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Propositions for debate on the question of indulgences, written by Martin Luther and, according to legend, posted on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Ger., on Oct. 31, 1517. This event is now seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The theses were written in response to the selling of indulgences to pay for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. They represented an implicit criticism of papal policy and stressed the spiritual, inward character of the Christian faith. Widely circulated, they aroused much controversy. In 1518 Luther published a Latin manuscript with explanations of the theses.
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