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On the Freedom of a Christian

On the Freedom of a Christian

With Related Texts

Martin Luther
Edited and Translated, with an Introduction, by Tryntje Helfferich

September 2013 - 160 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth (no dust jacket) 978-0-87220-767-7
$32.00
Paper 978-0-87220-768-4
$11.00
Examination 978-0-87220-768-4
$2.00

Quick Overview

"The translations are accurate and clear, and the introductory essay does a wonderful job of distilling complicated theological controversies into terms that are comprehensible by an undergraduate audience. The edition's greatest asset, though, is the range of texts that it includes. By including works by Luther's Catholic opponents and his erstwhile allies, this edition demonstrates that On the Freedom of a Christian represented not only a high point in Luther's thought, but also a starting point in a debate that spanned Christendom and had massive social and political implications."
     —Philip Haberkern, Boston University

OR

eBook available for $8.50. Click HERE for more information about Hackett eBooks.

Perhaps the clearest and most influential statement of the principles driving the early Protestant reformers, Martin Luther's On the Freedom of a Christian (1520) challenged the teachings and authority of the old Church while simultaneously laying out the blueprint for a new one.

Reviews:

"What [this] edition does with On the Freedom of a Christian is unique. It places one of Luther's most famous writings into its theological, political, and social context.  [Helfferich's] goal is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of Luther's ideas and what his contemporary opponents thought about them; in this effort the editor/translator is successful.  But this collection of texts is also successful on another level—it provides students with a case study of the importance of establishing and understanding context in the study of history.
    "Helfferich has done a fine job in compiling, editing and introducing this collection of texts. It has several strengths for use as primary source material in a class.  First, it is focused.  Students will see how the texts are interrelated. Second, it provides some unique selections. The Eck and Muntzer selections are rare finds. Third, the introductory material is clearly written and will be a great help to student learning. Fourth the translations are rendered very well into readable English. . . . This book is worthy of consideration as a textbook adoption. Hackett is to be commended for bringing into print another unique primary source for research and teaching."
     —Sixteenth Century Journal

"On the one hand, [the related texts] introduce readers to the key theological concepts taught by Luther, the Catholic theologians, and the radical reformers. On the other hand, they disclose the social, cultural, and economic aspects—topics that are of paramount interest in recent Reformation scholarship.
   "The introductory essay in each section is crisp, clear, and concise. The success of this work is the ability to distill complicated theological controversies and divergent contents into nuances that are accessible to a wider audience."
     —Dennis Ngien, Tyndale University College & Seminary, in Renaissance and Reformation

 "With a few key primary sources, [Helfferich] introduces the Reformation in all its complexity. While emphasizing the centrality of religion and belief in the Reformation movement—including key theological concepts of Luther and the mainstream Reformation, of Catholic theologians, and of Müntzer and the more radical elements in the Reformation—the texts collected in this volume also introduce readers to its social, cultural, and economic aspects, topics of so much of the recent scholarship on the Reformation.
   "The work includes an excellent general Introduction that, in a lucid and systematic manner, presents the reader with those key aspects of the period's Christian thought and practice against which Luther would react in On the Freedom of a Christian. And although individually brief, the cumulative effect of the various introductions [to each related text] is to provide the reader with a broad range of information about the Reformation in general.”
     —Robert J. Christman, Luther College

"The translations are accurate and clear, and the introductory essay does a wonderful job of distilling complicated theological controversies into terms that are comprehensible by an undergraduate audience. The edition's greatest asset, though, is the range of texts that it includes. By including works by Luther's Catholic opponents and his erstwhile allies, this edition demonstrates that On the Freedom of a Christian represented not only a high point in Luther's thought, but also a starting point in a debate that spanned Christendom and had massive social and political implications."
     —Philip Haberkern, Boston University

"An excellent introduction to both Luther's thought and the theological controversies that tore apart sixteenth century Europe. Like all good historical introductions should aspire to do, Helfferich's collection concisely displays the contingency and complexity of this epoch.
    "[T]he selected texts . . . all contribute to the understanding of the period by serving as representations of crucial positions. The cumulative effect is an invitation to the reader to delve deeper into the primary material and to gain a better view of this strange and strangely
familiar world."
     —Kye Barker, UCLA, in Comitatus

 Contents

I. General Introduction

The Life of Martin Luther
Martin Luther's Ideas in the Context of Sixteenth-Century Theology and Church Practice
Martin Luther’s Friends and Opponents
Note on the Texts and Translations
Acknowledgments


II. The Freedom of a Christian

Introduction
Martin Luther, An Open Letter to Pope Leo X
Martin Luther, On the Freedom of a Christian


III. Catholic Opponents of Luther

Introduction
Johannes Eck, Enchridion or Handbook of Commonplaces and Articles against the
    New Teachings Currently Wafting About
John Fisher, Sermon against the Pernicious
Doctrine of Martin Luther


IV. Thomas Müntzer and the Peasants' War

Introduction
Thomas Müntzer, Highly Provoked Defense
Martin Luther, Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants

Further Reading
Index

 

About the Author:

Tryntje Helfferich is Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University at Lima.