The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther

By Donald K. McKim | Go to book overview

has been widely influential, especially for English speakers. Writing in French while teachingin Strasbourg, on the German border, Marc Lienhard published the definitive study of Luther's Christology in Luther: Witness to Jesus Christ. 48

One of the most important developments in twentieth-century Luther scholarship was the emergence of a much more appreciative school of Roman Catholics. For generations, Catholic scholarly approaches to Luther were shaped by Heinrich Denifle, a late nineteenth-century Vatican librarian whose Luther und Luthertum was a virtual catalog of polemics. Joseph Lortz, a German Catholic of World War II vintage, turned the tide, arguing that Luther had reacted against a Catholicism insufficiently Catholic in that it had departed from its proper Thomistic origins. There is a rich catalog of work since Lortz, but two in particular should be mentioned. One is a massive comparison of Luther and Thomas by Otto Pesch, still not translated. The other, provocatively mistitled by its American publishers Luther: Right or Wrong?, provides an extended analysis of Luther's arguments on the bound will, written by Harry McSorley. Roman Catholic Luther scholarship has had a stronginfluence in the American ecumenical discussion. 49

Since Bainton and Pauck, American Luther scholarship has been generated primarily out of two sources: Harvard University, particularly in the years of Heiko Oberman, who after some years back in Europe returned to teach at Arizona; and Stanford University under Lewis Spitz. Oberman's Harvard legacy has been in the hermeneutics of Luther; Spitz's in the relationship of the Renaissance and the Reformation. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the theological study of Luther lost its preeminence to social, political, and other forms of historical study. Duke University in particular but also Princeton and some of the Lutheran seminaries have carried on the tradition.

In addition to book-length studies, there are some periodical sources that are essential. The Luther Jahrbuch, which has been published in Germany since 1919, provides a yearly review of critical scholarship. The Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte is the important German journal. In English, the Luther Digest, published by the Luther Academy in Crestwood, Missouri, offers“An Annual Abridgement of Luther Studies, using both Englishlanguage and European sources. The Sixteenth Century Journal, the Lutheran Quarterly and Dialog also publish articles of interest.


Notes
1
Ian Siggins, Luther and His Mother (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), 20–29.
2
David C. Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz: An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation (Durham: Duke University Press, 1980).

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