Lutheranism and It's Impact on Germanic Peasants Essay

1400 Words May 3rd, 2011 6 Pages
The Rise of Lutheranism and its Impact on Germanic Peasants
The rise of a new religion is often met with both praise and malice from the hierarchy of the civilization it springs from. The rise of Lutheranism affected all of Western Europe, but it’s most prominent impact was on the peasants and serfs with no where to turn in what is today Germany. As the growth of Lutheranism picked up speed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, peasants from all over the Germanic states turned to Lutheranism in search of salvation and escape from the corruption sweeping the Catholic Church. Lutheranism’s impact stretched far beyond its own boarders, instigating changes within the Catholic Church to combat Lutheranism. Through Lutheranism, the
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With the threat of damnation, peasants were forced to follow the decrees of the church, and were often forced into service. The average farmer had to pay a tithe, or tax, at the end of every year usually equal to about one tenth of a farmer’s earnings in the form of money, crops, or livestock. In addition, mandatory labor on church lands was required for up to three days a week, all without pay. These abuses of power by the Catholic Church were the basis for Luther’s 95 Theses and soon and became a major rallying point for Lutheranism supporters. By 1510, Lutheranism had taken a firm hold in most of Germany. Dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church had prompted many Germanic princes to convert to Lutheranism. One of the most important changes Martin Luther brought to the Germanic States was a version of the King James Bible, translated into German in 1534. The Bible was now accessible to any and all who could speak the local Germanic languages and allowed for peasants to make their own interpretations of scripture. The Catholic Church’s refusal to translate their own version of the Bible was based on the idea that only priests and those who devoted their lives to the Bible could read and understand its messages. Priests would often purposely misinterpret scripture in order to squeeze both money and

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