Fortress Press

Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses: With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide

Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses

With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide

Timothy J. Wengert (Author)


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By almost any reckoning, the Ninety-Five Theses ranks as the most important text of the Reformation, if not in substance at least in impact. As the anniversary of its posting on the church door in Wittenberg approaches, what better way to remember and recognize the occasion than to make this important text more easily understood by twenty-first-century readers?

Timothy J. Wengert, one of the best-known interpreters of Luther and Lutheranism active today, sets his newly translated Ninety-Five Theses in its historical context with a detailed introduction and illuminating study notes. To help the reader understand the context and the import of the Ninety-Five Theses more deeply, Wengert provides two more related and essential documents: Luther’s Letter to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz (to which he appended a copy of the Theses) and Luther’s 1518 Sermon on Indulgences and Grace (written to inform the German-speaking public of his view of indulgences).

The book is simply constructed with introductions and notes for each of the writings, as well as a study guide with questions for individual or group reflection and conversation.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451482799
  • eBook ISBN 9781506401942
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 102
  • Publication Date December 1, 2015


1. Introduction: Luther’s First Reformation Writings
2. Ninety-Five Theses
3. Letter to Albrecht
4. Sermon on Indulgences and Grace
Study Guide
For Further Reading


"This is a much needed and very timely book! While the fact is widely known that Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses on indulgences were the beginning of the Reformation, only very few Protestants are familiar with their content. Wengert offers a fascinating introduction into the theological background of the Theses; his comments on the Theses and two connected documents allow the contemporary reader to understand the theological debate of that time."

Theodor Dieter | director, Institute of Ecumenical Research

"As the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses on indulgences nears, fresh attention has focused on the historical context and lasting significance of this attempt to foster scholarly debate. Wengert acquaints readers with the latest scholarship on the document, highlighting the various aspects of its text and context in such a way as to make it accessible to professors, pastors, and people interested in history and theology of all kinds."

Robert Kolb | emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis

"Timothy Wengert has prepared a most helpful volume for 21st Century readers who wish to re-explore the heart of the Lutheran tradition by returning to Luther's original work and vision. What better way to assess and define Lutheran identity and theology for the new world, than starting with Luther’s first reformation treatises that effectively instigated an avalanche! Wengert's expert translations, engaging introductions, study guides, and annotations promise to equip new voices for the Lutheran church of the future."

Kirsi I Stjerna | Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

"This small volume is a valuable new introduction to the ideas and writings that sparked the Reformation. Wengert's fresh translations are accompanied by detailed historical background, clear theological explanation, and questions for further reflection. Wengert highlights Luther’s pastoral concerns about indulgences and, in doing so, witnesses to his own pastoral concerns for the church today."

Kathryn A. Kleinhans | Wartburg College