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Luther Legends and Anecdotes
The times Luther lived in
The world in 1500
Important Inventions
Changes in the World View
Politics in the Empire
Luther and the German language
Luther's relationship with the Jews
The (political) world after 1546
Luther - demon or hero
Luther Time-line
People in Luther's environment
Seminars, Liturature, Internet

Piety and the End of the World

Der Ständebaum The upheavals and changes related to the discoveries and inventions which occured during Luther's lifetime, filled the common folk with incredible fear and anxiety. This period represents the transition between the Middle Ages and the Modern Ages.

Fraternities, brotherhoods and traveling pastors who predicted the end of the world (for example: Pastor Michael Stifel) were very popular among the peasant folk.

A larger cult of relic worshippers and a growing number of pilgrimages were also characteristic of the time.

At the same time, other problems plagued society. The large population growth of the 15th century as well as the 'escape' of many from the countryside to the cities ensured a shortage of food and employment. Threats of war and recurring epidemics also contributed to the fears and anxieties.

Luther was born into a time characterized by radical changes and great tension.

Copernicus' View of the World

The old picture of the world in 1450Copernicus' picture of the world

(geocentric view of the world)

Die Erde als Scheibe

  • the earth is a disk
  • the sun, stars and moon are each on wheels
  • the earth is the middle point among all stars
  • the earth is enclosed within a bell shape

(heliocentric view of the world)


  • the earth is a ball
  • the earth is neither surrounded by a bell shape, nor is it the middle of the universe
  • the sun is a fixed star as well as the life-giving center of the universe
  • stars, planets and moons rotate on different tracks around the sun
Copyright(c) KDG Wittenberg 1997
Copyright(c) KDG Wittenberg 1997