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Soren Kierkegaard was the originator of existentialism and a central figure in Western philosophy having contributed to the philosophy of ethics and religion. His talent for delivering superbly poetic yet complex writings e. Rather importantly in Kierkegaard's case, the author has described the relationship that the philosopher had between life and work. Furthermore, the book analyses the philosophical challenges created by Kierkegaard's 'direct' and 'indirect' forms of communication; considers Kierkegaard's important critique of Hegel; opens up his ideas on subjectivity and truth; and provides illuminating commentaries on both Fear and Trembling and Philosophical Fragments.
As you spend time inside and as your eyes adjust, the true glory that surrounds you slowly comes into view. The windows now explode with color and the arches seem to stretch to the heavens themselves. As I sat there that day, I thought of Cologne Cathedral. It is massive and dark and looms over the city of Cologne and the Rhein River. Inside, however, it is one of the most beautiful and splendid cathedrals I have ever been into. I have always thought that this image of a theologian as a cathedral is a wonderful image for any theologian of some complexity and depth.
Each and every theologian has a particular way of thinking and writing that take some time to appreciate and understand. Those shad- ows take much longer to investigate and understand. I hope that this book can serve as an initial tour of the cathedral-like theology of Martin Luther. Luther is much like the Cologne Cathedral.
He tow- ers over Protestantism and Protestant thought like no other theolo- gian. As one approaches his theology and his writings, one can begin to feel particularly small. The complete collection of his writings, bible commentaries, and sayings runs nearly large volumes. That amount of literature can give even the seasoned reader of theology weak knees. It does not have to be so, however. This book is designed to help you navigate those themes and patterns.
It is my hope that as you begin to explore Luther, your eyes will adjust to the light within his thought. There are many magnificent windows and some dark corners as well. Both the brilliance of the windows and the darkness of the corners are part of who Luther was and we cannot be fair either to history or to his theology if we cast our focus on only one aspect of his life and thought and ignore the other.
We will begin our tour of cathedral of his thought by looking at the world into which he was born and then at his life. We will then look at some of the most important aspects of his theology, including jus- tification, the law and the gospel, and his understanding of the human will. In trying to explain and understand those dim corners, it is my hope that I have been both fair and equi- table to both Luther and to those he wrote about and against.
As with any great cathedral, one visit is simply not enough to truly appreciate all that it has to offer. In each chapter you will find other resources to deepen your understanding of Luther. The best place, of course, to begin to understand Luther is to read him. Luther was not a purely academic theologian. His was an active and pastoral theologian. He wrote about life and to people.
In this way, he can be immensely approachable and sometimes frustrating because he, like the rest of us, is not always consistent and he some- times contradicts himself. All of this makes him all the more interest- ing and fascinating. This book is dedicated to my wife Laurel, who is sometimes bemusedly perplexed by the amount of time that I spend working on Martin Luther. She is my Katherina von Bora. Luther married in and that relationship transformed his life for the better. My life is made better daily because of Laurel. Philipp Melanchthon penned the words beneath an ink drawing of Martin Luther in Luther was 63 when he died and those 63 years would have been some of the most dramatic in European history even without him.
Columbus sailed the Atlantic the year he turned 9. That same year, Ferdinand and Isabella completed their expulsion of Muslim rule in Iberia.
In , as Luther set off for university, Michelangelo began carving David. A few years later, when Luther journeyed to Rome, if he had wanted to he could have watched Michelangelo working on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. As Luther penned the three great treatises of , Suleiman the Magnificent ascended to the throne of the Ottoman Empire. Just a few years before Luther died, Nicolaus Copernicus began his own revolution when he published De revolutionibus orbium caelestium On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres Despite all these other great accomplishments in art, literature, and science, when historians discussed the sixteenth century even a generation ago, Martin Luther stood above all the rest.
He was the titan figure of the sixteenth century. And it is certainly true that in the year he died, his death was understood then and remains today the most important event of that year. His dominance of the sixteenth century is no longer quite so monolithic.
He was affected by his times just as much as he affected them. In this first chapter, we seek to understand the world in which Luther lived. To understand the man, one must also understand his times. On the one hand, the papacy and Roman curia were corrupt institutions; largely governed by men more concerned with courtly life than church leadership. On the other hand, most people were deeply connected to their faith and popular acts of piety were widespread. The theological scene is similarly confusing. Theologians of the day debated the questions of authority, free will, and the significance of metaphysics to theology.
Meanwhile, theologians and laity whether highborn or low lived in a world animated by portents of good and evil, witches and hexes, saints and protective prayers. At times, his writing engages in theological discourse of the highest order—for instance, his debate with Erasmus on the free will. At other times, his theology is deeply personal and applicable to daily life.
Despite the paradoxes of late medieval church life, there were also a number of widespread commonalities. The calls for reform by John Wyclif d. Wyclif was an English theologian and professor at Oxford University. He was one of the earliest translators of the Bible into English. In , he began work on his treatise De Dominio.
This is an introductory guide to Process Theology for undergraduates. As part of Contiuum's 'Guide for the Perplexed' series, this text provides an accessible. This is an introductory guide to Process Theology for undergraduates. As part of Contiuum's 'Guide for the Perplexed' series, this text provides an.
Five years later, he followed Dominio with the treatise De ecclesia. In Dominio On Lordship , Wyclif argues that the right to rule whether civil or ecclesiastical is given directly by God to the lord or prelate. In De eccle- sia On the Church , he argues that because scripture does not give the church the right to hold property or wield power, it must set them down.
Further, rather than focus on protecting special rights and privileges for themselves, priests should focus their attention on preaching, teaching the faith, and reforming their parishes. Prelates likewise must serve their people and not seek to be served. Jan Hus, a professor in Prague, found in Wyclif a theological mentor. Unlike Wyclif, however, Hus did not have the unflinching support of the crown.
When the church summoned him to appear before the Council of Constance in , Hus naturally feared for his life. Surprisingly however, he was guar- anteed safe-conduct to the Council by the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund. His welfare ensured; he traveled to Constance to defend his theology. When he arrived, he did not find a discussion but a trial. Found guilty of heresy, he was handed over to civil authorities and— despite his safe-conduct pledge—was burned at the stake.
Sigismund claimed that he did not need to honor a pledge given to a heretic. Not all calls for reform ended at the stake, however. One of the more successful late medieval reform movements took place within monastic orders. All monastic orders have a foundational set of rules or governing principles. The Observant Movement called on monasteries to return to stricter observance of their found- ing principles. Martin Luther joined an observant monastery in Erfurt in It was within an Observant system of rigorous devotion to God and right living that Luther received some of his most importanttheological training.
In many ways, as we shall see in the chapters that follow, his theological system is both an Figure 1. A second commonality among many late medieval Christians was a belief that they were living in the very last days before Christ returned in final judgment. For nearly a century, Europe had been suffering under a veritable cavalcade of natural and human-made disasters. Massive crop losses, plague, infestation, war, and schism convinced many that they were truly living in the last days and that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had been let loose on the world Figure 1.
Luther was among those who believed the end of days had arrived.
This informed much of the urgency he brought to theological disputes and helps explain his perspective on the Antichrist. The church in the sixteenth century was, in many ways, very similar to any large corporate body today. It had places of vitality and places of lethargy, pockets of reform and pockets of corruption. They saw another in a long line of discussions and debates over reform and revitalization. The church had weathered many other such diatribes; it would survive this one as well.
Why it did not, at least in a solitary fashion, will be discussed in the chapters that follow.
He went there to begin teaching. Though he would leave occasionally and for different reasons, for the most part he would spend most of the rest of his life there and Wittenberg would become synonymous with Luther. That he went to Wittenberg to teach rather than Leipzig or any number of other schools greatly affected the course of the Reformation. Wittenberg was and still is a small city in Central Germany along the banks of the Elbe River.
It is less than a mile from the one side to the other and the central road runs from the castle to river. Unlike the kingdoms of France or even England, however, it lacked a strong and unified central government. Maximilian was the head of the Habsburg dynasty and a titan figure in his own right. His family ascended to the imperial throne two generations earlier. The imperial throne does not automatically transfer from father to son but emperors worked to ensure that their sons would succeed them. In , Maximilian remained vigorous and unassailable. However, as he grew older, imperial politics surrounding succession became fodder for intrigue and machination.
It designated seven electors. The uncertainty of the impending election made the posi- tion of elector even more coveted. One who coveted the position was Albrecht Hohenzollern. Albrecht was the younger brother of the Margrave of Brandenburg and in at the age of 23 was already archbishop of Magdeburg. Such an opening occurred in February when Archbishop Uriel of Mainz died. In order to pay for the pallium or seal of office and dispensation from Leo X, Albrecht borrowed money from the House of Fugger.
In order to repay the loans, Leo gave Albrecht permission to sell indulgences within his territories. Albrecht may have sought the position of archbishop and elector even if the future election were a fait accompli, the Elector of Mainz was the imperial chancellor. However, it was the confluence of these events and the money raised by indulgences that helped propel a set of lecture and debate theses into a clarion call for reform. In , Maximilian died. Despite all the intrigue surrounding the forthcoming election, in the end his year-old grandson Charles was elected to replace him.
By , the so-called Luther Affair was already a factor in imperial politics. He was also the faculty star at the University of Wittenberg. He was also a jealous defender of German rights and privileges—especially when they came into conflict with Rome. Thus, before he agreed to cast his vote on behalf of Charles, he extracted a number of pledges from the young prince.
The Wahlkapitulation—or election agreement—protected the authority and privileges of the great lords from imperial intrusion.
They also ensured that Luther would be given a fair hearing in Germany before ever being sent for trial to Rome. Fulfilling this agreement in part, Charles granted Luther safe passage to the Imperial Diet or parliament which was then meeting in Worms. At the end of a contentious appearance before the emperor, Luther was allowed to leave the city unmolested. Later in life, Charles regretted honoring 2 He cast the last and deciding vote in elections and chaired their common meetings so it was a plum position.
However, that is the regret of a seasoned and powerful statesman who had in many ways forgotten the insecu- rity and unease with which his younger self presided over the empire. At just 21, Charles was not yet confident enough in his authority to have challenged a lesser noble of the rank, wealth, power, and prestige of Frederick III. He was replaced by the almost equally impressive John the Constant, his younger brother. For his entire life after his papal excommunication, Martin Luther lived under the protection of the electors of Saxony.
Their power and prestige within the empire kept him safe. Luther died in while still living under the pro- tection of the Saxon elector. He would eventually fail, again in part because of the divided nature of the empire. Had Luther been born in a place like England or if he had gone to teach at Leipzig instead of Wittenberg, his fortunes and the fortunes of the Reformation might have been dramatically different.
WAR In the sixteenth century, wars of greater and lesser significance were a constant presence. The trajectory and participants in the various wars of the sixteenth century greatly affected the expansion, popularity, reception, and legality of religious reforms initiated by Luther. Quite literally, there was rarely a year in the entire long sixteenth century that did not have troops moving to or from battle. It is impossible to list all of the major engagements let alone the small conflagrations.
However, a number of the most significant must be discussed because of their influence on Luther either directly or on the fortunes of his movement.
All the days of our lives from conception to death have been written, and determined, by God in eternity; we just dont know it. As a working pastor-professor for over thirty years, I have found that theology matters most when it addresses matters of life and death, both physical and spiritual. The complete collection of his writings, bible commentaries, and sayings runs nearly large volumes. Englander, William E. Process theology presents a transformative vision of reality that is responsive to the challenges of postmodernity, pluralism, and technology. It is massive and dark and looms over the city of Cologne and the Rhein River. God is present seeking value and intensity of experience in every moment of our lives, not just in human experience but in every momentary occasion of experience from quantum particles to cats and angels.
The major military powers of the sixteenth century were the Habsburg dynasty, the Ottoman Empire, and the French. When Charles Habsburg was elected Holy Roman Emperor in , he already ruled a vast, rich, and powerful empire. He was the sole male heir for both of his grandfathers. When the Holy Roman Empire was added to his responsibilities, he ruled over the largest amount of land and people ever.
An empire that vast, however, needed to be constantly defended. In May , the Ottoman Empire conquered the city of Constanti- nople. This did more than simply end the Byzantine Empire; it was a blow to the psyche of Christendom. Constantinople was founded more a thousand years earlier by the great Roman Emperor Con- stantine himself. Constantine had brought Christianity to the Roman world.