arguing that “believing in Him, [one] may through this faith become a new man, in that all [one’s] sins are forgiven, and [one is] justified by the merits of another, namely, of Christ alone” (Luther, Treatise). Luther proclaimed these beliefs by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in
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Luther - Heather Fackelman German Literature and Culture...

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