Meaning of LUTHER, MARTIN in English

born Nov. 10, 1483, Eisleben, Saxony died Feb. 18, 1546, Eisleben German preacher, biblical scholar, and linguist whose Ninety-five Theses, an attack on various Roman Catholic ecclesiastical abuses, precipitated the Protestant Reformation. Luther, the son of a miner who wanted him to become a lawyer, attended the University of Erfurt (B.A., 1502; M.A., 1505). In 1505 he joined the monastic order of the Augustinian eremites, and he was ordained a priest in 1507. From 1508 to 1546 he taught at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. He received a doctorate in theology in 1512 and was appointed to the chair of biblical theology at Wittenberg that same year. The exposition of the Bible to his students was a task that called forth his best gifts and energies. In between lectures, so to speak, he began the Protestant Reformation. In his search for salvation, Luther minutely attempted to fulfill the rule of his order. Nonetheless, he soon found himself struggling against uncertainties and doubts. His spiritual dilemma stemmed from his increasing difficulties with medieval Roman Catholic theology. The turning point for him came when he discovered the message of grace, according to which the sinner is saved by God through faith alonenot by his own actions. The great courses of lectures that Luther delivered at this time on the Psalms (151315), Romans (151516), Galatians (151617), and Hebrews (151718) show the growing richness and maturity of his thought. Meanwhile, his other duties had accumulated. From 1511 he had been preaching in his monastery, and in 1514 he became preacher in the parish church. This pulpit became the place from which Luther expounded profoundly and beautifully the Scriptures for the common people and related them to the practical context of their lives. Within his order he had become prior and then in May 1515 district vicar over 11 other houses. Thus, he became involved in practical administration and pastoral care. Luther, however, observed so much that he found wrong with the Roman Catholic church and the world that for the purpose of eliciting truth he drew up the Ninety-five Theses (in Latin). After possibly nailing the Theses onto the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on Oct. 31, 1517, Luther passed them on to his university colleagues. The translation of the Theses into German immediately widened the debate to a larger audience. The opinions expressed in the Theses were tentative, and Luther himself was not committed to some of them. The Theses did not deny papal prerogative, though by implication they criticized papal policy; still less did they attack such established teaching as the doctrine of purgatory. But they did stress the spiritual, inward character of the Christian religion. The invention of printing enabled copies of the Theses to be circulated far and wide, so that what might have been a mere local issue became a public controversy discussed in ever-widening circles. The Reformation that was triggered soon spread over northern Europe. Luther's personal discovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone (c. 151516 or 151819) led to a reformation of medieval doctrine and, along with other factors, to the rise of the Protestant churches. Luther was a prolific writer: his commentarial, polemical, and practical devotional works became the hallmark of Reformation writings, and his translation of the Bible into the vernacular German influenced German literature. born Nov. 10, 1483, Eisleben, Saxony died Feb. 18, 1546, Eisleben German priest and scholar whose questioning of certain church practices led to the Protestant Reformation. He is one of the pivotal figures of Western civilization, as well as of Christianity. By his actions and writings he precipitated a movement that was to yield not only one of the three major theological units of Christianity (along with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) but was to be a seedbed for social, economic, and political thought. For further treatment of the historical context and consequences of Luther's work, see Protestantism. Additional reading Luther's writings Collections are the Works of Martin Luther, 6 vol., Philadelphia ed. (191532, reprinted 1982); and Luther's Works, American ed., edited by Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. Lehmann, 55 vol. (195576), henceforth an indispensable tool for English study. In German the definitive edition is D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe (1883 ), known as the Weimar edition. There is a single-volume anthology edited by John Dillenberger, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings (1961); also useful is E. Gordon Rupp and Benjamin Drewery, Martin Luther (1970). The following are important volumes in the Library of Christian Classics: vol. 15, Lectures on Romans, ed. by Wilhelm Pauck (1961); vol. 16, Early Theological Works, ed. by James Atkinson (1962, reprinted 1980); vol. 17, Luther and Erasmus, ed. by E. Gordon Rupp and Philip S. Watson (1969); and vol. 18, Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. by Theodore G. Tappert (1955). Another important work is A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, ed. by Philip S. Watson (1953). Biographical and critical studies Peter Manns, Martin Luther: An Illustrated Biography, trans. from German (1982), emphasizes the religious context. John M. Todd, Luther (1982), is a popular biography. Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther in Mid-Career, 15211530, ed. by Karin Bornkamm (1983; originally published in German, 1979), examines Luther and his thoughts at midlife. Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther and the False Brethren (1975), details the years between the Diet of Worms and Luther's death. H.G. Haile, Luther: An Experiment in Biography (1980), concentrates on the last 10 years of his life. David C. Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz: An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation (1980), studies the influence on Luther of his early confessor and friend. Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand! (1950, reissued 1990), is a respected study. Also of interest are Franz Lau, Luther (1963; originally published in German, 1959); and W.j. Kooiman, By Faith Alone (1954; originally published in Dutch, 1946). Preserved Smith, The Life and Letters of Martin Luther (1911, reprinted 1968), is the best of the older studies. A broad survey is E.G. Schwiebert, Luther and His Times (1950). Robert Herndon Fife, The Revolt of Martin Luther (1957), portrays the young Luther. A brief account is E. Gordon Rupp, Luther's Progress to the Diet of Worms, 1521 (1951, reissued 1964). Walther Von Loewenich, Martin Luther: The Man and His Work (1986; originally published in German, 1982), is an introductory analysis. Gerhard Brendler, Martin Luther: Theology and Revolution (1991; originally published in German, 1983), is a biography written from a Marxist perspective. A scholarly and readable interpretation of Luther is found in Eric W. Gritsch, MartinGod's Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect (1983). James M. Kittelson, Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career (1986), makes Luther accessible to readers with little background in the history of the Reformation. Bernhard Lohse, Martin Luther: An Introduction to His Life and Work (1986; originally published in German, 1981), is also of special interest. The development of Luther, the man and the theologian, is assessed in Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil (1989; originally published in German, 1982). Martin Brecht, Martin Luther, 3 vol. (198593; originally published in German, 198387), is an in-depth portrait of the man and his times. Luther and his era are addressed in James Atkinson, Martin Luther and the Birth of Protestantism, rev. ed. (1982); A.G. Dickens, Reformation and Society in Sixteenth Century Europe (1966, reprinted 1979); Joseph Lortz, The Reformation in Germany, 2 vol. (1968; originally published in German, 1939); and Wilhelm Pauck, Heritage of the Reformation, rev. ed. (1961). Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 153146 (1983), explores the influence of politics on Luther's thoughts, especially in his later years. Luther's politics are appraised in W.D.J. Cargill Thompson, The Political Thought of Martin Luther, ed. by Philip Broadhead (1984). Critical studies on Luther's theology include Gerhard Ebeling, Luther: An Introduction to His Thought (1970; originally published in German, 1964); Philip S. Watson, Let God Be God! (1947, reissued 1970); E. Gordon Rupp, The Righteousness of God (1953, reissued 1963); Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther's World of Thought (1958; originally published in German, 1947); B.A. Gerrish, Grace and Reason (1962, reprinted 1979); Regin Prenter, Spiritus Creator (1953; originally published in Danish, 1944); and Ian D. Kingston Siggins, Martin Luther's Doctrine of Christ (1970). Alister E. McGrath, Luther's Theology of the Cross: Martin Luther's Theological Breakthrough (1985), focuses on the evolution of Luther's theology from 1509 to 1519. Luther's influence is traced in Ernst Walter Zeeden, The Legacy of Luther (1954; originally published in German, 1950); and Edgar M. Carlson, The Reinterpretation of Luther (1948), a survey of Scandinavian Luther studies. Important studies written in languages other than English include Karl Holl, Gesammelte Aufstze zur Kirchengeschichte, 3 vol. (192128, reissued 1964); Emanuel Hirsch, Lutherstudien, 2 vol. (1954); Rudolf Hermann, Gesammelte Studien zur Theologie Luthers und der Reformation (1960); Ernst Wolf, Peregrinatio, 2nd ed., 2 vol. (1962); Johannes Heckel, Lex Charitatis, 2nd ed. (1973); Ernst Bizer, Fides ex auditu, 3rd ed. (1966); Otto Herman Pesch, Die Theologie der Rechtfertigung bei Martin Luther und Thomas von Aquin (1967, reprinted 1985); Reinhard Schwarz, Fides, Spes, und Caritas beim Jungen Luther (1962); and Bernhard Lohse, Mnchtum und Reformation (1963). Two psychological studies are Paul J. Reiter, Martin Luthers Umwelt, Charakter und Psychose, 2 vol. (193741); and Erik H. Erikson, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (1958, reissued 1993). The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica Major Works: In Latin Theological works Epistola Lutheriana ad Leonem decimum summum pontificem. Dissertatio de libertate Christiana per autorem recognita (1519; Concerning Christian Liberty); De votis monasticis (1521); De captivitate Babylonica ecclesiae praeludium (1520; A Prelude Concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the Church); De servo arbitrio (1525; Concerning the Bondage of the Will). Controversial writings B. Martini Lutheri theses Tezelio, indulgentiarum institori oppositas (1517; Ninety-five Theses); Rationis Latomianae pro incendiariis Lovaniensis scholae sophistis redditae Lutheriana confutatio (1521). Exegesis Enarrationes epistolarum et evangeliorum, quas postillas vocant (1521). In German Theological works Von den guten Wercken (1520; Of Good Works); Von welltlicher Uberkeytt, wie weytt man yhr gehorsam schuldig sey (1523; Of Earthly Government); Das diese wort Christi (Das ist mein leib etce.) noch fest stehen widder die Schwermgeyster (1527; That These Words of Christ This is My Body' Still Stand Firm Against the Fanatics); Vom Abendmal Christi, Bekenntnis (1528; Confession of the Lord's Supper); Von den Conciliis und Kirchen (1539; Of Councils and Churches). Controversial writings An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation (1520; Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation); Widder die hymelischen Propheten von den Bildern und Sacrament (1525; Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matter of Images and Sacraments); An die Radsherrn aller Stedte deutsches Lands: Das sie Christliche Schulen auffrichten und hallten sollen (1524); Ermanunge zum Fride auff die zwelff Artikel der Bawrschafft ynn Schwaben (1525); Wider die mordischen u reubischen Rotten der Bawren (1525); Wider Hans Worst (1541); Wider das Bapstum zu Rom vom Teuffel gestifft (1545). Translations and exegesis Das Newe Testament Deutzsch (1522); Biblia, das ist, die gantze Heilige Scrifft Deudsch (1534); Das Magnificat verteuschet und ausgelegt (1521). Other works (liturgical) Deudsche Messe (1526). (didactic): Der kleine Catechismus (1559; Small Catechism); Deudsch Catechismus (1529; Large Catechism). Among his hymns the most famous is probably Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God).

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