Edict of Worms

Document: The Edict of Worms 1521
The Edict of Worms, 1521, title page
Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Leipzig

Edict of Worms

Martin Luther’s writings are condemned, 1521

We forbid anyone, upon the penalties contained herein, to print or have printed, or affirm or defend the books, writings, or opinions of the said Martin Luther. This applies also to all those writings condemned by our Holy Father the pope…

From the Edict of Worms, 1521

After Martin Luther refused to retract the ideas of his heretical writings at the Diet of Worms, he was issued with an imperial ban and thus declared an outlaw. The imperial decree of May 8, 1521 forbid the teaching and distribution of his printed works and future writings.

On June 12, 1521 an effigy of the reformer and a copies of his books were burned on a ceremonial bonfire. Luther’s complete body of work, including his translation of the Bible, were entered into the Index librorum prohibitorum as banned works of literature. However Luther’s ideas and the momentum of the reformation could not be held back.