Luther was born November 10, 1483 in Eisleben in Thuringia. He was
baptized the following day in the church of Saints Peter and Paul. His
parents were Hans (ca. 1460-1530) and Margarethe Ziegler Luther
(1460-1530). He was the second of three sons, James (1481) and Jacob
(1490). He may also have had four sisters, Christine (1485), Barbara
(1490), Dorthea (1495) and Elizabeth (1517). Soon after Luther was
born the family moved from Eisleben to Mansfeld where Hans first
worked in the copper mines, and then rented a forge and began his own
Margarethe Luther by Lucas
Cranach the Elder, 1527
Martin's father had improved his social and economic position and he
had plans for his son. He received a good elementary education in
Mansfeld and then in Erfurt.
In 1501 he entered the
University of Erfurt where he received his Bachelor's degree in 1502
and his Master's in 1505. He then entered the law school, but he
withdrew almost immediately and entered the Black Monastery of the
Augustinian Hermits in Erfurt. This caused a deep rift between Martin
and his father which was not completely healed until Martin left the
order and married.
In 1506 he was ordained into the priesthood and began
the study of theology at the University of Erfurt. In 1507 he was
ordained as a priest. In 1511 he was transferred to Wittenberg. He
lived in the newly constructed Black Cloister, and was assigned to
study theology at the University of Wittenberg which had been founded
by Frederick the Wise in 1502.. In 1512 he received his Doctorate and
was admitted to the faculty of the University. He was also the priest
at the city church in Wittenberg.
Martin Luther as Doctor of
Theology by Cranach, 1521
the next three years he lectured on the Psalms, Romans and Galatians.
He was appointed the Augustinian vicar for Meissen and Thuringia, with
responsibility for eleven Augustinian monasteries.
The Black Cloister in Wittenberg