Martin Luther's Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development

Martin Luther's Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development

Martin Luther's Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development

Martin Luther's Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development


"This definitive analysis of the theology of Martin Luther surveys its development during the crises of Luther's life and then offers a systematic survey by topics. Containing a wealth of quotation from less-known writings by Luther and written in a way that will interest both scholar and novice, Bernhard Lohse's magisterial volume is the first to evaluate Luther's theology in both ways." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


For some time I intended to write a description of Martin Luther's theology. in October 1955, while at work on my study of reason and faith in Luther, Paul Althaus suggested that 1 should later write a volume purely from the standpoint of a church historian. After the late sixties I often lectured on Luther's theology, always keeping at center the description of the origin and further shaping of his Reformation theology. Demands due to developments in German universities after 1968, and especially the fact that since 1969 I have had no assistants and have had to forego assistance even in proofreading, continually delayed the realization of my plan. Only after my retirement in the spring of 1992 was 1 finally able to devote all my energies to working out this description.

In contrast to previous descriptions of Luther's theology on the part of systematicians, particularly in the sixties, this description is of a special type. It is the first to evaluate Luther's theology in its historical development as well as within its systematic context. in tracing its historical development, the study takes up Luther's debates with traditions important to him along with the development of his theology in the context of the various controversies leading up to his dispute with the Antinomians. in its systematic treatment, the study has a relatively conservative structure. in this twofold discussion, I have followed an impulse pursued by Julius Köstlin as early as 1863.

This description has another special quality. For the first time it depicts Luther's attitude toward the Jews within the scope of a total evaluation of his theology. After the terrible persecutions of Jews during the Third Reich, and due to the intense discussion of Luther's attitude toward them in the last decades, the task of dealing with this theme seemed unavoidable. the reason why it appears at the close of the book is to suggest that Luther's attitude toward the Jews is a marginal theological issue, not at all part of the central themes.

During the final examination of the manuscript, some important literature appeared that I could not mention. At least two works may be referred to here: first, Cajetan et Luther en 1518: Edition, traduction et commentaire d'Augsbourg de Cajetan by Charles Morerod, op, in Cahiers oecumeniques 26, 2 vols. (Fribourg: Éditions Universitaires, 1994). Next, Leif Grane, Martinus Noster: Luther in the German Reform

Ratio und Fides: Bine Untersuchung über the Ratio in der Theologie Lathers, fjdg 8 (Göttingen: Vanclen
hoeck & Ruprecht, 1958).

Julius Köstlin, The Theology of Luther in Its Historical Development and Inner Harmony, trans. Charles E.
Hay (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1897).

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