How Did Luther Influence The Catholic Church
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Bishop Barron on Catholicism and the Reformation
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He wanted to ensure their comprehension by translating as closely as possible to their contemporary language usage. His translation was published in September , six months after he had returned to Wittenberg. The richest fruit of Luther's leisure in the Wartburg, and the most important and useful work of his whole life, is the translation of the New Testament, by which he brought the teaching and example of Christ and the Apostles to the mind and heart of the Germans in life-like reproduction.
It was a republication of the gospel. He made the Bible the people's book in church, school, and house. Luther worked on refining the translation up to his death in he had worked on the edition that was printed that year. There were original woodcuts included in the edition issued by the Hans Lufft press in Wittenberg. They reflected the recent trend since of including artwork to reinforce the textual message. Luther's Bible was a bestseller in its time. About , copies in hundreds of reprinted editions appeared before Luther died in However, the book remained too expensive for most Lutherans; an unbound copy of the complete Bible cost the equivalent of a month's wages for the average laborer.
Instead, the Bible was bought by churches, pastors, and schools. Luther added the word "alone" allein in German to Romans controversially so that it read: "So now we hold, that man is justified without the help of the works of the law, alone through faith"  The word "alone" does not appear in the Greek texts ,  but Luther defended his translation by maintaining that the adverb "alone" was required both by idiomatic German and the apostle Paul's intended meaning according to his interpretation,  and that sola was used in western theological tradition before him.
Many Protestant scholars have noted the bias in Luther's translation, including Anglican apologist Alister McGrath : . This addition caused a furor. Luther responded by making the point that his slogan encapsulated neatly the substance of the NT even if it did not use precisely its original words. Luther developed a certain theology and now he wants to prove this theology.
He wants to show it… You can call that awesome and you can call it wrong. In any case, it does not offer a philologically clean translation of the Bible. Luther did not know ancient Greek well, and when he referenced the Greek New Testament, he relied on his friend Melanchthon and a number of other philologists. There were also many understandable mistranslations due to a lack of knowledge, such as in Psalms where he mistranslated chamois to "rabbit" because he did not know what a chamois was. He called the Letter of James "an epistle of straw," finding little in it that pointed to Christ and His saving work. He also had harsh words for the Revelation of John, saying that he could "in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.
The four which follow have from ancient times had a different reputation. Luther chose to place the Biblical apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments. These books and addenda to Biblical canon of the Old Testament are found in the ancient Greek Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Masoretic text. Luther left the translating of them largely to Philipp Melanchthon and Justus Jonas. The Luther Bible was not the first translation of the Bible into German. Luther's German Bible and its widespread circulation facilitated the emergence of a standard, modern German language for the German-speaking people throughout the Holy Roman Empire , an empire extending through and beyond present-day Germany.
It is also considered a landmark in German literature , with Luther's vernacular style often praised by modern German sources for the forceful vigor "kraftvolles Deutsch"          with which he translated the Holy Scripture. A large part of Luther's significance was his influence on the emergence of the German language and national identity. This stemmed predominantly from his translation of the Bible into the vernacular, which was potentially as revolutionary as canon law and the burning of the papal bull.
Previous translations had contained poor German, and had been from the Vulgate Latin translation, i. Hans Lufft , the Bible printer in Wittenberg, printed over one hundred thousand copies between and , which went on to be read by millions. Luther's New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth.
Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity. The spread of Luther's Bible translation had implications for the German language. The German language had developed into so many dialects that German speakers from different regions could barely understand each other. Nobody seems to care sufficiently for it; and every preacher thinks he has a right to change it at pleasure and to invent new terms. Luther's Bible translation, based primarily on his native Saxon dialect  and enriched with the vocabulary of German poets and chroniclers, led to a standardized German language.
German-speaking Protestant writers and poets such as Klopstock, Herder and Lessing owe stylistic qualities to Luther's vernacular Bible. Luther's vernacular Bible also had a role in the creation of a German national identity. Because it penetrated every German-speaking Protestant home, the language of his translation became part of a German national heritage. It gradually became infused into the blood of the whole nation and occupied a permanent space in a German history.
In a sense the vernacular Bible also empowered and liberated all Protestants who had access to it. The existence of the translation was a public affirmation of reform, such as might deprive any elite or priestly class of exclusive control over words, as well as over the word of God. In some major controversies of the time, even some evangelicals, let alone the commoners, did not understand the reasons for disagreement; and Luther wanted to help those who were confused to see that the disagreement between himself and the Roman Catholic Church was real and had significance.
So translation of the Bible would allow the common people to become aware of the issues at hand and develop an informed opinion. In this sense, Luther's vernacular Bible acted as a force towards the liberation of the German people. The combination of Luther's social teachings and the vernacular Bible undoubtedly had a role in the slow emancipation of western European society from a long phase of clerical domination.
He had claimed Holy Scripture to be the sole authority, and through his translation every individual would be able to abide by its authority, and might nullify his or her need for a monarchical pope. Although not as significantly as on German linguistics, Luther's Bible also made a large impression on educational reform throughout Germany. Luther's goal of a readable, accurate translation of the Bible became a stimulus towards universal education, since everyone should be able to read in order to understand the Bible. Thus his vernacular Bible could become a means of establishing a form of law, order and morality which everyone could abide by, if all could read and understand it. The possibility of understanding the vernacular Bible allowed Luther to found a State Church and educate his followers into a law-abiding community.
Finally, Luther's translated Bible also had international significance in the spread of Christianity. Luther's translation influenced the English translations by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale who in turn inspired many other translations of the Bible such as the Bishops' Bible of , the Douay—Rheims Bible of —, and the King James Version of In a metaphor, it was Luther who 'broke the walls' of translation in western Europe and once such walls had fallen, the way was open to all, including some who were quite opposed to Luther's beliefs.
The worldwide implications of the translation far surpassed the expectations of even Luther himself. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. German-language translation of the Bible by Martin Luther. Deuterocanonical books Prayer of Manasseh. Lutheran Several Reformed churches. Genesis —3. Am anfang schuff Gott Himel vnd Erden. John Canons and books. Tanakh Torah Nevi'im Ketuvim. Deuterocanon Antilegomena. Authorship and development. Authorship Dating Hebrew canon. Pauline epistles Petrine epistles. Translations and manuscripts. This period marked a major change in his life and set in motion the Reformation.
Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press , copies of the 95 Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months. The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance. In October , at a meeting with Cardinal Thomas Cajetan in Augsburg, Luther was ordered to recant his 95 Theses by the authority of the pope.
Luther said he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. The meeting ended in a shouting match and initiated his ultimate excommunication from the Church. Following the publication of his 95 Theses , Luther continued to lecture and write in Wittenberg. In June and July of Luther publicly declared that the Bible did not give the pope the exclusive right to interpret scripture, which was a direct attack on the authority of the papacy.
Finally, in , the pope had had enough and on June 15 issued an ultimatum threatening Luther with excommunication. On December 10, , Luther publicly burned the letter. In March , Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms , a general assembly of secular authorities. Again, Luther refused to recant his statements, demanding he be shown any scripture that would refute his position.
There was none. Friends helped him hide out at the Wartburg Castle. Though still under threat of arrest, Luther returned to Wittenberg Castle Church, in Eisenach, in May to organize a new church, Lutheranism. He gained many followers, and the Lutheran Church also received considerable support from German princes. When a peasant revolt began in , Luther denounced the peasants and sided with the rulers, whom he depended on to keep his church growing. Thousands of peasants were killed, but the Lutheran Church grew over the years. In , Luther married Katharina von Bora, a former nun who had abandoned the convent and taken refuge in Wittenberg. Born into a noble family that had fallen on hard times, at the age of five Katharina was sent to a convent.
She and several other reform-minded nuns decided to escape the rigors of the cloistered life, and after smuggling out a letter pleading for help from the Lutherans, Luther organized a daring plot. With the help of a fishmonger, Luther had the rebellious nuns hide in herring barrels that were secreted out of the convent after dark - an offense punishable by death. Luther ensured that all the women found employment or marriage prospects, except for the strong-willed Katharina, who refused all suitors except Luther himself. The scandalous marriage of a disgraced monk to a disgraced nun may have somewhat tarnished the reform movement, but over the next several years, the couple prospered and had six children.
Katharina proved herself a more than a capable wife and ally, as she greatly increased their family's wealth by shrewdly investing in farms, orchards and a brewery. She also converted a former monastery into a dormitory and meeting center for Reformation activists. Luther later said of his marriage, "I have made the angels laugh and the devils weep. From to his death in , Luther served as the dean of theology at University of Wittenberg.
During this time he suffered from many illnesses, including arthritis, heart problems and digestive disorders. The physical pain and emotional strain of being a fugitive might have been reflected in his writings. Some works contained strident and offensive language against several segments of society, particularly Jews and, to a lesser degree, Muslims. Luther died following a stroke on February 18, , at the age of 62 during a trip to his hometown of Eisleben.
He was buried in All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, the city he had helped turn into an intellectual center. Luther's teachings and translations radically changed Christian theology. Thanks in large part to the Gutenberg press, his influence continued to grow after his death, as his message spread across Europe and around the world. We strive for accuracy and fairness.