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IINTRODUCTION Luther Martin 1483-1546 German theologian and religious reformer who initiated the Protestant Reformation and whose vast influence extending beyond religion to politics economics education and language has made him one of the crucial figures in modern European history IIEARLY LIFE Luther was born in Eisleben on November 10 1483 He was descended from the peasantry a fact that he often stressed His father Hans Luther was a copper miner in the mining area of Mansfeld Luther received a sound primary and secondary education at Mansfeld Magdeburg and Eisenach In 1501 at the age of 17 he enrolled at the University of Erfurt receiving a bachelors degree in 1502 and a masters degree in 1505 He then intended to study law as his father wished In the summer of 1505 however he suddenly abandoned his studies sold his books and entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt The decision surprised his friends and appalled his father Later in life Luther explained it by recalling several brushes with death that had occurred at the time making him aware of the fleeting character of life In the monastery he observed the rules imposed on a novice but did not find the peace in God he had expected Nevertheless Luther made his profession as a monk in the fall of 1506 and his superiors selected him for the priesthood Ordained in 1507 he approached his first celebration of the mass with awe After his ordination Luther was asked to study theology in order to become a professor at one of the many new German universities staffed by monks In 1508 he was assigned by Johann von Staupitz vicar-general of the Augustinians and a friend and counselor to the new University of Wittenberg founded in 1502 to give introductory lectures in moral philosophy He received his bachelors degree in theology in 1509 and returned to Erfurt where he taught and studied 1509-1511 In November 1510 on behalf
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