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Martin Luther: scribal vs. university culture

Posted by: | September 24, 2012 | No Comment |

A scribal culture is dominated by religious doctrine and authority, while a university culture generates knowledge through education and innovative thinking.

Martin Luther, a highly prolific figure that we have studied lately, came of age during a time when university culture was immerging. As he underwent a spiritual transformation from within, so did most of Europe. Luther’s way of thinking was radical for his time. Through much agony and soul-searching, Luther came to the conclusion that the path to salvation was not through the Catholic Church, by gaining power or paying for the forgiveness of sins, but must be found within oneself.

This ignited what is now known as the Protestant Reformation. To this day, Christianity is still divided into many denominations and sects. The core beliefs of Christianity, as we now know it today, can be attributed to Martin Luther.

What aided Luther and other scholars of his time was literacy, another drastic contrast between university culture and scribal culture. Because he could actually read the Bible himself, he was able to formulate his own interpretations. Not only was he able to read, but he was an eloquent writer as well, which can be seen in his exposee on the Catholic Church entitled 95 Theses. This manifesto generated quite a buzz, and traveled by word of mouth across the continent.

Education, literacy, and the brilliant mind of one man proved to be a deadly combination for the Roman Catholic Church, and scribal culture as a whole. But it was the dawning of a new day in religion and the spread of ideas and information.

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