To what extent was Martin Luther responsible for the 'revolutionary' Protestant reformation in Germany?
In this essay, I will attempt to assess the extent of Martin Luther's role in the Protestant reformation that took place at the beginning of the sixteenth century in Germany. Luther's name is synonymous with the religious Reformation of the sixteenth century, or the 'evangelical movement' as it is sometimes called, but the actual details of the Reformation itself are somewhat lesser known. Luther's role in the Reformation is well publicised, but his contribution to other areas of religious life is often forgotten. Luther reinvented the German language, making his sermons and later, the bible, accessible to thousands of German citizens,
"He...converted it (the Bible) with a sensitive feeling for language and stylistic skill into a generally understandable German,"
Luther also made his religious sermons comprehensible by preaching in the vernacular, his pamphlets, and countless books, which he produced at an enormous rate, all struck a chord with the average Deutsch speaker simply because they were written in a language legible to the average German.
The significance of Luther in the history of music is undisputed. He succeeded in transforming psalms into well-known songs, and captured the rhythm and intensity of the as yet disparate German nation with his own compositions, and his unique view of 'word music'.
" With all my heart I would praise and laud this beautiful and artistic gift of God, the free art of music, for I find that the same hath much and great usefulness, and is therefore a splendid and noble art, so that I know not where to begin or cease to praise it."
Unfortunately, however, this author is not intent on discussing the merits of Luther's heart-warming music. Rather, I will discuss the fact that much of...