Must We Burn Luther?

Thursday, February 5, 2009Friday, February 6, 2009
Programs for Teachers
Chicago Teachers as Scholars

While Luther has rightly been credited with leading the first successful reform effort that broke with the institutional church, there is a darker side to Luther’s life and writings that is often suppressed. Historians and theologians often account for that dark side by dividing Luther into two people: the young Luther, who wrote revolutionary tracts such as The Freedom of a Christian, and the old Luther, who advocated the burning of Jewish books and synagogues, the execution of rioting peasants without trial, and promoted a deep misogyny that helped to redefine the roles of women in ways that were much more limited than they had been under Roman Catholicism. This seminar will try to integrate the young and the old Luther and explain the motivation behind dividing him into two distinct people.

Seminar led by Ray Clemens, Illinois State University