-5

Luther was both a theologian and a politician. How much of his reformation stemmed from his political side of consideration?

3

1 Answer 1

2

Luther was both a theologian and a politician. How much of his reformation stemmed from his political side of consideration?

The caveat is that in the time of Luther the notion of separation of Church and State hadn't existed yet - to some extent he is even credited with first originating this idea via articulating two kingdoms doctrine.

Luther himself was a priest by occupation, that is he didn't occupy any administrative position. The "secular authority" exercised by various kings, princes and electors in Luther's times was supposed to be granted by God, and all of them were formally subject to the authority of the Pope. Some regions were directly ruled by Archbishops or similar figures, directly combining the religious and the secular authority in one person.

Thus, reformation was political mostly in the sense that it liberated the secular authorities from the domination of the Pope, making the responsible directly to the God (i.e., only to themselves, from the non-religious viewpoint.) Luther also took positions on more immediate political questions - notably those concerning the wars of religion, treatment of Jews, etc. However, his official occupation remained religion: developing theology, preaching, religious propaganda, translating bible and other texts into German.

2
  • 2
    IOW: Luther wasn't born to politics, but rather had it thrust upon him.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 29, 2023 at 14:14
  • 1
    @T.E.D. Precisely. Erik Erikson in Young man Luther goes even further, describing Luther's awakening as a personal identity crisis, which took place in certain religious and political context. But this book is admittedly more psychological than historical text.
    – Roger V.
    Jun 29, 2023 at 14:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.