Martin Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521-1532

By Martin Brecht; James L. Schaaf | Go to book overview

XII

Home, Community, Church,
and Theology
(1530–32)

Despite the importance of the great political questions, in no way did they occupy all of Luther's time. There were primarily other reasons for the excessive amount of work that he constantly lamented. A few days after he returned from the Coburg, Bugenhagen left to introduce the Reformation in Lübeck, and he did not return until 30 April 1532. Once again, as he had when Bugenhagen was in Brunswick and Hamburg in 1528–29, Luther substituted for him in the Wittenberg parish during this longer absence. In addition, there continued to be considerable demands placed on him by the church in Electoral Saxony, as well as those from other evangelical territories. Of course, Luther also continued his teaching activity. After the Diet of Augsburg, there were even new important demands on his theological work. Finally, Luther was also needed by his own family, by his household, and by the students who lived there. He was obviously overworked with all of these responsibilities, and this was at a time when his health continued to be poor.


1. PERSONAL WELFARE, FAMILY, AND HOME

Luther found his family in good health when he returned. As far as he himself was concerned, the troublesome ringing in his ears continued to bother him, particularly in the mornings. It had given him trouble at the Coburg and continued to afflict him at least until January 1531. Occasionally he also complained about his teeth or throat. Against his will and to the distress of the printers, he had to rest.1 From 20 February until 24 March Luther did not preach. The reason was extreme exhaustion. Luther slept a great deal, even during the day. The patient comforted himself with the thought that Christ was Lord even in his weakness. Occasionally he dictated his letters to Veit Dietrich when he himself was unable to write. After the beginning of April, he seems to have felt well for a longer period of time. His only complaints were about overwork. It is not known whether he himself tried the preparations made from swine feces for reducing blood flow, horse feces for pleurodynia, or human feces for all wounds, which he praised in the

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