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Theology of Luther

Department of Theology
Tyndale Seminary
Winter 2006
Thursday at 1:00 p.m.
Instructor: V. Shepherd
Office Hours as posted
Tel. 416 226 6380 ext. 6726 (office)
905 821 0587 (home)
email: victor.shepherd@sympatico.ca 

This course is meant to assist students in probing Luther’s theology both extensively and intensively

Aims: The aims of the course are
[1] to familiarize students with the vocabulary and logic of the Magisterial Reformation’s first major thinker;
[2] to understand Luther’s against its immediate philosophical, theological and humanistic background;
[3] to situate Luther’s singular theological expression amidst those of other Reformers and Roman Catholics;
[4] to investigate Luther’s oneness with and departure from the Renaissance;
[5] to appreciate the Magisterial Reformation as part of a movement that included Radical, Elizabethan, Catholic and Counter Reformations;
[6] to appreciate the significance of Luther’s theology for contemporary ecumenism.

THEO 05331 and THEO 0532 or THEO 0530

Timothy Lull, ed., Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings

Essay: Each student is to submit one 3000-word essay on a topic selected from the appended list of essay topics, or on any topic approved by the instructor.  The deadline is not negotiable.  An extension will not be granted (apart from medically documented illness or family emergencies such as death.) 
The penalty assigned for late submission will be one-third of a grade for each day late.
Examination: each student is to sit the in-class examination at the conclusion of the semester.

The essay and the examination are each worth 50%.


Jan. 12 Introductions
Class assignments
The Religious Background to Luther
Jan Huss
Jan. 19 Renaissance Humanism
Jan. 26 Gabriel Biel and Late Mediaeval Scholasticism
Feb. 2 The early Luther
“Disputation Against Scholastic Theology”
“The Ninety-Five Theses”
   “Preface to the Wittenberg Edition of Luther’s German Writings”
Feb. 16 The Righteousness of God
“Two Kinds of Righteousness”
   “A Meditation on Christ’s Passion”
Feb. 16 Freedom in Christ
   “The Freedom of a Christian”
Feb. 23 The Lord’s Supper (comparisons with Rome, Zwingli and Calvin)
   “The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ — Against the Fanatics”
March 2 The Bondage of the Will
   “The Bondage of the Will — Introduction, Part VI, and Conclusion”
March 9 Law and Gospel
“A Brief Instruction on what to Look for and Expect in the Gospels”
   “Preface to the New Testament”
“Preface to the Old Testament”
March 16 (Reading Week)
March 23 The Church
   “On The Council and the Church — Part III”
March 30 Church and State
   “Temporal Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed”
April 6 Marriage and Domestic Life
   “A Sermon on the Estate of Marriage”
April 13 Antisemitism
   “Concerning the Jewish People: Was Luther A Son of Paul?”
    (paper by Victor Shepherd)
April 20 Examination

Essay Topics

What aspects of Renaissance Humanism most immediately affected the Reformation?

Was Erasmus a Christian? How did his work assist or contradict the Reformation?

What did mediaeval scholasticism mean by “justification”?

How does Luther understand the eucharist?

What would any two (or three) of the following have said to each other concerning the Lord’s Supper: Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, the Anabaptists, Rome?

What is Melanchthon’s theological contribution to the Lutheran Reformation?

Compare Melanchthon and Luther on the Law of God.

Write a “Review Article” on the debate between Erasmus and Luther on the bondage of the will.

What does Luther mean by the “Righteousness of God”?

Expound Luther’s understanding of freedom. Contrast it with popular contemporary notions.

How do Luther and Calvin understand the relation of law to gospel?

What is Luther’s Ecclesiology?

What does Luther mean by “Two Kingdoms”?

Discuss the theology of Luther and Eck at the Diet of Worms.

What significance is attached to the following cities during Luther’s lifetime: Worms, Eisenach (the Wartburg), Leipzig, Augsburg, Marburg?

What is the image of the Jew in the late mediaeval and early Reformation eras, and how did this image affect the treatment accorded Jewish people?

How does Luther understand faith? (fides qua creditur)

What is God’s mandate for the state, and how does Luther’s understanding here influence his advice during and subsequent to the peasant revolt?

(any topic approved by the instructor)





Althaus, P.; The Ethics of Martin Luther

The Theology of Martin Luther

Atkinson, J.; The Great Light: Luther and the Reformation

Martin Luther and the Birth of Protestantism

Martin Luther: A Prophet to the Church Catholic

Rome and Reformation: How Luther Speaks to the New Situation

d’Aubgine, J.; The Life and Times of Martin Luther

Bainton, R.; Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

Blackman, H.; Luther, Translator of Paul: Studies in Romans and Galatians

Bornkamm, H.; Luther and the Old Testament

Luther in Mid-Career: 1521-1530

Luther’s World of Thought

Boyle, M.; Rhetoric and Reform: Erasmus’ Civil Dispute with Luther

Bratten, C.E., and Jenson, R.W.; Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther

Brecht, M.; Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation, 1483-1521

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

Martin Luther: The Preservation of the Church1532-1546

Brendler, G.; Martin Luther: Theology and Revolution

Crossley, R.; Luther and the Peasants’ War

Dickens, A.; The German Nation and Martin Luther

Martin Luther and the Reformation

Ebeling, G.; Luther: And Introduction to his Thought

Edwards, M.; Luther’s Last Battles: Politics and Polemics

Green, L.; How Melanchthon Helped Luther Discover the Gospel

Green, V.; Luther and the Reformation

Grisar, H.; Martin Luther: His Life and Work

Gritsch, E.; Martin Luther — God’s Court Jester

Gritsch, E., and Jenson, R.W.; Lutheranism: The Theological Movement and its Confessional Writings

Haendler, G.; Luther on Ministerial Office and Congregational Function

Haile, H.; Luther, An Experiment in Biography

Harran, H.; Luther on Conversion: The Early Years

Headley, J.; Luther’s View of Church History

Hendrix, S.; Luther and the Papacy: Stages in a Reformation Conflict

Hoffman, B.; Der Franckforter: The Theologica Germanica of Martin Luther

                    Luther and the Mystics

Hordern, W.; Experience and Faith: The Significance of Luther

For Understanding Today’s Experiential Religion

Jensen, D.; Confrontation at Worms: Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms

Jungel, E.; The Freedom of A Christian: Luther’s Significance for Contemporary Theology

Kittelson, J.; Luther the Reformer: The Study of the Man and his Career

Koeningsberger, H. (ed); Luther: A Profile

Kooiman, W.; Luther and the Bible

Leaver, R.; Luther on Justification

Lienhard, M.; Luther, Witness to Jesus Christ: Stages and Themes of the Reformer’s Christology

Lindsay, T.; Luther and the German Reformation

Loewen, H.; Luther and the Radicals

Loewenich, W.; Luther’s Theology of the Cross

Martin Luther: The Man and his Work

Lohse, B.; Martin Luther: And Introduction to his Life and Work

Mackinnon, J.; Luther and the Reformation

Marius, R.; Luther

McDonough, T.; The Law and the Gospel in Luther

McGoldrick, J.; Luther’s English Connection: The Religious Thought of Robert Barnes and William Tyndale

McGrath, A.; Luther’s Theology of the Cross: The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation

McSorley, H.; Luther: Right or Wrong?

Oberman, H.; The Dawn of the Reformation

The Impact of the Reformation

Martin Luther: Man Between God and the Devil

The Reformation: Roots and Ramifications

Olin, J., Smart, J., McNally, R.; Luther, Erasmus and the Reformation

Olivier, D.; The Trial of Luther

Pascal, R.; The Social Basis of the German Reformation

Pelikan, J.; Spirit Versus Structure: Luther and the Institutions of the Church

Pinomaa, L.; Faith Victorious: An Introduction to Luther’s Theology

Ritter, G.; Luther: His Life and Work

Rupp, E.; Luther’s Progress to the Diet of Worms

The Righteousness of God

Russell, W.R.; The Schmalkald Articles: Luther’s TheologicalTestament

Sasse, H.; This is My Body

Sessions, K. (ed); Reformation and Authority:

The Meaning of the Peasants’ Revolt

Sider, R. (ed); Karlstadt’s Battle with Luther

Siemen-Netto, U.; The Fabricated Luther: The Rise and Fall of the Shirer Myth.

Steinmetz, D.; Luther and Staupitz: An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation

Luther in Context

Swihart, A.; Luther and the Lutheran Church

Tavard, G.; Justification: An Intellectual Study

Todd, J.; Luther, A Life

Martin Luther, A Biographical Study

Volkmar, L.; Luther’s Response to Violence

Watson, P.; Let God Be God!

Wood, A.; Captive to the Word

Zachman, R.; The Assurance of Faith