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They differ on many points, but something that most of them agree on is that the hammering episode, so satisfying symbolically—loud, metallic, violent—never occurred.
This is when it became an official German observance and the date from which it would spread on an international level.
This observance day is celebrated in many different ways all across Europe and North America.
The fact that Luther’s protest, rather than others that preceded it, brought about the Reformation is probably due in large measure to his outsized personality. And though at times he showed that hankering for martyrdom that we detect, with distaste, in the stories of certain religious figures, it seems that, most of the time, he just got out Luther was born in 1483 and grew up in Mansfeld, a small mining town in Saxony. The Luthers ate suckling pig and owned drinking glasses.
He was a charismatic man, and maniacally energetic. His father started out as a miner but soon rose to become a master smelter, a specialist in separating valuable metal (in this case, copper) from ore. They had either seven or eight children, of whom five survived.
He remembered drawing up a list of ninety-five theses around the date in question, but, as for what he did with it, all he was sure of was that he sent it to the local archbishop.
Furthermore, the theses were not, as is often imagined, a set of non-negotiable demands about how the Church should reform itself in accordance with Brother Martin’s standards.
Almost as soon as Luther started the Reformation, alternative Reformations arose in other localities. Meanwhile, he did what he thought was his main job in life, teaching the Bible at the University of Wittenberg.
From town to town, preachers told the citizenry what it should no longer put up with, whereupon they stood a good chance of being shoved aside—indeed, strung up—by other preachers. The Reformation wasn’t led, exactly; it just spread, metastasized. The relationship between the people and the rulers could hardly have been worse. It was warring with the Turks at the walls of Vienna.
As they point out, Luther wanted no part of pluralism—even for the time, he was vehemently anti-Semitic—and not much part of individualism.
People were to believe and act as their churches dictated.