Cover image for Beyond Indulgences: Luther’s Reform of Late Medieval Piety, 1518–1520 By Anna Marie Johnson

Beyond Indulgences

Luther’s Reform of Late Medieval Piety, 1518–1520

Anna Marie Johnson

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$50.00 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-61248-212-5

240 pages
6" × 9"
2017
Distributed by Penn State University Press for Truman State University

Early Modern Studies

Beyond Indulgences

Luther’s Reform of Late Medieval Piety, 1518–1520

Anna Marie Johnson

“For Lutheran pastors and laypeople, grasping Luther’s pastoral concerns in his early years is vital for understanding the nature of his reform and the resulting Lutheran confession of the gospel, and thus of Lutheran identity and practice today. These early pastoral writings are an important but often neglected body of Luther’s works. . . . This book provides an excellent introduction.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
Between Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 and his excommunication from the church in 1520, he issued twenty-five sermons and treatises on Christian piety, most of them in German. These pastoral writings extended his criticisms of the church beyond indulgences to the practices of confession, prayer, clerical celibacy, the sacraments, suffering, and death. These were the issues that mattered most to Luther because they affected the faith of believers and the health of society. Luther’s conflict with Rome forced him to address the issue of papal authority, but on his own time, he focused on encouraging lay Christians to embrace a simpler, self-sacrificing faith. In these pastoral writings, he criticized theologians and church officials for leading people astray with a reliance on religious works, and he began to lay the foundation for a reformed Christian piety.
“For Lutheran pastors and laypeople, grasping Luther’s pastoral concerns in his early years is vital for understanding the nature of his reform and the resulting Lutheran confession of the gospel, and thus of Lutheran identity and practice today. These early pastoral writings are an important but often neglected body of Luther’s works. . . . This book provides an excellent introduction.”

Anna Marie Johnson earned her PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is Assistant Professor of Reformation History at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. She was the recipient of a Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, and co-edited the book The Reformation as Christianization with John A. Maxfield.

Abbreviations

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Pastoral Writings of 1518 to 1520

Chapter One: The Practical Early Luther

Piety and Vernacular Literature

The Search for the Reformation Discovery

Confessional Polemics and Luther’s Religiosity

Luther as Pastor

Practical Theology in Early Modern Europe: Mysticism, Monasticism, and Scholasticism

Chapter Two: Scholasticism, Indulgences, and Christian Life: 1516–1517

Luther’s Work in Wittenberg

Luther’s Early Lectures

The First Pastoral Writings

Anti-Scholastic Initiatives in Wittenberg

The Practice of Indulgences

Luther’s Earliest Comments on Indulgences

The Treatise on Indulgences

The Ninety-Five Theses and the Letter to Archbishop Albrecht

Conclusion: Interpreting the Indulgence Controversy

Chapter Three: Reshaping Confession, Reorienting Piety: Lent 1518

From the Ninety-Five Theses to the Heidelberg Disputation

Preparing for Confession: The Centrality of the Ten Commandments

The Goal of Confession: Faith in the Words of Absolution

Satisfaction, Suffering, and Good Works

Meditating on the Passion, Embracing Suffering

Redefining Relics, Prayer, and the Saints

Conclusion: Reorienting Piety

Chapter Four: Piety in the Shadow of Conflict: Summer 1518

From the Heidelberg Disputation to the Meeting with Cajetan

Penance and Polemics

Sin, Sincerity, and Suffering

Conclusion: Piety and the Reformation Discovery

Chapter Five: Reforming Prayer and Good Works: Early 1519

From the Meeting with Cajetan to the Leipzig Debate

Revisiting Penance and the Passion

“Lifting Up the Heart”: Instruction on Prayer

Religious Works and Good Works

Piety and the Papacy

Conclusion: Escalating Conflict, Expanding Criticisms

Chapter Six: Reinterpreting Sacraments and Saints: Fall 1519 to Summer 1520

From the Leipzig Debate to Excommunication

Confession in a New Key

Baptism and Christian Life

The Communion of the Saints

Suffering with the Saints

Dying in the Faith

The Practice of Usury and the Works of Faith

Conclusion: The Piety of a New Church

Conclusion: Piety and Luther’s Protest

Appendix

Works Cited

Index

About the Author

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