Martin Luther (1483–1546).
De captivitate Babylonica ecclesiae, praelidium.
Wittenberg: Melchior Lotter, the Younger, 1520.
In his “Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” Luther again attacked the papacy and specifically confronted the sacramental system of the Roman Church that controlled the lives of its adherents from birth through death. Based on his interpretation of the Bible, of the seven sacraments Luther accepted only the validity of baptism and the Eucharist. Considering the Lord’s Supper, Luther also criticized the Roman practice of withholding the wine from the laity in the Eucharist and the doctrine of transubstantiation. Contrary to many of the essential tenets of the Roman Church, this treatise was Luther’s most critical attack on the institution to date. His theological and philosophical split with the established Church was complete.