As he expanded his critique into other areas of church policy and the conflict with Rome intensified.
Luther's supporters in Germany's vibrant print industry made many of his works the first "bestsellers" in history and Luther himself among the most famous men in Europe.
In one of the most important works of the early Reformation, , Luther sought to forge alliances with these groups to bolster his reform of the church with a reform of German society.
In laying out his reforms, Luther argued that the state and its institutions should wield authority over the church.
Most depictions of Luther posting his theses show a defiant monk swinging his hammer against the church door, but the scene depicted here is probably more accurate: an assistant posts the theses while Luther discusses them with a colleague.
Luther composed his theses in Latin and intended them as the basis of a disputation, or scholarly debate, on papal indulgences.The following selections of Luther's and other Reformation-era works at the Library of Congress document not only the progress of Luther's thought as the conflict with Rome took shape, but also how printing in Germany blossomed into a mass medium as public interest in the controversy continued to grow.( When he posted his theses, Luther was a thirty-four-year-old priest and professor of theology at Wittenberg University, a provincial institution that had been founded only fifteen years earlier.Albrecht met Luther's letter with silence, for the priest from Wittenberg had touched on a sensitive nerve in high-level church administration in both Rome and Germany: Pope Leo X and Albrecht were dividing the proceeds from the sale of indulgences to finance the lavish construction of St.Peter's Basilica in Rome and to pay Albrecht's debts.Luther paired his critique of the church with a call to reform Germany's secular institutions.A number of Germany's many princes, knights, and other nobles bristled under Roman influence and saw Luther as a potential champion of German freedom from it.The Catholic Church therefore faced not only a fundamental challenge to its institutions and practices, but one backed by the force of a new technology.Having failed in its efforts to move Luther to recant, the church met this threat by branding Luther a heretic and rendering him up to the Holy Roman Empire for trial and punishment.In this context, the Ninety-five Theses were transformed from an academic agenda into a manifesto of church reform.The Roman Church's initial response to Luther's theses followed the scholarly and deliberative pattern he had established.