22 pages 44 minutes read

Martin Luther

Ninety-Five Theses

Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | Published in 1517

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Essay Analysis

Analysis: “Ninety-Five Theses”

Across the “Ninety-Five Theses,” Luther addresses many pressing issues involving contemporary Christian belief. These include penance, sin, the limits of the pope’s spiritual powers, church corruption, purgatory, and salvation. At the center of it all are five main points:

1. Sincere repentance of sin is a lifelong, personal, emotional, and difficult process for every Christian.

2. The pope cannot absolve one’s sins through an indulgence or any other action, nor can he reduce the amount of time a soul spends in purgatory.

3. Indulgences can do good by instructing a Christian on how they should perform penance, but some priests have abused and overemphasized indulgences for the sake of greed.

4. Corrupt priests and theologians have misled people into believing that indulgences alone are enough to save their souls, which has caused false beliefs about Christian doctrine to spread and has harmed opinions about the pope among others.

5. The abuse of indulgences is the fault of certain members of the clergy, not the pope or the church as a whole.

Luther’s purpose in writing the “Ninety-Five Theses” is to persuade readers of these points. Namely it is written for an

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