Martin Luther And The Birth Of Mass Media
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Martin Luther And The Birth Of Mass Media

How the German friar used the printing press to ignite a mass media revolution

Martin Luther And The Birth Of Mass Media

Almost anyone with a basic background in European history knows the story of Martin Luther, the friar who nailed his "Ninety-Five Theses" on a local church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Disillusioned with the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church, Luther wrote the "Ninety-Five Theses," which condemned the Church's selling of indulgences. His questioning of the Catholic Church led to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

What people may not know about Luther, however, is that he played a major role in the development of mass media. A new book, "Brand Luther," by British historian Andrew Pettrgree details Luther's unique use of the printing press to disseminate information to a large number of people, which had not been done before. During the 16th century, only an elite group of scholars, nobility, and clergymen used the printing press. The type of works that were being printed, Pettegree explains, were usually long, expensive, and in Latin. I

Luther published a 1,500-word essay in response to criticism he received for his "Ninety-Five Theses." Luther's essay was in German, the local language, instead of Latin, so that local people could read it. Furthermore, his essay was cheap to produce since it could be printed on a single sheet of paper and folded into a pamphlet. People who had never previously owned printed book could now purchase and read Luther's writings. Luther's innovative use of the printing press, Pettegree remarks, became "an instant publishing sensation."

Over the next two years, Luther printed over a hundred writings that attacked the corruption within the Catholic Church. He used the printing press to spread his ideas to a wide audience efficiently and inexpensively. Because it was so cheap to produce Luther's work, the debate of indulgences and papal power quickly spread throughout Germany. Both Luther and the printers profited from his writings as a result.

Along with his contributions to publishing, Luther became one of the first well-known writers. Before Luther published his countless essays, authors were rarely important. But because Luther was so prolific, however, his name became a selling point. As a result of his innovative use of the printing press, Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation, as well as a mass media revolution.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments