Scholars from Saint Anselm College and California Lutheran University provide a balanced and objective presentation of the facts surrounding this very important period of history. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, nailed to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in Germany his 95 Theses attacking certain practices of the Roman Catholic Church. When he refused to recant and apologize, the church excommunicated him, and he went into hiding in fear for his life. This simple act started one of the most profound social movements of history, the Reformation. Although Luther did not foresee it, and even though he attempted to calm the reaction of his followers, he started a revolution that pitted Protestants against Catholics, resulting in wars throughout Europe that lasted approximately 100 years and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.This enlightening video explores the background of the Roman Catholic Church and the causes of social and religious unrest. The program also introduces key figures who played important roles in the changes taking place in Europe. Early churchmen such as John Wycliffe and Jan Hus preceded Luther in objecting to teachings of the church. Hus was burned at the stake for his beliefs. The Humanist Movement, with such leaders as Erasmus of Rotterdam, influenced Luther. The invention of the movable-type printing press in 1454 allowed Luther's writings to be disseminated widely in Europe. Men who followed Luther, like Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, made great contributions to establishing Protestant churches and bringing religious choice to Europeans. Grade level 6-12. 30 minutes.
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