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The place and significance of Martin Luther in the long history of Christian anti-Jewish polemic has been and continues to be a contested issue. It is true that Luther's anti-Jewish rhetoric intensified toward the end of his life, but reading Luther with a careful eye toward "the Jewish question," it becomes clear that Luther's theological presuppositions toward Judaism and the Jewish people are a central, core component of his thought throughout his career, not just at the end. It follows then that it is impossible to understand the heart and building blocks of Luther's theology without acknowledging the crucial role of "the Jews" in his fundamental thinking.
Luther was constrained by ideas, images, and superstitions regarding the Jews and Judaism that he inherited from medieval Christian tradition. But the engine in the development of Luther's theological thought as it relates to the Jews is his biblical hermeneutics. Just as "the Jewish question" is a central, core component of his thought, so biblical interpretation (and especially Old Testament interpretation) is the primary arena in which fundamental claims about the Jews and Judaism are formulated and developed.
Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, a single-volume introduction to Luther's most influential, noted, and important writings in the modern translations—including excerpts of his sermons and letters—presents Luther the theologian "steeped in the word of God, speaking to the whole church," even as it takes the reader straight to Luther the man, to his controversial Reformation insights, to his strongest convictions about God and Scripture and the life of the church, and most importantly to his theology—a still-exciting encounter with the meaning of Jesus Christ for each age.
The third edition includes revised introductions, updated bibliography, index, and the addition of "A Meditation on Christ's Passion" (1519), "Treatise on the Blessed Sacrament" (1519), "Sermon on the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ—Against the Fanatics" (1526), "Sermon in Castle Pleissenburg" (1539), and "Consolation to Women Whose Pregnancies Have Not Gone Well" (1542), as well as new translations of "A Practical Way to Pray" (1535) and "On the Freedom of a Christian" (1520).
Its Historical and Systematic Development
This definitive analysis of the theology of Martin Luther surveys its development during the crises of Luther's life, then offers a systematic survey by topics. Containing a wealth of quotations from less-known writings by Luther and written in a way that will interest both scholar and novice, Lohse's magisterial volume is the first to evaluate Luther's theology in both ways. Lohse's historical analysis takes up Luther's early exegetical works and then his debates with traditions important to him in the context of the various controversies leading up to his dispute with the Antinomians. The systematic treatment shows how the meaning of ancient Christian doctrines took their place within the central teaching of justification by faith.
Drawing on New Testament studies and recent scholarship on the expansion of the Christian church, Gary B. Ferngren presents a comprehensive historical account of medicine and medical philanthropy in the first five centuries of the Christian era. Ferngren first describes how early Christians understood disease. He examines the relationship of early Christian medicine to the natural and supernatural modes of healing found in the Bible. Despite biblical accounts of demonic possession and miraculous healing, Ferngren argues that early Christians generally accepted naturalistic assumptions about disease and cared for the sick with medical knowledge gleaned from the Greeks and Romans. Ferngren next explores the origins of medical philanthropy in the early Christian church. Rather than viewing illness as punishment for sins, early Christians believed that the sick deserved both medical assistance and compassion. Even as they were being persecuted, Christians cared for the sick both within and outside of their community. Their long experience in medical charity led to the creation of the first hospitals, a singular Christian contribution to health care. Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity is essential reading for scholars and students in the history of medicine and religious studies.
Discipline and Salvation in Shenoute of Atripe
Shenoute of Atripe led the White Monastery, a community of several thousand male and female Coptic monks in Upper Egypt, between approximately 395 and 465 C.E. Shenoute's letters, sermons, and treatises—one of the most detailed bodies of writing to survive from any early monastery—provide an unparalleled resource for the study of early Christian monasticism and asceticism.
In Monastic Bodies, Caroline Schroeder offers an in-depth examination of the asceticism practiced at the White Monastery using diverse sources, including monastic rules, theological treatises, sermons, and material culture. Schroeder details Shenoute's arduous disciplinary code and philosophical structure, including the belief that individual sin corrupted not only the individual body but the entire "corporate body" of the community. Thus the purity of the community ultimately depended upon the integrity of each individual monk.
Shenoute's ascetic discourse focused on purity of the body, but he categorized as impure not only activities such as sex but any disobedience and other more general transgressions. Shenoute emphasized the important practices of discipline, or askesis, in achieving this purity. Contextualizing Shenoute within the wider debates about asceticism, sexuality, and heresy that characterized late antiquity, Schroeder compares his views on bodily discipline, monastic punishments, the resurrection of the body, the incarnation of Christ, and monastic authority with those of figures such as Cyril of Alexandria, Paulinus of Nola, and Pachomius.
Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900–1100
The history of monastic institutions in the Middle Ages may at first appear remarkably uniform and predictable. Medieval commentators and modern scholars have observed how monasteries of the tenth to early twelfth centuries experienced long periods of stasis alternating with bursts of rapid development known as reforms. Charismatic leaders by sheer force of will, and by assiduously recruiting the support of the ecclesiastical and lay elites, pushed monasticism forward toward reform, remediating the inevitable decline of discipline and government in these institutions. A lack of concrete information on what happened at individual monasteries is not regarded as a significant problem, as long as there is the possibility to reconstruct the reformers' ''program.'' While this general picture makes for a compelling narrative, it doesn't necessarily hold up when one looks closely at the history of specific institutions.
In Monastic Reform as Process, Steven Vanderputten puts the history of monastic reform to the test by examining the evidence from seven monasteries in Flanders, one of the wealthiest principalities of northwestern Europe, between 900 and 1100. He finds that the reform of a monastery should be studied not as an "exogenous shock" but as an intentional blending of reformist ideals with existing structures and traditions. He also shows that reformist government was cumulative in nature, and many of the individual achievements and initiatives of reformist abbots were only possible because they built upon previous achievements. Rather than looking at reforms as "flashpoint events," we need to view them as processes worthy of study in their own right. Deeply researched and carefully argued, Monastic Reform as Process will be essential reading for scholars working on the history of monasteries more broadly as well as those studying the phenomenon of reform throughout history.
This volume takes up the challenge implied in Augustine's paradox of time: How does one account for the continuity of history and the certitude of memory, if time, in the guise of an indivisible "now," cuts off any extension of the present? The thinkers and artists the essays address include Augustine, Abelard, Eriugena and Thoreau, Calvin, Shakespeare, De Rancé, Stravinsky and Messiaen, Rubens and Woolf.
A study of the problems of the early history of the Franciscan Order by one of the most important scholars of the Order, this book seeks to contribute to a stronger historical understanding of the work of St. Francis by looking into the debates and theories surrounding the formation of the Order, and the transformation of the “original ideals of St. Francis.” Translated from the German.
The Persecution of Hutterites during the Great War
To Hutterites and members of other peace churches, serving the military in any way goes against the biblical commandment “thou shalt not kill” and Jesus’s admonition to turn the other cheek when confronted with violence. Pacifists in Chains tells the story of four young men—Joseph Hofer, Michael Hofer, David Hofer, and Jacob Wipf—who followed these beliefs and refused to perform military service in World War I. The men paid a steep price for their resistance, imprisoned in Alcatraz and Fort Leavenworth, where the two youngest died. The Hutterites buried the men as martyrs, citing mistreatment. Using archival material, letters from the four men and others imprisoned during the war, and interviews with their descendants, Duane C. S. Stoltzfus explores the tension between a country preparing to enter into a world war and a people whose history of martyrdom for their pacifist beliefs goes back to their sixteenth-century Reformation beginnings.