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Martin Luther, Political Thought

Höpfl, Harro (2010) 'Martin Luther, Political Thought.' In: Lagerlund, Henrik, (ed.) Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy: Philosophy between 500 and 1500. Springer, pp. 720-722. ISBN 9781402097287

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Martin Luther (1483–1546) was a German Reformer, theologian, translator of the Bible into German, priest, theology professor (from 1512) at the university of Wittenberg in Electoral Saxony, preacher and pastor, prolific author in both German and Latin, former Augustinian monk, and excommunicated by the papacy in 1521. His best known political doctrines are the Zwei Reiche/Regimente Lehre (Two Kingdoms and/or Two Governments); political obedience and hostility to rebellion and millennialism; endorsement of princely “absolutism”; the territorial “prince’s church” (landesherrliches Kirchenregiment). Slightly less well known are his opposition to usury, his anti-Jewish attitudes, his very “secular” interpretation of marriage and divorce, his doctrine of the three estates (the military, economic, and ecclesiastical), his “congregational” tendencies in church government, and his belief that his was the “end-time” when Satan and Anti-Christ ruled the world. His principal political doctrines were not unfamiliar; they resemble Augustine’s conception of the two civitates, the medieval “two swords” controversy, and conventional doctrines of obedience and good order of his time. Luther, moreover, set out his political ideas in pamphlets prompted by specific emergencies, and never consolidated them in a definitive text. Some interpreters see them as an expression of “social conservatism” rather than as inferences from his theology.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Clare Chatfield
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2013 09:41
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:19

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