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Lutheranism began as a reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church and was initiated by a monk, Martin Luther.


Luther was influenced intellectually by Renaissance humanism and medieval nominalism. In addition, many social and cultural trends fed the Reformation, such as printing and literacy, urbanization, the growth of the middle class, and nationalism.


Lutheranism takes its name from Martin Luther. In addition to his dominating influence in the Lutheran movement, Philipp Melanchthon, Frederick the Wise of Saxony, and Luther's wife Katherine von Bora played key roles in the movement.

Sacred Texts

The Bible, in its Protestant canonical form, is the authoritative text for Lutherans. Luther is one of the originators of the Protestant list of books contained in the Bible, which differs from the Catholic list. In addition, important Lutheran texts are gathered in the Book of Concord.

Historical Perspectives

The history of Lutheranism tends to see in Luther the reflection of the historian. Recent scholarship emphasizes its medieval (as opposed to modern) structures of thought, and his compatibility with liberation theologies.