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His mother, Margaret Ziegler, is spoken of by Melancthon as conspicuous for "modesty, the fear of God, and prayerfulness" ("Corpus Reformatorum", Halle, 1834).
Extreme simplicity and inflexible severity characterized their home life, so that the joys of childhood were virtully unknown to him.
Luther addresses him in a letter (1518) as not only "the first theologian and philosopher ", but also the first of contemporary dialecticians.
Usingen was an Augustinian friar, and second only to Trutvetter in learning, but surpassing him in literary productivity.
The metaphysical disquisitions, psychological dissertations, pietistic maunderings about his interior conflicts, his theological wrestlings, his torturing asceticism, his chafing under monastic conditions, can have little more than an academic, possibly a psychopathic value. Unfortunately Luther himself in his self-revelation can hardly be taken as a safe guide.cit.), or Luther's assertion that he had "never seen a Bible until he was twenty years of age", or his still more emphatic declaration that when Carlstadt was promoted to the doctorate "he had as yet never seen a Bible and I alone in the Erfurt monastery read the Bible ", which, taken in their literal sense, are not only contrary to demonstrable facts, but have perpetuated misconception, bear the stamp of improbability written in such obtrusive characters on their face, that it is hard, on an honest assumption, to account for their longevity. Parenthetical mention must be made of the fact that the denunciation heaped on Luther's novice-master by Mathesius, Ratzeberger, and Jurgens, and copied with uncritical docility by their transcribers -- for subjecting him to the most abject menial duties and treating him with outrageous indignity -- rests on no evidence.The Augustinian rule lays especial stress on the monition that the novice "read the Scripture assiduously, hear it devoutly, and learn it fervently" (Constitutiones Ordinis Fratr. These writers are "evidently led by hearsay, and follow the legendary stories that have been spun about the person of the reformer" (Oerger, , 80). A strange oversight, running through three centuries, placed the date of his ordination and first Mass on the same day, 2 May, an impossible coincidence.We have no direct contemporary evidence on which to rely; while Luther's own reminiscences, on which we chiefly depend, are necessarily coloured by his later experiences and feelings" (Beard, , 146).Of Luther's monastic life we have little authentic information, and that is based on his own utterances, which his own biographers frankly admit are highly exaggerated, frequently contradictory, and commonly misleading.