Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John R. Rilling

Second Advisor

Dr, Barbara A. Sella

Third Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway


When Martin Luther entered the monastery in 1505 as an Augustinian monk, he left the corrupted, inherently less-spiritual "world" for the religiously-oriented, celibate life in a cloister-the highest, most holy road one could take as a Christian. After a number of years he discovered that he was no more certain about his salvation or God's acceptance of him than the day he had become a monk. The only way to please God came through faith, which a farmer or housewife could have as equally as a monk or a nun. Therefore, he left the monastery to return to the world and championed the cause of the married "commoners," whom, he declared, were no less holy or pleasing to God than the thousands of monks, nuns, and priests who filled Europe's churches and cloisters. Luther accomplished this through his writings, his preachings, and especially his lifestyle as he married a former nun, Katherina von Bora, raised children, and managed a home.

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