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Old 10-05-2003, 08:04 PM   #1
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Luther

I saw this movie this afternoon. It was very well-done, with none of the romance that movies want to bring to the 16th century.

Being raised Lutheran, I was well-taught to be proud of the Lutherans' belief in the accessibility of Jesus and God. It appears that my mother and grandparents were right. The Catholic hierarchy in the movie were mostly corrupt, grubbing, power-hungry men. The priests were treated better by the script. They were portayed as honest, devout leaders of their illiterate congregations.

It brought back a memory of a family story. You see, one of my Lutheran relatives married a Catholic woman, back in the 20s or 30s, I think. This was somewhat of a family scandal even when I was a child, thirtysome years later in the 60s. The story went that their Bible was prominently displayed in their home, but left unopened, due to the Catholic prohibition against Catholics actually reading their Bible. The Norwiegan Lutherans in my family were unhappy with this, and there was a smugness in their repetition of the story. They were quick to use this tale as an illustration of the superiority of Lutheranism, and the pity that we should feel for Catholics.

I found myself wondering at how compressed was this movie's account of Martin Luther and his work. It was a very anti-Catholic hierarchy story; it was a very unflattering, unsympathetic view of the Pope and his cardinals of the time. Could it have been sympathetic to them, though? Can the story of the start of the Reformation be told without enumerating the corruption of the Catholic church in the 16th century?

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Your thoughts?
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:02 AM   #2
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Luther didn't want to found a new church - he wanted to change the church and stop the things which were going wrong.
So telling the story of Luther and the Reformation without telling the mistakes of the Christian church of the 16th century dosn't make sense to me.
But you can see Luther verry crritical too he wasn't a perfect man. He was verry anti-semitic for example

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Old 10-06-2003, 10:13 AM   #3
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And Luther's translation of the Bible wasn't without prejudice. His decision to illustrate the book of Revelation--which he didn't do to any other book--is arguably the cause of modern obsessions with the Apocalypse, which, as we can see over the centuries, has been very unhealthy.

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Old 10-06-2003, 11:22 AM   #4
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I was raised a Methodist and became a Catholic as an adult! The Catholic Church had a ton of corruption in Luther's time. No one can argue with that. Something had to give, and Luther stepped into the leadership role, eqipped with that terrific new invention the printing press. He wasn't perfect; as Klaus pointed out he was terribly anti-Semitic and tolerance in general wasn't one of his virtues. But he got the job done. It was good for the Catholic Church to have that competition, and the Counter-Reformation, basically a "clean-up" job sixteenth-century style, complete with the intolerance of the time was the result. It's unfortunate that there's so much "anti" in the whole situation, but that was the siege mentality of the era and it took 300 years to lift even a little bit.
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Old 10-06-2003, 11:39 AM   #5
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Could the story be told without highlighting the corruption of the 16th century Catholic Church? Possibly, but a focus on theology alone may not make for an engaging movie.

Besides, with practices such as Indulgences, it would be hard to separate the corruption from the theology.
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:27 PM   #6
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I would recommend the movie to anyone who was interested in the subject. I'm enjoying these comments. As usual, you all have enlightening things to add to my knowledge.
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Old 10-07-2003, 09:54 AM   #7
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How did the movie portray women?
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Old 10-07-2003, 10:02 AM   #8
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They were barely there. There was a peripheral female character with a crippled daughter. They stood in for the duped, illiterate, innocent peasant masses of Catholics. They were very respectfully portrayed, but they were metaphors. Luther's wife, an ex-nun, was the only other woman who counted. She was shown as a pious, brave, supportive wife who loved Martin. That was it, really. A few women of various classes in church services. Oh, and a grieving mother of a suicide.

The movie was really about men.
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Could the story be told without highlighting the corruption of the 16th century Catholic Church? Possibly, but a focus on theology alone may not make for an engaging movie.

Besides, with practices such as Indulgences, it would be hard to separate the corruption from the theology.
I don't think you can keep the corruption out of the story. It's too much a part of the whole thing. A well-informed Catholic isn't going to be offended; a well-informed Protestant will know that his or her Catholic friends aren't buying indulgences or anything like that in 2003.
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Old 10-07-2003, 02:15 PM   #10
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I agree to verte here. I think the corruption is an important key for understanding. If you look at the "95 Thesen" (95 thesis?)
One of his stronges points was that people can pay so that the church forgives the sins.
Some other points are still valid even in todays church.

Anyway i think even if Luther wasn't 100% correct (an prejusticed) in his translation it was a masterpeace. The first non-latin bible in germany.
So every christian hat the chance to read and think himself instead of believing in the Pastors or the Pope

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Old 10-07-2003, 11:09 PM   #11
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I've not seen the movie, but a couple of weeks ago in one of my uni subjects (Foundations of Modern Europe) we had a couple of lectures about the Reformation and counter-Reformation.

I'm Catholic myself, but even today I am critical of the way the church is run. Having learnt about the Indulgences and all in the 16th century, and about popes wanting to marry (is that right? One of the de Medici family?) it all seems pretty shocking. I think it needs to be included as a way of explaining why the system needed to be reformed ... even if that wasn't Luther's main intention.

I don't know much about Lutheranism, although some of my family do belong to that church ... but it's my experience that many people coming from a Protestant background are going to focus on the bad points of the Catholic church.
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Old 10-08-2003, 06:57 AM   #12
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Luther didn't want a new christian church he wanted to reform the traditional (now catholic) church.
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
Luther didn't want a new christian church he wanted to reform the traditional (now catholic) church.
That's right. He thought the Church officials would agree with his theses and general ideas. Of course the $$-for-indulgences thing was theologically unsound by traditional Catholic teaching. They had bishoprics for sale, etc, etc. It was the temper of the times. There is a hilarious poem from fifteenth-century England called "London Lickpenny". It's about a poor man from Kent who goes to London to get a legal opinion. He can't do a damn thing, talk to anyone because everyone demands money and he's broke.
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Old 10-13-2003, 08:03 AM   #14
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verte76:

could you post this poem here or send it to me via e-mail?

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Old 10-13-2003, 05:08 PM   #15
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Klaus, here's the link to "London Lickpenny".

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/lick.htm

Enjoy!
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Old 10-14-2003, 10:46 AM   #16
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Some of the other main points of Luther's objection was the notion that only a Catholic priest could serve teh Eucharist and that only through regular reception of the Eucarist could salvation be attained. He opposed the spread of works-righteousness views in the church. From this we get the Protestant credo of "by Grace alone through Faith alone". By Luther's theology all believers were Christ's priesthood, no one had special authority on Earth. Luther also wasn't fond of traditions or images. Tradions as they often had no basis in scripture which was the final authority for Luther and images as they lead to idolitry (while I find the ultra-sterile Reformation era Churches to be a bit of overkill I do find the whole kissing of statues and relics and paying them respect to be a tad disturbing -symbolism can be taken too far).

As to other things whihc protestants have opposed I'm not sure how developed Mariology was in Luther's day so I can't give his opinion on that (though I doubt he would have approved as it is non-scriptural or tenuous at best). I also can only suppose he spoke out against praying to the saints.
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Old 10-20-2003, 03:52 PM   #17
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True, but he didn't have these views developed when he nailed the theses to the door of the church in Wittemburg. He read Jan Hus, the Czech reformer who was burned at the stake at the Council of Constance, at Worms during his trial, and realized that he agreed with many of his views. This was (I think) 1521. I'm rusty on this stuff admittedly. I do not recall if this was before or after his excommunication.
*looks for book about Reformation*
*realizes dates are very screwy*
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:34 PM   #18
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Hus... I seem to recall vaguely a movement called the Hussites. Any relation?
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Old 10-20-2003, 11:06 PM   #19
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looking forward to this move...after I get the time to see 'Gospel of John'!

but this line from Martha's original post:
Quote:
The story went that their Bible was prominently displayed in their home, but left unopened, due to the Catholic prohibition against Catholics actually reading their Bible.
is this REALLY true? why would they teach such a thing? And if it is true...heaven help them! All truth is found within its pages! Please tell me this is no longer the case, even if it is only a couple generations later! I have a Catholic friend who told me outright that she doesn't believe in the Bible. I find that extremely heartbreaking....
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Old 10-21-2003, 10:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Discoteque

is this REALLY true? why would they teach such a thing? And if it is true...heaven help them! All truth is found within its pages! Please tell me this is no longer the case, even if it is only a couple generations later! I have a Catholic friend who told me outright that she doesn't believe in the Bible. I find that extremely heartbreaking....


No longer true at all! While I'm not up on my history of religion, I can tell you from personal experience, this hasn't been the case for the past 37 years...since I've been around! In fact, if you attend weekly Mass without missing for two years, you'll hear the entire bible cover to cover in weekly readings.

I'm sorry for your friend who doesn't believe in the Bible....I don't see how that is possible if she's Catholic. The Gospel is central to the Mass.
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