Martin Luther and the Origins of Protestant Christianity

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Martin Luther and the Origins of Protestant Christianity

  • Saint Mary’s College of California
9 Lectures (3 Discs)
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Five hundred years ago, one man forever changed the face of Christianity—and the Western world—as we know it.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a German monk and theologian, issued his 95 Theses against indulgences. Like a pebble starting a landslide, this event triggered a wave of change across Europe.

During the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther’s ideas remain as relevant as ever. Now, this course introduces you to Luther’s life, late-medieval theology and politics, and the ideas that sparked a revolution. Your presenter, David Zachariah Flanagin, is an award-winning Catholic teacher whose ecumenical outlook is enlightening and entertaining.

Although he remains the most famous, Luther was by no means the first or last Christian reformer. Understanding his unique importance thus requires situating him in the context of the larger story of Church reform. You’ll begin by considering indulgences and the background that led Luther to promulgate the 95 Theses.

Next, you’ll turn to the three theological pillars of Luther’s thought and the Protestant tradition: justification by grace through faith alone, sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), and the priesthood of all believers. After gaining a deep understanding of these concepts, you’ll see how they differ from Catholic ideas. Finally, you’ll explore the conflicts among various reformers that were often just as contentious as those between Catholics and Protestants.

As you consider Luther’s context and ideas, you will transform your understanding of Christian history.

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Topic Titles
Topic Titles
  • Meeting Martin Luther
  • Indulgences
  • The 95 Theses and Their Aftermath
  • Justification by Grace through Faith Alone
  • Sola Scriptura
  • The Priesthood of All Believers
  • Free Will and Predestination
  • The Eucharist
  • The Challenge of the Radical Reformers
About Your Presenter

David Zachariah Flanagin, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches courses in the development of Christian thought and in biblical studies. His teaching has earned him recognition by the student body as Faculty Member of the Year. Prof. Flanagin received his doctorate in the History of Christianity from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of articles on late-medieval ecclesiology and biblical interpretation. He is the co-editor (with Christopher M. Bellitto) of Reassessing Reform: A Historical Investigation into Church Renewal, published by Catholic University of America Press. In addition to his academic duties, he lectures frequently at churches on topics in the Bible and theology.


Praise for Zach Flanagin

“Zach Flanagin is an outstanding historian… thoroughly grounded in his material, but with special gifts as a lecturer. His works in late medieval spirituality are top-notch and I commend him for searching out the origins of this spirituality in its very beginnings.”
– Gerald...

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