Trial Preparation

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An OHS Mock Trial

luther\'s seal

In the year of our lord 1521,

The trial of Martin Luther.

On the charge of heresy before the Diet of Worms


Uniquely restaged in Oswego, Illinois

Trial Preparation


  • Know how to run the show… control the courtroom

  • Be prepared to think on your feet

Lead Attorneys

  • Assign witnesses and closing statements

  • In charge of opening statement and cross-examination of witnesses


  • Develop at least six questions you will ask.

  • Help your witness create answers to those questions

  • Avoid closed questions (“Yes “ or “No” questions)

  • Make the witness explain the information well

  • Paragraph opinion of Martin Luther (From your character’s perspective)


  • Know your stuff

  • Work with the attorney to develop answers to the questions

  • Paragraph biography of your character

  • Your character’s opinion of Luther (should be evident on witness stand)

Bring your roles to Life!!!


Trial Leaders


Judge (Emperor Charles V)

Albrecht Durer

Pope Leo X

Prosecution Attorneys

Johann Tetzel

Led by Cardinal Cajetan


St. Augustine

Defense Attorneys

Frederick the Wise

Led by Philip Melanchthon

Pitchfork John

Henry VIII

Jury Members

John Calvin

John Huss

Sir Thomas More

Tomas de Torquemada

St. Ignatius de Loyola

Description of the Events:

“Hier stehe Ich. Kann nicht anders.”

(Here I stand. I can do no other.)
The moment Martin Luther said those words has been called one of the greatest moments in the modern history of man. Refusing to admit guilt for what he had repeatedly published over the past four years, Luther, a German monk, was directly challenging the authority and teachings of Western Christendom and the man believed by Catholics to be the human representative of God on Earth: The Pope, more specifically, Pope Leo X. Luther was doing just what his ancestors, the Goths, had done centuries before; challenging the power of Rome. But in the 16th century, Rome was not a symbol of Roman authority, but of Christ and Christianity. Luther’s words and actions would change the course of history.

In order to finance wars and entice young men to fight, the church began selling “indulgences” around the time of the Crusades. The concept behind an indulgence, as simple sealed letter, was straightforward. Anyone purchasing an indulgence would receive “complete absolution and remission of all sins”, and “preferential treatment for future sins.” Although the idea of purchasing salvation was appealing to nearly everyone, some questioned the promise the indulgence made and the uses of the money raised. Those concerns and doubts increased as popes began spending more money on art, extravagant churches (like St. Peters in Rome) and what many thought were unnecessary luxuries. The position of pope was not universally worshipped. Anti-papal feeling was high , especially in Germany, a country whose reputation in Western Europe was bolstered by the discovery of movable type by Johann Gutenberg in Mainz and by the tremendously powerful Fugger Bank. The abuses by the clergy deeply distressed some leading philosophers, like Erasmus, the Humanist. Even church leaders were critical of their own. One abbot described the behavior of his fellow monks this way:

“The whole day is spent in filthy talk; their whole time is given to play and gluttony. They neither fear nor love God, they have not thought of the life to come, preferring their fleshy lusts to the needs of the soul…They scorn the vow of poverty, know not of chastity, revile that of obedience…The smoke of their filth ascends all around.”

Another monk noted that “many convents… differ little from public brothels.” Descriptions such as these were far from rare.

Luther’s role began a day before All Saints Day, on October 31, 1517. Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. Luther’s argument was simple: selling “pardons” like souvenirs trivialized sin. He criticized the pope for claiming to be able to reach beyond the grave and “spring” soul from purgatory. Following the posting of the “Ninety-Five Theses” the sale of indulgences plunged outside of Saxony, the region surrounding Wittenberg. And word spread across Western Europe, spontaneous demonstrations for or against Luther erupted. According to one historian, “Luther had done the unthinkable- he had flouted the ruler of the universe.”

Various archbishops called for heresy proceeding against Luther to begin immediately. Meanwhile, Luther continued to publish other pamphlets, condemning everything from relics and pilgrimages to the Holy City of Rome and extravagant claims of powers of the saints. With the advent of movable type, Luther’s ideas spread quickly. His confidence grew and so did his isolation. Pope Leo X finally summoned Luther to Rome.

Heresy is defined as maintaining a religious opinion or doctrine at variance with the accepted doctrine, in this case, the doctrine of the Church. In the middle ages, heresy was considered a serious and dangerous crime. Nothing disturbed the peace as much as religious dissent and conflict. A uniform public faith was looked upon as necessary for peace and prosperity.

It is difficult for the modern mind to see religious belief as something objective… as something outside the realm of free private judgment. In the middle ages, this was not the case. Many people thought that God designated the Church as the sole authority on religious matters. If there were abuses within the Church, reform should come from within.

The Pope insisted Luther issue a public retraction and swears to never again questions papal authority. Luther flatly refused. With the help of the German King Frederick the Wise, Luther escaped Rome and when he returned to Wittenberg, he recorded his encounter with the Pope. The more Luther wrote, the more the Pope knew something had to be done. The pope issued a Papal Bull (called so because it carried the papal symbol, a bull) excommunicating Luther. Luther burned the papal bull, claiming if the Church was burning his writings, he would burn theirs.

Although Pope Leo reacted slowly to Luther from the beginning (Leo was deeply distressed over the recent death of his favorite artist, Raphael), Luther was called before the Imperial Diet of Worms in April 1521. Many believe the birth of the modern world followed.

Procedures for the Trial

The trial will begin with the lead attorneys for both sides (Cardinal Cajetan and Philip Melanchthon) issuing Opening Statements. The Opening Statements presents the respective opinions of the prosecution or defense in the case. The Opening Statements are brief (2-3 minutes) yet give sufficient background information previewing what the jury will see and hear from their side during the trial. The Opening Statement can also be used as an opportunity to discredit the opposition.

Four (4) attorneys from each side will be responsible for questioning witnesses. They will need to write up a list of six (6) questions that reflect both their side in the case and their knowledge of the witness. Those attorneys will determine in advance who they will question. It is permissible to work with witnesses before the trial. You may also question a witness you hope to discredit by questioning his or her knowledge or reasoning. Each side will choose four (4) witnesses at the end of the workday. Witnesses who are selected will become members of the jury.
After the attorney finishes questioning a witness, the opponents, as a team, may cross-examine that witness. They are limited to two (2) questions. Following the questioning period, one attorney from both sides will issue a Closing Statement. Closing Statements summarize the case presented and reinforce to the jury the position of the prosecution or defense. Closing Statements refer to specific events in the trial (like a response by a certain witness). The two attorney need to keep good notes during the proceedings to ensure the Closing Statement accurately reflects the trial.
The Judge, Emperor Charles V, is solely responsible for controlling the courtroom, ensuring the proper order of events is followed (by calling attorneys to make statements, or calling witnesses to the stand and swearing them in) and responding appropriately to objections from the attorneys. The Judge needs to read and take notes on the Witness Information Sheets prior to the trial and know the procedures of the trial.
Witnesses need to work with attorney that will question them and need to know their information in order to answer questions accurately. Information can be gathered on the work day. Witnesses and attorneys also need to work together to determine what evidence needs to be introduced at the trial to help their case. Evidence will need to be brought to the trial on the trial date.
Jury members will be responsible for determining the outcome of the cased based on the evidence presented. Solid notes during the case are critical.
Emperor Charles V

Emperor Charles V, formally Carlos I of Spain, was elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1519 after the death of Maximilian and in the heat of the battle between Martin Luther and the Pope. While the conflict between the Pope and Luther certainly concerned him, Charles was more obsessed with the “Turkish menace.” He deeply feared the Holy Roman Empire would fall to invaders from the East. Although his loyalties to the Pope are crystal clear (a legacy of Charlemagne, of course), Charles was deeply indebted (financially) to the powerful German Fugger Bank. Through numerous bribes, Charles literally bough the holy emperor’s throne with borrowed money.!emperor_charles_v.png

Cardinal Cajetan

Cardinal Cajetan, acting under the authority of Pope Leo X, was familiar with Martin Luther prior to the Diet of Worms. Three years earlier, the Pope sent Cajetan, who had a formidable intellectual reputation, to either secure reconciliation from Luther, or if he would not recant, bring him “bound to Rome”. To Cajetan, the only issue to be settled was not one of guilt or innocence, but that of the sentence to be handed to Luther. From the beginning, Cajetan and Luther were at odds with another, arguing sometimes over grammar and word usage rather than the real issues of faith and papal “abuses”.

Philip Melanchthon

Philip Melanchthon, only 22 years of age, was the most articulate defender of Martin Luther. Like Luther, Melanchthon was on the faculty at Wittenberg and had already begun to gain a scholarly reputation in Europe. Melanchthon, who walked with a hitch in his shoulder, once was described by his colleague Luther as a “scrawny shrimp”. But what he lacked in size, Melanchthon clearly made up for in the academic arena. His friendship with Erasmus, with whom Luther quarreled, was of incredible value.

Frederick the Wise

Although of the nobility, Frederick of Saxony, an elector of the Holy Roman Emperor, was not unlike other that lived and worked in that region of Germany. He resented the huge amounts of money that was “taken” from Germany (in the forms of donations and indulgence receipts) and sent to Rome. Frederick himself was a compulsive collector of relics from the Holy Land. Included in his collection of nearly 20,000 relics were the (supposed) threads of Mary and Joseph’s clothing, bits of the Holy cradle and the remains of infants slaughtered by ancient kings. When Pope Leo X decided to announce another indulgence-selling campaign to finance the completion of St. Peter’s, he wanted to concentrate his new sales campaign on a region that was giving him trouble, Germany. Frederick drew the line. He barred Johann Tetzel, the Pope’s master salesman, from selling the new indulgences in Saxony. Frederick was rumored to have supported the reforms proposed by Luther, but he never did so on record. He did, however, ensure that Luther was tried in Germany (at Worms) and not in Rome, where the favored punishment of burning at the stake was a much more likely outcome.

Pope Leo X

“God has given us the Papacy. Let us enjoy it.”

Some doubt that Giovanni de Medici, who became Pope Leo X in 1513, ever wrote those words, though they are credited to him. Authentic or not, they are perfectly characteristic of the papacy of Leo. Leo was short, fat, flabby and adorned on his hands were sparkling ring on nearly every finger. Contrasting the blood and wars of Julius II, Leo, in typical Medici fashion, turned everything, even the most trivial ceremony, into a lavish affair, including fireworks, cavalries of white horses and golden tapestries to record the occasion. His ruling principle was simple: avoid trouble as far as he could and then accept the inevitable only when he had to. Everyone, it seemed, except Leo, knew dissent was brewing in some form as soon as he took the position of Pope. In 1515, Italian historian Francesco Guicciardini wrote, “Reverence for the Papacy has been lost in the hearts of men.” Leo’s reign as pope called the “Golden Age” not because of the great things done but because of the amount of golden coins that flooded in and out of Rome from indulgences and commissions. For example, Leo once had a 120 mile road specially built to take marble to a chapel Michelangelo was working on that would hold the tomb of Leo after his passing. He was also fond of Raphael, who replaced Pope Julius II’s architect, Bramante. Raphael’s most important duty was to oversee the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome, a “true house of God,” according to Julius. (At this time, Michelangelo was working on the sculptures, like Moses, that would be part of Julius’ tomb and be placed in the nave of St. Peter’s, under the dome.) In order to finance this massive project, Pope Leo initiated a huge indulgence-selling campaign in and around a particularly rebellious region, Germany. He broadened the scope of the indulgence to include not only the forgiveness of sins for those on Earth, but also for those who have already passed. Many were convinced they needed to buy indulgences to ensure that relatives that passed before them were not living a life of eternal damnation. It is estimated that during his term as Pope, Leo spent six times the money collected. When he passed his legacy had caught up with him. At his funeral, one observer noted that the only candle to be found to light the inside of Leo’s coffin was a stub of wax leftover from the funeral of a cardinal the week earlier.
Henry VIII, King of England (1491-1547)

Henry VIII was King of England in the 1500’s. In response to Protestants in England, he wrote Assertion of the Seven Sacraments against Martin Luther. Henry wrote, “What a great limb of the devil he is, endeavoring to tear the Christian members of Christ from their head!” Henry thought that no punishment was too much for Luther because “the whole Church is subject not only to Christ but… to Christ’s only vicar, the Pope of Rome.” Pope Leo X gave Henry the title “Defender of the Faith” for writing this book. Luther responded in 1525 by calling Henry a “lubbery ass” and that “fanatic madman… that King of Lies, King Heinz, by God’s disgrace King of England…”

The Defender of the Faith eventually changed his mind about the Church and the Pope. Henry’s first wife could not give him a male heir and the Pope denied Henry’s request to have his marriage annulled. Henry’s solution to this problem was to separate the English Church from Rome. Henry declared himself to be the head of the Church of England, and therefore, became a Protestant himself. His search for a male heir led him to marry five more times before he died. Despite Luther’s later apology, Henry never forgave his fellow Protestant for his earlier remarks.
Johann Tetzel

Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, was the Pope’s master salesman. Tetzel travelled from village to village with a brass-bound chest, a bag of printed receipts and an enormous cross draped with the papal banner. His entrance into the town square, with the papal bull announcing the indulgences on a velvet cushion, was heralded with bells, candles, flags and relics. Staging his show in the nave of the local church, Tetzel would announce, “I have here the passports… to lead the human soul to the celestial joys of paradise. The Hold Father (the Pope) has the power in heaven and earth to forgive sin, and if he forgives it, God must do so also.” The cost of the indulgence, Tetzel was quick to point out, was cheap when the alternatives were taken into account. Among the demons and tempests in the medieval world , the indulgence, no matter the price, offered a glimpse of light in a world of darkness. In Germany, Tetzel exceeded his quota, as he always did. Indulgences were most popular among the peasants, yet it also hit them the hardest; they had the least money to spare. Tetzel’s indulgence selling campaign led Martin Luther to act on the frustrations that were consuming his thoughts. When Luther posted his “Ninety-five Theses” the sale of indulgences dropped considerably. Tetzel, like Pope Leo X, underestimated the power of the monk of Wittenberg.


It would seem by his writing that Erasmus, one of the most well known people in Western Europe in the early part of the 16th century, would have welcomed the Reformation. Consider the views expressed in his most famous work, “The Praise of Folly.” He ridiculed popes, bishops and cardinals, claiming they are “highly in love with themselves.” He called the monastic orders “brainsick fools” who have very little religion in them. He says of Popes, “their only weapon ought to be those of the Spirit.” Later, Erasmus wrote a satire that described the failure of Julius II to get into heaven. Summarizing his feelings, he wrote in a private letter that, “The monarchy of Rome, as it is now, is a pestilence to Christendom.” As a consequence, any teacher using the writings of Erasmus in the classroom was subject to execution on the spot, by order of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian. But just as Michelangelo and other artists were dependent on the Church for support (money, housing, food, etc…), so was Erasmus. It would seem Erasmus was biting the hand that fed him. But he took it on the condition that he would remain an intellectual independent. Erasmus invested heavily in the power of logic. He believed every problem should be studied, researched, debated and discussed. Despite his “fame” (if such a thing could exist in the 1500’s), he was not someone who wished the attention of anyone else. Yet when Luther sent waves across Europe with his Ninety-Five Theses, many critics charged Erasmus with inciting “heresy”. Erasmus wrote to Luther, “I have testified to them (the critics) that you are entirely unknown to me, that I have not read your books, and neither approve or disapprove of your writings, but that they (the critics) should read them before they speak so loudly… It was not use; they are as mad as ever…I am myself the chief object of animosity.” Luther scorned Erasmus in his reply, writing Erasmus as a dreamer who “thinks that all can be accomplished with civility and benevolence.”

John Calvin

“For we are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is fore-ordained for some, and eternal damnation for others…”

John Calvin was born in Noyon in northwestern France. Although he had originally intended to have an ecclesiastical career, Calvin studied law, which had a decisive impact on his thought. In 1541 he accepted an invitation to assist in the reformation of the city of Geneva. In the reformation of the city, Calvin and other reformers set up the Genevan Consistory which consisted of twelve laymen, plus the Company of Pastors of which Calvin was the permanent moderator. The duties of the Consistory were “to keep watch over everyman’s life and to admonish those whom they see leading a disorderly life.” Austere living, public fasting, and evening curfew became the order of the day. The reformed church of Calvin called for hard, well done work, completed for the glory of God. Calvin’s ideas were embodied in The Institute of the Christian Religion. Calvin did not ascribe free will to human beings, because that would detract from the sovereignty of God. Men and women cannot actively work to achieve salvation; rather, God in his infinite wisdom decided at the beginning of time who would be saved and who would be damned. Calvin maintained that while individuals cannot know whether they will be saved- and the probability is that they will be damned- good works are a “sign” of election. In any case, people should concentrate on worshipping God and doing His work and not waste time worrying about salvation.
John Huss “To rebel against an erring Pope is to obey Christ.”

He began life in the village of Husinetz, Czechoslovakia. He attended university in Prague, where he earned his living serving in the churches. The opinions of Wyclif had won much praise in the University of Prague. In 1396 he received his Master of Arts degree, and began to teach at the university. In 1401 he was chosen dean of the faculty of arts. In that year he was ordained a priest, and reformed his life to an almost monastic austerity. Many figure high in the court were among his listeners, and Queen Sofia made him her chaplain. He preached in Czech, and taught his congregation to take an active part in the service by singing hymns. In 1411, the Pope, desiring funds for a crusade against Ladislas, King of Naples, announced a new offering of indulgences. Huss publicly preached against indulgences, questioned the existence of purgatory, and protested against the church for collecting money to spill Christian blood. He defined the Church neither as the clergy nor as the whole body of Christians, but as the totality, in heaven or on earth, of the saved. Christ, not the pope, is the head of the Church; the Bible, not the pope, should be the Christian’s guide. He was arrested, convicted and executed as a heretic.

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)

Sir Thomas More was heavily influenced by his friend Erasmus. More was a humanist in his own right. In his most famous book Utopia, More described a perfect society. More’s society included socialism and some religious toleration, obviously very radical ideas for his time. More was also critical of the Church. However, like Erasmus, More believed in reforming the Church from within. More’s death proved his loyalty to the Church. Trained as a lawyer, More was an important politician in the court of Henry VIII. Contrary to Church doctrine and the Pope, Henry wanted to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. When More refused to approve the marriage, Henry had him executed. Just before More had his head chopped off, he told the spectators that he “suffered death in and for faith of the Holy Catholic Church.”

He also said, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

And he said the following about the Protestants- “And who be now more properly such dogs than be those heretics that bark against the blessed sacraments.”

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, whose influence on Christianity, according to many, was only exceeded by the apostle Paul, was born 354 and died during a siege in North Africa in 430. Despite preaching nearly every day, St. Augustine always found time for his writing. For a 13 year stretch, from 413-426, he penned his most famous and influential work, “De civitate Dei” (“The City of God”), which dealt with the degree of Christian responsibility for the sack of Rome, the “eternal city” in 410. “The City of God” was the first great work to shape and define the medieval mind. Augustine began by declaring that Rome was being punished, not for her new faith, but for her old continuing sins: lavish acts by the populace and corruption among the politicians. Much of his descriptions were from personal experience. Augustine spent most of his youth “exploring depths of carnal depravity.” But, he wrote, original sin had been committed by Adam when he yielded to Eve’s temptations. As children of Adam, Augustine wrote all mankind shared Adam’s guilt. Lust polluted every child of God. In his writings, Augustine demanded “purity, chastity, and absolute fidelity among husbands and wives.” He wrote, “Mankind is divided into two sorts: such as live according to man, and such as live according to God. These we mystically call the two cities or societies, the one predestined to reign eternally with God, the other condemned to perpetual torment with Satan.” Augustine identified the need for a theocracy, a type of government where the power would be derived from the spiritual powers of God.

Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer could have been to the Reformation what Da Vinci and Michelangelo were to the Renaissance had his life not been cut short by an ill-advised journey to document a beached whale (he died trying to reach the whale; ironically, by the time he would have arrived, the whale would have been badly decomposed). He was the son of a distinguished master-goldsmith who had come from Hungary as a boy and settled in the flourishing city of Nuremberg. He showed early in life an astonishing gift for drawing and woodcut. He was incredibly curious, collecting and documenting thousands of items that would lay the foundation for future museums. Durer commonly drew his vision of apocalyptic events, filled with grotesque figures, described in the book of Revelation. The public related closely with his work; man though the end of the world, a climactic battle between Good and Evil, would happen during their lifetime. Durer, above all, was a great experimenter. He saw himself as a reformer of art in his home country of Germany. He experimented with shapes and proportions in nearly every work he produced. He also drew, with exacting detail, grasses, flowers, and animal life. He was fascinated with nature. As time went on, his woodcuts and watercolors were not nearly as magical and symbolic, as they were accurate and factual. When word came to Durer that a country man of his, Martin Luther, was preaching that man was saved by “faith alone”, Durer described Luther as “the Christian man who has helped me out of a great anxiety.” Durer often referred to the writings of Erasmus for inspiration and guidance.

Pitchfork John

Selling the idea of “faith alone” was a difficult task, especially if the customer was a peasant whose world was composed of a smorgasbord of Christian virtue and medieval menaces. To the German peasant (or any peasant for that matter) death lurked behind every corner, just as the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer had so passionately illustrated. Pitchfork John would have had a difficult time understanding the theology behind Luther’s teachings, but there is one thing he would have embraced: the disgust for the Pope. The simple fact of money leaving Germany for a church in Rome outraged many people. What it was spent on once it got there did not help either. And the deviant behavior of many men and women of the church was well known. Since the existence of peasants was so delicate, their livelihood dependent on nearly everything outside their control, the emotions of people like Pitchfork John ran high.

Tomas de Torquemada

Torquemada was the first Grand Inquisition of Spain. When he was quite young, he entered a Dominican monastery. He rose in the ranks and eventually became one of Queen Isabella’s most trusted and influential advisors. He refused all offers of high ecclesiastical offices, however, and remained a simple friar. During Torquemada’s lifetime, Spain’s leaders feared that the Catholic Church was in danger from the Marranos and Moriscos, Jews and Muslims who had converted to Christianity. The Inquisition was set up to discover anyone who secretly practiced their old religion. The Spanish Inquisition was highly successful. Even today, Catholicism is Spain’s dominant religion. Torquemada was well known for his cruelty. According to some accounts, almost 9000 people were burnt at the stake. Many historians disagree, however, putting the number at closer to 2000. To many of his contemporaries, Torquemada would have been a hero. Remember, heresy was considered dangerous to society. In the words of contemporary chronicler, Sebastian de Olmedo, Torquemada was “the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the savior of his country, the honor of his order.” Preserving Catholic Spain was considered a sacred duty.

St. Ignatius Loyola

Loyola was the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit order. As a youth, he led a dissipated existence, more concerned about his looks and other material things, than about spiritual issues. After a cannon ball wounded him in 1521, he underwent a conversion. By the time he recovered, he would only focus on spiritual things. Loyola was brought up before the Court of the Inquisition on numerous occasions. Whenever he was accused of unorthodox beliefs, he insisted that the court deliver a sentence. In 1537, Loyola went to the Pope to offer him the services of himself and his followers. His offer was not approved until 1540, when the Society of Jesus became an official institution, sanctioned by the Church. The Jesuits tried to live a life with Christ as their role model. The specialized in education for youth of all classes. Their mission is and was to do the bidding of the Pope. During his lifetime, Loyola spoke bout against heretics on many occasions.

Martin Luther

“I despise the pope, the Church and the Councils, and I worship only Christ.”

The son of devoutly Catholic and extremely strict parents, young Luther was a product of Christian mythology. During his childhood Luther believed the winds and water were inhabited by elves, gnomes, fairies, mermaids, spirits and witches. Luther was taught by his mother that these people played minor pranks like stealing eggs, milk and butter. School taught him to fear God and revere the Church. But in 1505, Luther’s devotion will take on new meaning. On the outskirts of a Saxon village, Luther was knocked to the ground by a bolt of lightning that nearly struck him. He cried in terror, “St. Anne (the patroness of miners) help me! I will become a monk!” Although he would later become famous for denouncing those he asked that night to help him, Luther did follow through on his promise. For nearly a decade, Luther read, researched and lectured on the Scriptures. Near the end of that time, Luther came up with his views concerning the power of faith. This new revelation occurred not in a field during a dramatic storm but in a castle tower while performing “the most mundane of daily tasks.” Faith alone, Luther concluded, was what guaranteed salvation, not simply “good works of Earth” and certainly not indulgences sold by Johann Tetzel. What Luther found in scripture, specifically the book of Psalm, contradicted what he saw happening to the Church. Luther wrote, “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems a …number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?” Luther set forth his arguments in his “Ninety-Five Theses” and other writings that followed. After a series of pamphlets in response to a Papal Bull calling for Luther to recant, Pope Leo X admitted that a “wild boar had invaded the Lord’s vineyard.” Luther burned the Papal Bull excommunicating him. Calls for charges of heresy echoed louder throughout the church hierarchy.

Bianton, Roland H., “Here I Stand: The Life of Martin Luther,” Meridian Publishing, New York, 1955.

Clark, Kenneth, “Civilization,” Harper and Row, New York 1969.

Fulbrook, Mary, “A Concise History of Germany,” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992.

Gombrich, E.H., “The Story of Art,” 16th edition, Phaidon Press Limited, London, 1995.

Gritsch, Eric W., “Lutheranism,” Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1994.

Manchester, William, “A World Lit only by Fire,” Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1993.

Russel, Betrand, “A History of Western Philosophy,” Simon and Schuster, New York, 1945

Tuchman, Barbara W., “The March of Folly,” Ballantine Books, New York, 1984

Luther Trial- Assignments and Preparation

(Use at least two outside sources and complete a work cited page)


-Know how to run the show- control the courtroom and rule on objections

-Writing component:

-Choose the four most important witnesses to the case

-Why would you choose them?

-How would you approach the trial?

-Critique the trial? (What went well and what did not)

-Lead your team in choosing FOUR witnesses and assigning each to an attorney.

-Writing Component:

-Opening (Closing) Statement (highlight key points)

-Two cross examination questions for each witness (Each has 2 witnesses)

-Your opinion of Martin Luther

-Critique the trial (Why did you do better/worse than opposition)

-Develop SIX questions you will ask your witness

-Writing Component:

-Your questions and what was the purpose/reasoning for asking them

-What was your overall strategy of questioning?

-Critique the trial (Why did you do better/worse than opposition)


-Know your stuff (You will not know cross-examination questions)

-Work with attorney to develop questions and answers
-Writing Component

-Your answers to your questions

-Your opinion of Luther

-What is your weakness that the opposing side can exploit?


-Listen and take notes during the trial

-Decide if Martin Luther is guilty of heresy
-Writing Component:

-What four witnesses would you choose? Why?

-Did you vote guilty or innocent? Why?

-Critique the trial (who did well and who did not)

-Your figure’s opinion of Martin Luther

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