Lyndal Roper: why religious rebel Martin Luther is not a hero

From Sunday Morning, 10:04 am on 9 December 2018

Lyndal Roper, Regius Professor of History at Oxford, is a respected historian and author of the 2016 biography "Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet", a book described by Hilary Mantel s "smart, accessible and authoritative". She was in Wellington recently to deliver a lecture at Victoria University, "Why Luther is Not a Hero". Martin Luther was a religious rebel who changed Western history. The German theologian and monk, whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation, is famous for his 95 Theses in 1517 - which attacked the Catholic Church for its papal abuses and the sale of what was known as "indulgences". Indulgences were documents prepared by the church and bought by people either for themselves or on behalf of the dead to release them from punishment due to their sins. Luther questioned such practices and called for church reform. He refused to recant and was labelled a heretic but his legacy is immense - including the Lutheran Church.