Today in History: Oct. 31

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”—Martin Luther, Ninety-five Theses

Martin Luther, a university professor and preacher, sent a long list of propositions to his archbishop against the common practice of selling indulgences—certificates guaranteeing a reduction in suffering in the afterlife for sins committed in this life—on this date in 1517. The Protestant Reformation is considered to have started 499 years ago today.

Legend has it that Luther nailed the document to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg on this date, but there is no evidence that he did so. He may have posted the document on the door, which was a common place to post important papers, in mid-November that year, as citizens in Wittenberg were starting to discuss the Ninety-five Theses without having the argument in front of them.

By the 1520s, Luther himself viewed October 31, 1517, as an important date, as the beginning of a re-birth of faith.

* * * *
Today is Halloween.

* * * *
Harry Houdini died 90 years ago today.

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John Keats was born on this date in 1795. Michael Landon was born 80 years ago today. John Candy was born on this date in 1950. “The world is a mess and there’s sweet diddly you can do about it. My only advice to you is, when everything gets you down, you get up … and MAMBO …”:

Lee Grant is 89 today. Dan Rather is 85. Tom Paxton is 79. Ron Rifkin is 77. David Ogden Stiers is 74. Sally Kirkland is 72. Brian Doyle-Murray is 71 today. Stephen Rea is 70. Deidre Hall is 69. Jane Pauley is 66. Brian Stokes Mitchell is 59. Neal Stephenson is 57. Larry Mullen, Jr. is 55. Peter Jackson is 55. Rob Schneider is 53. Dermot Mulroney is 53. Ad-Rock is 50 today. Vanilla Ice is 49. Piper Perabo is 40 today.

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One comment

  1. loisajay · October 31, 2016

    Dermot Mulroney….I watched his new TV show last week. Not realistic, but highly entertaining, I thought. The TV critics panned it terribly. Happy Birthday, Dermot. Enjoy it; I think your show will be pulled.


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