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date: 21 August 2017

Martin Luther’s Writings

Summary and Keywords

Luther’s reform spread as rapidly and as widely as it did because of his effective marshalling of the media of oral proclamation and the relatively new medium of printed materials produced with movable type. His use of printed materials to spread his Reformation embraced a number of genres. The medieval genre, including the ars moriendi and meditations on Christ’s passion, provided avenues to deconstruct and reconstruct the theology and practice of the medieval church. The disputation form of the Ninety-Five Theses generated both the expanded form of argument in the “sermo” and various expressions of polemical literature. Luther transformed catechesis with his Large and Small Catechisms, helped popularize the hymn as a medium of instruction and devotion, provided “continuing education” for parish pastors through published sermons, and formulated his message for public and pastoral consumption in other genres as well. Each of these genres served, in different ways, as means for the Wittenberg reformer to shape the message and practice of the church and its people. In each genre, he continued to experiment with effective ways of calling hearers and readers to repentance and of bringing them the comfort of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Keywords: Martin Luther, catechisms, devotional writings, doctrinal writings, disputations, exegesis, genre, hymns, polemic, preaching, sermons

Luther and the Medium of Print

As Martin Luther perceived how the printers had capitalized on the publication of his Ninety-Five Theses on indulgences at the end of 1517, he almost immediately grasped the potential of the printing trade for facilitating the spread of his call for reform and for propagating his understanding of the biblical message.1 He quickly learned how to put the printers’ craft to use in the service of his efforts to transform the public teaching and practice of the Christian faith. A few months earlier, in the spring of 1517, he had published meditations on the seven “penitential psalms” in German, for a lay audience,2 apparently already sensing something of the potential of the printed word. The previous month he had tried to stir up a debate on scholastic theology by printing a few copies of theses written for the promotion of Franz Günther, but they had not elicited significant reaction. The theses on indulgences, however, were different. Once the printers had shown him the fuller potential of their craft, he translated the concerns of the Ninety-Five Theses into German and into another genre. His treatise Sermon on Grace and Indulgences articulated a popular expression of the pastoral passion that had caused him to write the Theses. Its popularity made him realize that the medium of print offered a tool for spreading his ideas on a new scale. Its success very quickly caused him to compose other treatises, in Latin and German, not only mastering the medium of the printing press but also marshalling several literary genres in service of his cause.

Scholars have dwelt upon the core of Luther’s published works throughout the last five hundred years, but relatively little attention has been given to the phenomenon of his oeuvre as a whole or to the role the printing press played in the spread of his message. Studies of how he preached have included studies of his printed sermons, but only since the McLuhan discussion of media introduced topics concerning print and publishing has there been interest in Luther’s writing or publishing as a critical means of spreading his message.

Religion is translation, according to Michael DeJonge and Christiane Tietz: every religion has its tradition, its activity of passing on the insights of sacred texts, whether written or oral or both. Its established principles and precepts must be rendered suitable for conveying meaning in new times and situations.3 DeJonge labels this process “linguistic-historical contextualization,” in the case of Christianity above all, the placement of the biblical narrative and the message it conveys from the pages of Scripture into specific cultural settings.4 James Nestingen has shown how Luther transformed the tradition sent forth by Mediterranean Christianity into the idiom of the Germanic cultures of his time by preparing his Small Catechism as a tool in the catechetical genre for recultivating the Lord’s vineyard among those whose language he spoke.5 Only recently have scholars recognized the importance of taking the precise genre that Luther uses at any given time into account in evaluating what is being read. His linguistic gifts and creativity are reflected in his creative use of several theological genres as he broadcast his ideas through the medium of print.6


The term “genre” has at least two faces, specifying “a literature type which makes meaning and produces effects in a particular way.”7 That is, genre refers primarily to literary form and style (e.g., the disputation, the sermon) but also often designates the purpose or goal of a written piece (e.g., polemical or catechetical), which may direct the composition of works in more than one literary form. The term genre is also used to designate a literary activity (e.g., translation) that may be used to render a document of any literary style and many purposes into another language or situation.

Jerome Bruner observed that genre “seems to be a way of both organizing the structure of events [or arguments] and organizing the telling”8 or conveying them so that readers can integrate them into their own thinking. Neil Leroux elaborates: authors construct their writing in such a way that they communicate with readers not only through the content they present but also through “the forms into which the information is organized.” Forms can aid in conveying the author’s concerns because they “elicit our recognition of its rightness or fittingness. Furthermore, this rightness—our cooperation with and ability to apprehend, appreciate, and participate in form (whether by agreeing with it, rejoicing at it, mourning over it, being terrified by it, etc.)—is the work’s psychology, the explanation behind its function.”9

Luther skillfully employed several forms to create means whereby he was able to convey his redefinition of what it means to be Christian to his reading public. Each genre propelled the impact of this freshly expressed delineation of the experience of the faith in its own way. As a child, student, and monk, Luther had absorbed an understanding of the Christian life centered on the performance of sacred rituals—above all, attendance at mass and submission to the sacrament of penance, with the execution of its satisfactions largely through religious activities and guaranteed by the hierarchy that preserved order in Christ’s church and world. Within the framework of the worldview given him by instructors heavily influenced by the Ockhamist tradition, Luther’s own personal disposition and gifts prepared him as he studied Scripture in the 1510s to discover that, contrary to that medieval view, God comes to sinners before they can move in his direction. The Wittenberg professor came to perceive that God comes through his Word, set down in Scripture and delivered in a variety of oral, written, and sacramental forms. Although Luther communicated above all orally as preacher and lecturer,10 he exploited his gift for writing by appropriating and exploiting a number of medieval genres, including the art of dying, mediation on Christ’s passion, Rogationtide prayers, and catechetical preaching. However, he often broke through the boundaries set by earlier paradigms. His linguistic gifts and creativity are reflected in his imaginative appropriation of several theological genres that he inherited as he broadcast his ideas through the medium of print. Luther used visual imagery in creative ways in his oral and written communication, sketching word pictures and creating dramatic scenes in the imaginations of readers and hearers. This holistic view of communication proceeded from God’s speaking to his people, although Luther could not conceive of words apart from images.11

Above all, Luther counted on the content of his words to win adherence to his proposals regarding the reform of the church and his proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But his uncanny ability to attract the attention of contemporaries and to penetrate their minds and hearts with his ideas made him a rhetorical pioneer in a fashion akin to the “social media” of the 21st century, marshalling both songs and illustrations to supplement and support his words.12 Although the Reformation spread through the power of preaching—its power was magnified by the fact that this dispersal took place across a largely illiterate culture. The power of the press impelled the Wittenberg appeal for reform into the minds of Luther’s literate contemporaries in significant ways, for what was printed shaped what was preached in decisive fashion far beyond the confines of Wittenberg.13 However, none of his contemporaries had every word of his at hand, as do modern readers. No editions of his unpublished works existed, and regional publication patterns influenced what people read because local printers selected the titles they reprinted.14 Indeed, scholars had contacts who shopped regularly for them at the book fair held in Frankfurt am Main, but even they did not acquire all that appeared across the German printing industry.

Luther’s Use of Genre

The following survey cannot list all the works published under Luther’s name in his own lifetime and in the years immediately following, but it is intended to show the range of his endeavors to reach the reading public and those who could not read during his lifetime.

The Disputation

Monastic life had given Luther practice in the oral exercise of certain genres, above all, preaching, including catechesis through the sermon, which was the normal method of instructing in the faith in the Middle Ages. His calling as university professor quickly made him a skilled practitioner not only of the lecture but also of the medieval way of testing and graduating students, that is, the disputation. The disputation is composed of short, thetical statements on a topic that were defended by students against the questions of instructors and senior students. This form was also employed by instructors to test their ideas in the forum of their fellows. It thus functioned as “an element of the method of commenting on texts” when certain ideas already in circulation in written form became the subject of the disputation. Luther used the disputation to raise a discussion of the issues he was coming to view as critical for understanding the biblical message, e.g., made public through theses composed in 1516, undoubtedly under Luther’s impetus and guidance, by a candidate for the degree of Sententarius, Bartholomäus Bernhardi, on the subject of the powers of the human will apart from grace.15 Like Luther’s disputation theses “against scholastic theology” a year later, in which his negative critique attacked essential elements of Gabriel Biel’s theology in content and method,16 these theses were published only later, as were his famous theses at Heidelberg in 1518.17

After the publication of the theses on indulgences, Luther turned to the disputation form in his published report on the exchange with Johannes Eck in formal disputation in Leipzig in 151918 and continued to put it to use in the university,19 but he largely abandoned it thereafter until the University of Wittenberg reintroduced the practice in 1533. Over the last twelve years of his life, he supervised some thirty disputations20 on vital subjects, including Romans 3:28 and the relationship of faith and law,21 the nature of the human creature,22 antinomianism,23 John 1:14 and the incarnation,24 and the two natures of Christ.25 These disputations aided the entire Wittenberg team in refining the formulation of essential elements of Luther’s message.

The Sermo

Two literary genres may be said to reflect the disputation as a mode of thinking. The first is the sermo, in this case not a term for a sermon preached in church but rather for a treatise organized with a structure somewhat resembling the public university disputation. In classical and medieval Latin, sermo referred to a variety of oral discourse. Luther applied the term to his printed discussion of academic topics as well. In his usage, the sermo examined a topic in an organized manner although this genre was designed for reading and not for public discussion. Sermones generally enumerated the key points of the author’s argument, sometimes with scholastic “corollaries” of extended elaboration to support them. Several sermones by Luther appeared in 1518 and 1519; they treated a variety of pastoral and ecclesiastical concerns, some in Latin and some in German. Among the earliest sermones were two on ethical issues: usury and marriage.26 Questions of ecclesiastical practice were also treated with “sermonic” analysis.27 Luther recast several medieval genres into this form in the late 1510s, as several of his devotionally oriented sermones demonstrate.

Meditations on Christ’s passion intended to encourage those suffering serious illness had had widespread readership in the late medieval period. Luther shifted the focus of this genre in his “Sermon on the Meditation of Christ’s Holy Suffering,” moving from the “man of sorrows” model of a Christ who suffered with his people to a proclamation of the forgiveness of sins that comes from Christ’s dying for his people.28 Its twenty-four printings provided relief for “a terror-stricken heart and a despairing conscience,” in part by criticizing medieval patterns of presenting the passion that were encased in false and misleading views of the significance of Christ’s suffering and dying and in part by assuring readers that Christ has atoned for all sins on the cross. Luther distinguished the law, which through Christ’s passion highlights but also kills sinfulness, from the gospel of the passion, which delivers God’s love in the liberation of the conscience from sin’s burden and attacks sin’s hold on daily habits. In this way, a faithful Christian life reflects the trust in Christ’s work on the cross as the atonement from sin.

The prayers of the medieval pious were directed toward God on behalf of a productive season in the days between Rogate Sunday and Ascension Day each year. In 1519, Luther used this occasion to produce a sermo on proper prayer, particularly for the crops and harvest, while criticizing superstitions and other abuses that had accrued to this practice in the Late Middle Ages.29

Luther redefined the ars moriendi (the “art of dying”) genre in a sermo, explicitly enumerating the twenty points he wished his readers to absorb regarding the subject.30 The medieval genre explicating the art of dying arose in the 15th century as a kind of manual for laity as well as priests in preparing for death, and it aided the dying as well as the individual in preparing for death. Luther’s work, according to Werner Goez, breaks the bonds set by its predecessors: it “stands in an old tradition but departs from it at a decisive point and focuses on one thing: only faith in the cross of Christ helps in the final struggle.”31 No longer did the human approach to God through good works, especially of a sacred or religious nature, set the tone for preparing to meet the Maker. God had come in Jesus Christ to liberate sinners from death. Trust in his saving death and resurrection would free the dying from the effects of the law. They included “the terrifying image of death, the terrible many-sided image of sin, and the unbearable and unavoidable image of hell and eternal damnation,”32 all of which caused sinners to flee to God’s mercy in Christ. Biblical examples as well as counsel and consolation from Scripture address the reader throughout. This sermo was printed twenty-two times within three years by nine printers, demonstrating that Luther used the genre to meet general spiritual needs.

When Elector Frederick the Wise fell ill in 1519, Luther borrowed a genre from the graphic arts, the theme of the fourteen auxiliary saints, whose aid brought healing or relief in various kinds of ills and misfortune. He sketched fourteen genuine sources of consolations by describing a verbal altarpiece with comforting words on seven pairs of images, depicting the evils and the blessings within each, temporally before, temporally behind, beneath and above, and on the right and left hands. Adulterated versions that appeared in 1520 and subsequent years caused Luther to reissue an official version in 1536.33 By 1521, the word sermo had assumed for Luther its more general medieval meaning of sermon and was used on occasion from that time on for texts of what he had preached.34


The second genre that somewhat parallels and reflects the university disputation is often labeled “polemic” although polemical arguments found their place in a variety of literary forms, including exegetical lectures, sermons, doctrinal, and even devotional treatises. Devotional literature often took on a polemical nature by attempting to deconstruct medieval practices, most regarded by all Protestant reformers as superstitious. In addition, a large number of Luther’s most important writings—and many of his less significant ventures into print—can be classified as “contra-writings,” that is, treatises specifically aimed at the deconstruction of medieval theology or practice, or composed in defense of Luther’s person or thought in reaction to an attack from critics. Irene Dingel has observed how this genre developed out of the formal university disputation but took on new existential expression as it moved into the vernacular as an appeal for popular support. Papal threats of excommunication and burning at the stake added a certain critical dimension to these exchanges.35 Luther’s polemical writings were most often directed against specific individuals who had condemned his attempts at reform. However, the need (or occasion) to write against them became also a laboratory for the further development of his thinking and the refinement of his presentation of his ideas.

E. Gordon Rupp once said that Luther had not been given sufficient credit for the polemic he did not write, given the barrage of rather vicious criticism that came his way from curial officials in Rome and some German colleagues.36 Luther’s popular presentation of his pastoral concerns regarding indulgences invited rebuttal from Conrad Wimpina, professor at Wittenberg’s rival university among the new foundations of higher education in the central German lands, Frankfurt an der Oder. A related text appeared after Luther’s confrontation with Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg in October 1518; he issued his “Acta” of their exchanges as a defense of his own position and conduct against criticisms lodged against him by his opponent.37 Luther replied to this critique, expressing his defense of his position in German, in the polemical genre that came to typify much of the public discussion of his ideas in the next decade.38 As the exchange between Wittenberg and its opponents became more heated, Luther’s pen produced responses to Johannes Eck39 and Ambrosius Catharinus,40 among others. In 1521, he and Hieronymus Emser, court theologian in Leipzig, traded barbs in print.41

Continuing attacks elicited his “Confession” or “Assertion” of the teaching that Roman officialdom had rejected, issued in Latin with German translation.42 Other attacks on him were in the works. That of Jacob Masson (Latomus) of the University of Louvain in 1521 elicited Luther’s extended exposition of his understanding of what it means to be human and how justification comes to believers through repentance, apart from the works that follow from faith.43 King Henry VIII of England, with the help of his ghost writer, Thomas Wolsey, entered the lists against Luther with a response to his Babylonian Captivity, to which Luther responded with succinct summaries of his own views on a series of divisive issues, repudiating papal teaching and practice.44 Duke George of Saxony joined his court theologians, including Emser, in attacking Luther, and Luther replied in kind, most importantly in 1525 and in 1533.45 Toward the end of his life, Luther responded to the harsh assaults of Duke Heinrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel on Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony with his Wider Hans Wurst of 1541, an exposition of the reformer’s doctrine of the church and a critique of papal ecclesiology.46 The most famous of Luther’s contra-writings appeared at the end of 1525, in response to the attack of Desiderius Erasmus on his understanding of the boundness of the choice of the sinful human will in relation to God. His longest single work, De servo arbitrio, disappeared quickly from the public agenda in the 16th century, only to emerge in the 19th century as a milestone of his doctrinal development even though he abandoned the use of certain terminology and argumentation to maintain his views in succeeding years.47

Apart from direct personal engagement with his critics, Luther also authored a number of critical examinations of medieval pious practice, particularly those surrounding the Lord’s Supper because the mass claimed the center of medieval devotion. These tracts may be regarded as contra-writings because they deconstruct central elements of piety, but at the same time, they should also be seen as devotional writings. Emphasis fell on the construction of a new attitude toward the Lord’s Supper, defined especially as a concretization of the believer’s fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with other believers, in his sermo on The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods of December 1519.48 Six months later, A Treatise on the New Testament, That is, The Holy Mass appeared, giving evidence that Luther’s view of transubstantiation, present in the earlier treatise, had disappeared; the critique that appeared two months later in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church had not yet been developed.49 That longer treatise, published in October 1520, rejected and deconstructed medieval teaching on transubstantiation, communing with one kind, the mass as sacrifice, and the celebration of the mass on behalf of the dead. A series of analyses of aspects of medieval sacramental teaching and practice followed over the next six years: a protestatio, calling for the Abrogation of the Private mass (1521),50 On the Misuse of the Mass (1521),51 On the Reception of Both Kinds in the Sacrament (1522),52 On the Veneration of the Sacrament of the Holy Body of Christ (1523),53 and On the Abomination of the Secret Mass (1525).54

By 1525, Luther was turning the primary attention of his defense of his teachings to those who had supported him initially but then rejected his teaching on the Lord’s Supper and related issues. The first of a series of treatises countered the views of his colleague Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt.55 Three of his sermons preached in Wittenberg in early 1526 against deviations from his teaching on the sacrament of the altar were published later in that year,56 as a flurry of attacks on his sacramental doctrine was beginning to appear from the pens of Ulrich Zwingli, Johannes Oecolampadius, and others.57 Luther issued two major, extensive, rejoinders to these condemnations of what his opponents feared was a failure to abandon totally superstitious medieval teachings on the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. His That These Words of Christ, “This Is My Body,” Still Stand Firm against the Schwärmer, etc., appeared in 1527, followed by Concerning Christ’s Supper, Confession the following year, placing the genre of his personal confession of faith into the context of his critique of his “sacramentarian” opponents.58 Other contra-writings appeared in the 1530s and 1540s; noteworthy are a final rejoinder to the Zwinglian circle in his Brief Confession Concerning the Holy Sacrament of 154459 and a final critique of the papacy, Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil of 1545.60

Luther’s treatises against the Jews constitute a somewhat different kind of contra-writings and fall into two categories, those that reacted against Jews because of reports the reformer had received concerning physical attacks on Christians or attempts to convert Christians to Judaism, which he did not investigate but simply took at face value, and those that criticized specific Jewish exegetes for their failure to find the Trinity in certain Old Testament passages and to identify Old Testament messianic prophecies as such.61


Most medieval Christians had not often heard sermons; the celebration of the mass sufficed to aid them in making contact with God. But church officials recognized preaching as an important medium for conveying the biblical message, particularly for instructing in the basic elements of the catechism.62 From the 13th century, the preaching orders, including Luther’s own Augustinians, gained significance in religious life in Western Europe. Luther’s monastic duties included preaching to his brothers in the cloister and providing homiletical help in the town church. Elmer Kiessling demonstrated that his style evolved from the scholastic forms that he had learned (1512–1516), with an emphasis on logical unfolding of ideas, chiefly on ethical topics, to sermons that included the warmth of monastic-mystical piety, focusing on devotion to Jesus (1516–1517) and then slowly incorporating his new insights (1516–1522).63 His initial use of ancient homily style, commenting on one verse after another, later turned to other expository and topical methods, with explanation of linguistic and historical elements of the text, much catechetical instruction, enlived occasionally with often imaginatively developed narratives, typology, and even some allegory on occasion.64 Among Luther’s earliest publications were treatments of the basic elements of the catechism, probably written out of sermons preached in the Augustinian monastery, including treatments on the sacraments and the Lord’s Prayer.65

A host of Luther’s individual sermons were published, based on the notes taken by his official amanuenses, particularly Georg Rörer, as were the series of homiletical treatments of certain biblical books that he undertook at the town church in Wittenberg, particularly during the absences of Johann Bugenhaghen. They included Genesis (1523–1524),66 Exodus (1524–1527), Leviticus (1527–1528), Numbers (1528–1529), Matthew (1528–1529, 1530, 1532, 1537–1540),67 John (1528–1529, 1530–1532, 1537–1540),68 and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (1523).69 Among the most important of the individual sermons or groups of a few sermons were those on the proper distinction of law and gospel,70 1 Corinthians 15,71 and Ephesians 6.72

In 1521/1522, Luther had already appropriated the postil genre as a means of providing continuing education for priests who wished to proclaim the evangelical message coming from Wittenberg. His first attempts at providing preaching aids for Sunday pericopal preaching took form in extensive Latin narratives, some too long to be simply translated and read, but certainly with study material sufficient to generate several sermons. Students took over the task of editing selected sermons, and the publication of his postils provided models for pericopal preaching on both gospel and epistle lessons to thousands of pastors into the 17th century and beyond.73

Academic Lectures

Luther’s sermons from 1520 onward often had elements that sounded like his lectures to students; in fact, students comprised a significant part of his hearers at the town church. Luther’s lectures also included homiletical passages, as he had warned readers in the 1519 publication of his lectures of 1516 on Galatians. These lectures, though delivered in quite traditional style, appeared in print as “not so much a commentary as a testimony of my faith in Christ.”74 His subsequent published lectures sometimes reflected much of the medieval method of providing glosses on individual words or phrases and scholia that harvested the doctrinal content of the text, but particularly the two major commentaries of the last fifteen years of his life, again on Galatians and on Genesis, reflected the narrative style he had used in 1519. His lectures on the psalms (1513–1515), Romans (1515–1516), and Hebrews (1517–1518) did not appear in print, but beginning with his lectures on the psalms in 1519–1521, most of his lectures became, some more slowly than others, available to the reading public. They included semiprivate lectures on Deuteronomy in 152375 and formal academic lectures on the minor prophets in 1525–1526, Ecclesiastes in 1526,76 1 John,77 Titus,78 and Philemon in 1527,79 1 Timothy in 1528,80 Isaiah in 1527–1530,81 and Song of Solomon in 1530.82 Lectures on Galatians in 1531 and on Genesis 1535–1545 were complemented by occasional lectures on psalms and parts of Isaiah, but his major exegetical work took place in the lectures on Galatians and Genesis, which quickly became two of his most influential works in the subsequent years of the 16th century.83

Devotional Treatises

Luther had begun experimenting with the use of the printed word to cultivate the piety of the people as he edited the “German theology” from the monastic-mystical circles arising out of the teaching of Johannes Tauler84 and with his exposition of the seven “penitential psalms” in 1517. This devotional focus could occur in a variety of formal genres as well as in works dedicated specifically to personal or family meditation. His exposition of the text of the Magnificat, written for his elector’s nephew and eventual successor, Johann Friedrich, in 1521, presented Mary’s song as a model of trust in God’s promise for all.85 Occasional treatments of psalms, often based on sermons Luther had preached, offered readers similar sources for pondering God’s address to his human creatures.86 Throughout his career, his concern for nurturing the trust of individuals and families in Christ moved him to produce reflections on passages of Scripture that pointed readers to what God had done for them in the life, death, and the resurrection of Jesus and what He was continuing to do for them each day. Such devotional works also focused on specific topics rather than specific Scripture texts, such as Luther’s earlier “sermones” on Christ’s passion, preparation for dying, or the sacraments. He offered consolation to those who were suffering harassment or persecution from hostile governments intent on suppressing the Reformation87 and to mothers who had miscarried, and he gave advice for proper behavior under the threat of plague.88

Luther also appropriated the medieval form of the prayer book, which combined elements of catechetical review with preparation for confession of sin to a priest, aids for prayer, and stimulation for meditation on the biblical narrative. In 1522, he published the first of at least thirty-four printings of his Prayer Booklet, one of his most popular works.89 His A Simple Way to Pray, cast in the form of a response to his barber, Peter Beskendorf, also provided a model for praying and meditating on the believer’s conversations with God within the framework of the catechism.90


Though closely related, sometimes so close as to be indistinguishable, the catechetical genre formed around the traditional core of fundamental Christian instruction, the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. With additions including treatments of the sacraments, these claim a place among Luther’s most enduring and widely used works. He had encouraged others and did some catechetical writing himself, following in the tradition of monastic preaching. In 1529, he produced his catechetical chart as well as his Small Catechism, structured as a dialogue between parents, teachers, or pastor and the child, and his Large Catechism, printed sermons on the catechetical core.91 Catechesis formed the largest single component of Luther’s sermons, and it occurs in many other kinds of works, apart from these formal tools for basic instruction in the faith, that carried Luther’s teaching to the children of German-speaking lands and their parents.

Doctrinal Works

Luther addressed critical issues of biblical interpretation and application in straightforward works as well. They went far beyond the sermo form in length and detail, supplying readers with narrative examinations of issues, set forth through exegetical exposition, patristic evidence, and logical and rhetorical argumentation. Such works aimed at convincing readers and showing them how to teach and implement certain doctrines, transforming them into personal faith and practice. Because that process often required the deconstruction of scholastic theology and popular practice as well as positive presentations of his teaching, some of these treatises began from—and sometimes consisted largely of—a polemical base. His treatises on the Lord’s Supper against Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Karlstadt, and others, as well as many treatments of medieval doctrine and ritual praxis, fall into this category.

Most prominent in 21st-century retrospect are the programmatic treatises of 1520, often numbered three though properly including a fourth and perhaps two other works from subsequent months, which laid before the public, above all the Latin readership, Luther’s fundamental proposals for the reform of teaching and life. The first, oft-ignored, of the series, On Good Works, appeared June 1520,92 two months before his adaption of popular grievances calling for extensive reform of religious practice and related matters, the Open Letter to the German Nobility of the German Nation, concerning Reform of the Christian Estate. It voiced longstanding complaints of the German diets against Rome on the basis of Luther’s theological framework.93 On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church was issued in October as the Wittenberg critique of the sacramental, sacerdotal system of the ritualized understanding of the Christian faith.94 Luther’s only full-length exposition of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith, On the Freedom of a Christian, was published in November 1520, accompanied by an appeal to Pope Leo X for understanding of his position.95 Luther continued to set forth his fundamental ideas in two contra-writings in the following months, Against Latomus of June 1521, which treated core issues including justification by faith, and Judgment on Monastic Vows, which criticized the underlying doctrine and the practices of the monastic way of life.96

Among other examples, including the sacramental discourses opposing the critique of Zwingli and others, are his works at the end of the 1530s and early 1540s, which were evoked by the conversations with Roman Catholic theologians and the possibility of the meeting of the council called by Pope Paul III. His expositions of the ancient creeds in 153897 and On the Councils and the Church98 of 1539 as well as the contra-writing Wider Hans Wurst are examples of such doctrinal essays.

Shorter treatises, often occasioned by an event or challenge from opponents, also placed Luther’s teaching on vital topics before the reading public. Examples include those occasioned by the threat of public disorder aroused by Karlstadt’s zealous moves for change in Wittenberg99 and by Thomas Müntzer’s apocalyptic preaching;100 his discourse on the pastoral office and the priesthood of the baptized, addressed to Bohemian reform movements;101 and treatment on a range of practical matters of Christian life and behavior, including family life,102 education of children,103 military service,104 and economic issues.105 The peasants’ revolt106 and the threat of imperial military efforts against Evangelical governments and churches107 attracted Luther’s attention as well.

Instructions for Church Life and Liturgy

Johannes Bugenhagen, Luther’s colleague on the theological faculty and pastor at the Wittenberg town church, was the Wittenberg team’s expert on the composition of regulations for church life (Kirchenordnungen), but Luther was involved in the composition of the instructions for the Saxon visitors, even if Philip Melanchthon seems to have played the chief role in their construction.108 Luther’s own response to the request from the town council in Leisnig in 1523 represents a brief venture into the genre of Kirchenordnung that Luther largely left to colleagues, especially Johannes Bugenhagen.109

Luther offered models for both Latin and German liturgy to the reading public as well as a number of tracts presenting forms for occasional services, including confession and absolution.110 He also enriched worship with his thirty-seven published hymn texts111 and his support of printing hymnbooks.112

Luther’s name sold books, so a preface from his pen became a coveted addition to the works of his followers. He composed some ninety of them in the last quarter-century of his life, most blog-like in their brief and usually pointed words of encouragement or polemic.

Although translation is itself not a genre, Luther’s work as translator, first of all of Scripture but also of hymn texts, made significant contributions to the ecclesiastical life of German-speaking lands (and to the economic welfare of several printers). The New Testament from 1522 on and subsequently published parts of the Old Testament had already won a wide readership and had begun to make a deep impression on German piety, to say nothing of the use of the language, before the appearance of the complete Bible in 1534. Before Luther’s death, fourteen editions of this quite expensive book (initially two gulden, eight groschen, at that time worth nearly ten bushels of oats) had come from German presses and even elicited largely plagiarized imitations from the Roman Catholic party.113

Two genres, largely unpublished during Luther’s lifetime, also spread Luther’s influence and message in noteworthy ways. His massive correspondence (of which more than 4,000 letters survive and these comprise only a part of his epistolary exchanges) advised princes and town councils, adjudicated disputes, provided consolation, made requests in behalf of students and others, offered instruction on critical issues of doctrine and ethics, attacked foes and critics, and simply shared the warmth of friendship.114 The publication of selected letters of Luther began as early as 1525 and continued when, for instance, Matthias Flacius set his correspondence urging no compromise with the papal party from 1530 before the public in 1549, and Johann Aurifaber, one of Luther’s amanuenses, edited two volumes that appeared in 1556 and 1565. Other focused collections appeared from time to time over the following years, and some letters were included in the larger editions of Luther’s works.115

Luther’s students prized and treasured his words, not only in the lecture hall and church, but also at the table. His “table talks” were recorded for private use by a number of students, and in 1566 Johannes Aurifaber edited them, taking some liberties with the notes he had received from others, and organizing the quotations within the loci system he and his fellow students had learned from Philip Melanchthon. Questions are often raised about the accuracy of student memory and the editor’s processing of those memories, but the students did count what their “German prophet” actually said as important. Thus, even considering the natural slippage in such a process, these reports still provide good insights into Luther’s thinking.116

As new theories emerge from current linguistic and literary discussions, scholars will continue to offer new insights into the dynamic that was sparked by the combination of Martin Luther’s natural linguistic and literary gifts, his dedicated study of the biblical text, his lively engagement with his culture, informed as it was by pastoral concerns, and the possibilities for communicating his ideas opened by movable type and the graphic presentations at its command.

Review of the Literature

Luther’s works are efficiently indexed in Kurt Aland’s Hilfsbuch zum Lutherstudium.117 As noted previously, scholars have given relatively little attention to Luther’s use of and interaction with the printing industry and to his use of genre despite their extensive treatment of his use of language.118 In his Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan opened up a new research field, the impact of media upon thinking, but Luther played no significant role in his work.119 Elizabeth Eisenstein treated “the Scriptural tradition recast” by the Reformation in some detail. She points out that “even before Luther . . . Western Christendom had already called on printers to help with the crusade against the Turks,”120 but she explores in some detail how Wittenberg reform efforts rode on the printed word, even while emphasizing the spoken word at the center of human existence. The most thorough, extensive examinations of Luther’s relationship to the printing industry are those of Mark U. Edwards Jr.121 and Andrew Pettegree.122 John L. Flood also has provided a helpful survey of the topic.123 The Luther Handbuch provides several essays on the wider range of genre used by Luther;124 The Oxford Handbook to Luther’s Theology contains four focused genre studies.125

Further Reading

Arnold, Matthieu. La Correspondance de Luther. Étude historique, Littéraire et théologique. Mainz: von Zabern, 1996.Find this resource:

Bluhm, Heinz. Martin Luther, Creative Translator. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1965.Find this resource:

Bluhm, Heinz. Luther Translator of Paul. Studies in Romans and Galatians. New York: Lang, 1984.Find this resource:

Burger, Christoph. “Luther’s Thought Took Shape in Translation of Scripture and Hymns.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lubomir Batka, 481–488. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Dingel, Irene. “Pruning the Vines, Plowing Up the Vineyard. The Sixteenth-Century Culture of Controversy between Disputation and Polemic.” In The Reformation as Christianization. Essays on Scott Hendrix’s Christianization Thesis. Edited by Anna Marie Johnson and John A. Maxfield, 397–408. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2012.Find this resource:

Dingel, Irene. “Zwischen Disputation und Polemik. ‘Streitkultur’ in den nachinterimistischen Kontroversen.” In Streitkultur und Öffentlichkeit im konfessionellen Zeitalter. Edited by Henning P. Jürgens and Thomas Weller, 17–29. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013.Find this resource:

Ebeling, Gerhard. Luthers Seelsorge. Theologie in der Vielfalt der Lebensituationen an seinen Briefen dargestellt. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr, 1997.Find this resource:

Edwards, Mark U., Jr.Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Haemig, Mary Jane. “The Influence of the Genres of Exegetical Instruction, Preaching, and Catechesis on Luther.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lubomir Batka, 449–461. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Junghans, Helmar. “Die Tischreden Martin Luthers.” In idem, Spätmittelalter, Luthers Reformation, Kirche in Sachsen. Ausgewählte Aufsätze. Edited by Michael Beyer and Günther Wartenberg, 155–176. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2001.Find this resource:

Kolb, Robert. Luther and the Stories of God, Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012.Find this resource:

Leroux, Neil R.Luther’s Rhetoric: Strategies and Style from the Invocavit Sermons. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 2002.Find this resource:

Mennecke-Haustein, Ute. Luthers Trostbriefe. Gütersloh, Germany: Mohn, 1989.Find this resource:

Nembach, Ulrich. Predigt des Evangeliums. Luther als Prediger, Pädagoge und Rhetor. Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 1972.Find this resource:

Pettegree, Andrew. Brand Luther. 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation. New York: Penguin, 2015.Find this resource:

Rittgers, Ronald K. “How Luther’s Engagement in Pastoral Care Shaped his Theology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lubomir Batka, 462–470. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Schilling, Johannes, et al. “Gattungen.” In Luther Handbuch. Edited by Albrecht Beutel, 258–353. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.Find this resource:

Veit, Patrice. Das Kirchenlied in der Reformation Martin Luthers. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1986.Find this resource:

Vind, Anna. “Luther’s Thought Assumed Form in Polemics.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lubomir Batka, 471–480. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Vind, Anna. Latomus and Luther. The debate: Is every good deed a sin? Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016.Find this resource:


(1.) Andrew Pettegree, Brand Luther. 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation (New York: Penguin, 2015); Mark U. Edwards Jr.Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

(2.) WA 1:158–220.

(3.) Michael P. DeJonge and Christiane Tietz, eds., Translating Religion. What Is Lost and Gained? (New York and Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge, 2015), see esp. the editors’ introduction and conclusion, 1–12 and 169–173; Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message. The Missionary Impact on Culture (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989).

(4.) Michael P. DeJonge, “Historical Translation: Pseudo-Dionysius, Thomas Aquinas, and the Unknown God,” in Michael DeJonge and Christiane Tietz, Translating Religion, 29–44.

(5.) “Luther’s Cultural Translation of the Catechism,” Lutheran Quarterly 15 (2001): 440–452; on the designation of the translation efforts of the reformers in the 16th century as “recultivation,” see Scott H. Hendrix, Recultivating the Vineyard, The Reformation Agendas of Christianization (Louisville, KY, and London: Westminster John Knox, 2004).

(6.) See the articles on “Gattungen” in Luther Handbuch, ed. Albrecht Beutel (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 258–353. Among recent studies focusing on Luther’s use of genre, cf. Mary Jane Haemig, “The Influence of the Genres of Exegetical Instruction, Preaching, and Catechesis on Luther,” in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, eds. Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lubomir Batka (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 449–461; Ronald K. Rittgers, “How Luther’s Engagement in Pastoral Care Shaped his Theology,” ibid., 462–470; Anna Vind, “Luther’s Thought Assumed Form in Polemics,” ibid., 471–480; Christoph Burger, “Luther’s Thought Took Shape in Translation of Scripture and Hymns,” ibid., 481–488; and Christine Helmer, The Trinity and Martin Luther: a Study on the Relationship between Genre, Language and the Trinity in Luther’s Works (1523–1546) (Mainz: von Zabern, 1999).

(7.) James W. Voelz, What Does This Mean? Principles of Biblical Interpretation in the Post-Modern World, 2d ed. (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1997), 294.

(8.) Jerome Bruner, Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), 6.

(9.) Neil R. Leroux, Luther’s Rhetoric: Strategies and Style from the Invocavit Sermons (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 2002), 21–22.

(10.) Edwards, Printing, 11.

(11.) Mark Mattes, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2017).

(12.) “How Luther went viral,” The Economist, December 17, 2011: 93–96.

(13.) Edwards, Printing, 37–38, 11.

(14.) Edwards, Printing, 1–6.

(15.) WA 1:145–151.

(16.) WA 1:224–228, LW 31:9–16; cf. Ingo Klitsch, “Authoritätenverwendung in der‚ Disputatio contra scholasticam theologiam,” in Volker Leppin, ed., Reformatorische Theologie und Autoritäten. Studien zur Genese des Schriftprinzips bei jungem Luther (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), 42–54 (39–86).

(17.) WA 1:350–374, LW 31:39–70.

(18.) Disputatio et excusatio F. Martini Luther, 1519, WA 2:158–161, 254–383, cf. 2: 391–435.

(19.) See the list in Luther Handbuch, 332–333.

(20.) See the list in Luther Handbuch, 336–337.

(21.) WA 39/I:53–59 and 59–62, LW 34:109–132; WA 39/I:84–126, 202–257, LW 34:151–196.

(22.) WA 39/I:175–177, LW 34:137–144; cf. Gerhard Ebeling, Lutherstudien, Band II. Disputatio de Homine, 3 vols. (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1977–1989).

(23.) WA 39/I:345–357, 360–485; 39, 2:419–425, 489—584.

(24.) WA 39/II:3–33, LW 38:239–277.

(25.) WA 39:293–122.

(26.) Ein Sermon von dem Wucher, 1519, WA 6:1–8, appearing under the same title, 1520 WA 6:36–608; Ein Sermon von dem ehelichen Stand, 1519, WA 2:166–171.

(27.) Sermo de poenitentia, WA 1:317–324; Sermo de digna praeparatione cordis pro suscipiendo sacramento eucharistiae, WA 1:329–334; Sermo de virtute excommunicationis, WA 1:638–643.

(28.) WA 2:136–142; LW 42:7–14.

(29.) Ein Sermon von dem gepeet und procession yn der Creutz wochen, 1519, WA 2:175–179; LW 42:87–93.

(30.) Ein Sermon von der Bereitung zum Sterben, 1519, WA 2:685–697; LW 42:99–115.

(31.) Werner Goez, “Luthers ‘Ein Sermon von der Bereitung zum Sterben’ und die spätmittelalterliche ars moriendi,” in: Lutherjahrbuch 48 (1981): 114 (97–114); the text in WA 2:685–697.

(32.) WA 1:686, 31–35; LW 42:101.

(33.) WA 6:104–134; LW 42:121–166.

(34.) E.g., the Invocavit sermons, WA 10/III:1–64; LW 51:70–100, and his sermons on John 20:19–31 of 1522; WA 10/III:86–99.

(35.) “Streitkultur und Kontroversschrifttum im späten 16. Jahrhundert. Versuch einer methodischen Standortbestimmung,” in Kommunikation und Transfer im Christentum der frühen Neuzeit, eds. Irene Dingel and Wolf-Friedrich Schäufele (Mainz: Zabern, 2007), 95–111; Irene Dingel, “Pruning the Vines, Plowing Up the Vineyard. The Sixteenth-Century Culture of Controversy between Disputation and Polemic,” in The Reformation as Christianization. Essays on Scott Hendrix’s Christianization Thesis, eds. Anna Marie Johnson and John A. Maxfield (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 397–408; Irene Dingel, “Zwischen Disputation und Polemik. ‘Streitkultur’ in den nachinterimistischen Kontroversen,” in Streitkultur und Öffentlichkeit im konfessionellen Zeitalter, eds. Henning P. Jürgens and Thomas Weller (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 17–29.

(36.) In a lecture at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, Missouri, March 30, 1973.

(37.) Acta Augustana, WA 2:6–26; LW 31:259–292.

(38.) Eine Freiheit des Sermons päpstlichen Ablaß und Gnade belangend, WA 1:383–393.

(39.) Contra malignum Joh. Eccii iudicium . . . , 1519, WA 2:700–708.

(40.) Ad librum . . . Ambrosii Catharini . . . responsio, 1521, WA 7:705–778.

(41.) Ad aegocerotem Emserianum, 1519, WA 2:658–679; Auf des Bocks zu Leipzig Antwort, 1521, WA 7:271–283; Auf das überchristlich, übergeistlich und überkünstlich Buch Bock Emsers zu Leipzig Antwort, 1521, WA 7:621–688; Ein Widerspruch D. Luthers seines Irrtums . . . , 1521, WA 8:247–254.

(42.) WA 7:94–151, in German; WA 7:308–357; LW 32:7–99.

(43.) WA 8:43–128; LW 32:137–260. Cf. Anna Vind, Latomus and Luther. The debate: Is every good deed a sin? (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016).

(44.) Contra Henricum Regem Angliae, 1522, WA 10/II:180–222 (Latin), 227–262 (German).

(45.) Ein Sendbrief . . . an Herzog Georg . . . , 1525, WA BR 3:641–643; Verantwortung der aufgelegten Aufruhr von Herzog Georg . . . , 1533, WA 38:96–127, Die kleine Antwort auf Herzog Georgs nächstes Buch, 1533, WA 38:141–170; cf. Mark U. Edwards Jr.Luther’s Last Battles. Politics and Polemics, 1531–46 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), 38–67.

(46.) WA 51:469–572, LW 41:185–256; cf. Edwards, Last Battles, 143–162.

(47.) De servo arbitrio, WA 18:600–787; LW 33:15–295; cf. Robert Kolb, Bound Choice, Election, and Wittenberg Theological Method from Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005), 11–66.

(48.) WA 2:742–758; LW 35:49–73.

(49.) WA 6:502, 1–526; LW 36:19–57.

(50.) WA 8:411–476.

(51.) WA 8:482–563; LW 36:133–230.

(52.) WA 10/II:11–41; LW 36:237–267.

(53.) WA 11:431–456; 275–305.

(54.) WA 18:22–36; LW 36:311–328.

(55.) Was sich D. A. Bodenstein von Karlstadt mit . . . Luther beredet zu Jena, 1524, WA 15:334–347; Erklärung, wie Karlstadt seine Lehre vom den hochwüürdigen Sakrament . . . achtet und geachtet haben will, 1525, WA 18:453–466, Entschuldigung D. A. Karlstadts des falschen Namens des Aufruhrs, WA 18:436–445; Wider die himmlischen Propheten . . . , 1525, WA 18:62–125, 134–214; LW 40:79–143, 144–223. See Amy Nelson Burnett, Karlstadt and the Origins of the Eucharistic Controversy: A Study in the Circulation of Ideas. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), and Mark U. Edwards Jr., Luther and the False Brethren (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1975), 34–59.

(56.) WA 19:482–523; LW 36:335–361.

(57.) Some twenty-five are listed in LW 37:8–11; cf. Edwards, False Brethren, 82–111.

(58.) WA 23:64–283; LW 37:13–150; WA 26:261–509; LW 37:161–372.

(59.) WA 54:141–167; LW 38:287–319.

(60.) WA 54:206–299; LW 41:206–299; Edwards, Last Battles, 163–202.

(61.) Chief among them are Against the Sabbatarians, 1538, WA 50:312–337; Against the Jews and their Lies, 1543, WA 53:417–552; LW 47:137–306; Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi, 1543, WA 53:579–648; cf. Edwards, Last Battles, 115–142. The forthcoming study of these writings by Stephen Burnett will offer an interpretation of these writings in their setting within late medieval Jewish exegesis and previous Christian use of it.

(62.) Cf., e.g., Paul W. Robinson, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray. Preaching the Pater Noster in Germany and Austria 1100–1500,” PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2001.

(63.) The Early Sermons of Luther and their Relation to the Pre-Reformation Sermon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1935), 68–108.

(64.) Ibid., 60–62. Cf. Ulrich Nembach, Predigt des Evangeliums. Luther als Prediger, Pädagoge und Rhetor (Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 1972), Robert Kolb, Luther and the Stories of God, Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).

(65.) WA 1:2250–256, 258–265, 319–324; WA 2:80–130; LW 42:19–81; cf. The Latin text of a series of sermons preached to the people, WA 1:398–521.

(66.) WA 14:14–488; WA 24:1–710; cf. Sabine Hiebsch, Figura ecclesiae: Lea und Rachel in Martin Luthers Genesispredigten (Münster, Germany: LIT, 2002).

(67.) Matt. 5–7, 1530/1532; WA 32:299–544; LW 22:3–294.

(68.) John 1–4, 1537–1539; WA 46:568–789, 47:1–231; LW 225–530; John 16, 1538/1539; WA 46:1–111; LW 24:299–422.

(69.) WA 12:259–399; LW 30:3–145; WA 14:14–91; LW 30:149–215.

(70.) WA 36:8–23; WA 45:145–152.

(71.) WA 36:478–696; LW 28:59–213.

(72.) WA 34/II:360–371.

(73.) See the careful tracing of the history of the publication of his postils by Benjamin Mayes in LW 75:xiii–xxxii.

(74.) WA 2:449, 16–19; LW 27:159.

(75.) WA 14:497–744; LW 9:11–311.

(76.) WA 20:7–203; LW 15:3–187. Cf. Rosin, Reformers, 79–150.

(77.) WA 20:599–801; LW 30:219–327.

(78.) WA 25:6–69; LW 29:3–90.

(79.) WA 25:69–78; LW 29:93–105.

(80.) WA 26:4–120; LW 28:217–384.

(81.) WA 31/II:1–585, 25:87–401; LW 16 and 17.

(82.) WA 31/II:586–769; LW 15:191–264.

(83.) See Karin Bornkamm, Luthers Auslegungen des Galaterbriefs von 1519 und 1531 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1963); John A. Maxfield, Luther’s Lectures on Genesis and the Formation of Evangelical Identity (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2008).

(84.) First in an incomplete edition, see Luther’s preface, WA 1:53, and then in 1518, in a complete edition: Luther’s preface, WA 1:378–179.

(85.) WA 7:538–604; LW 21:279–358.

(86.) Among many examples, on Psalm 90, 1534/1535, WA 41:79–239; LW 13:75–141; Psalms of comfort (37, 62, 94, 109) for Queen Mary of Hungary at the death of her husband, Louis II, in battle against the Turkish invaders, 1526, WA 19:552–615; LW 14:209–277.

(87.) A Missive to All Who Suffer Persecution Because of God’s Word, 1522, WA 10/II:53–60; LW 43:61–70, To All Christians in Worms, 1523, WA BR 3:138–140; LW 43:77–79, A Christian Letter of Consolation to the People of Miltenberg, 1524, WA 15:69–78; LW 43:103–112; Comfort for the Christians at Halle in Regard to the Death of Their Preacher George, 1527, WA 23:402–431; LW 43:145–165.

(88.) WA 23:339–379; LW 43:119–165.

(89.) WA 10/II:375–501; LW 43:11–45.

(90.) WA 38:358–375; LW 43:193–211.

(91.) Die Bekenntnisschrfiten der Evangelische-Lutherischen Kirche, ed. Irene Dingel (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 852–910, 912–1162; The Book of Concord, eds. Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 347–375 (Small Catechism), 379–480 (Large Catechism); cf. WA 30/I:243–425 (Small Catechism), 125–238 (Large Catechism).

(92.) WA 6:202–276; LW 44:21–114.

(93.) WA 6:404–469; LW 44:123–217.

(94.) WA 6:497–573; LW 36:11–126.

(95.) WA 7:3–38, 42–73; LW 31:333–377.

(96.) WA 8:573–669; LW 44:251–400; Lohse, Theology, 137–143.

(97.) WA 50:262–283; LW 34:201–229.

(98.) WA 50:509–563; LW 41:9–178.

(99.) A Faithful Admonition to All Christians, to Avoid Insurrection and Public Disorder, 1522, WA 8:676–687; LW 45:57–74.

(100.) On Temporal Authority, To What Extent One Must Obey It, 1523, WA 11:245–280; LW 45:81–129.

(101.) On the Establishment of the Ministry of the Church, 1523, WA 12:169–196; LW 40:7–44.

(102.) On Marriage Matters, 1530, WA 30/III:205–248; LW 46:265–320.

(103.) A Sermon on Keeping Children in School, 1530, WA 30/II:517–588; LW 46:213–258.

(104.) Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved, 1526, WA 19:623–662; LW 46:137.

(105.) Trade and Usury, 1524, WA 15:293–313, 321–322, WA 6:36–60; LW 45:245–310; Admonition to Pastors to Preach against Usury, 1540, WA 51:331–424.

(106.) Luther’s three most important treatises on the Peasants Revolts are found in WA 18:291–324, 357–361, 384–401; LW 46:27–55, 49–55, 63–85.

(107.) Warning to His Dear German People, WA 30/III:276–320; LW 47:11–43.

(108.) WA 26:195–240; LW 40:269–320.

(109.) Ordnung eines gemeinen Kastens, 1523, WA 12:11–30.

(110.) WA 12:51–52; WA 19:537–541; WA BR 3:462–463, §847; WA 30/I:343–345, 383–387; WA 30/III:74–80; WA 38:423–431; LW 53:96–126; cf. Vilmos Vajta, Luther on Worship (Philadelphia: Mulhenberg, 1958); Joseph Herl, Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism: Choir, Congregation, and Three Centuries of Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

(111.) WA 411–473; LW 53:211–309; cf. ed. Markus Jenny, Luthers Geistliche Lieder und Kirchengesänge (Archiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe 4; Cologne: Böhlau, 1985), and Patrice Veit, Das Kirchenlied in der Reformation Martin Luthers (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1986).

(112.) He wrote prefaces for several: WA 35:474–484; LW 53:319–334.

(113.) Pettegree, Brand Luther, esp. 185–192; cf. Heinz Bluhm, Martin Luther, Creative Translator (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1965); and idem, Luther Translator of Paul. Studies in Romans and Galatians (New York: Lang, 1984).

(114.) Cf. the eighteen volumes of letters, with indices in WA Br; selections are translated in WA 48–50; cf. Matthieu Arnold, La Correspondance de Luther. Étude historique, Littéraire et théologique (Mainz: von Zabern, 1996); Gerhard Ebeling, Luthers Seelsorge. Theologie in der Vielfalt der Lebensituationen an seinen Briefen dargestellt (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr, 1997); and Ute Mennecke-Haustein, Luthers Trostbriefe (Gütersloh, Germany: Mohn, 1989).

(115.) Hans Volz and Eike Wolgast, “Geschichte der Lutherbriefeditionen des 16. bis 20. Jahrhunderts,” in WA BR 14:353–422.

(116.) WA TR presents six volumes of “Tischreden”; cf. Helmar Junghans, “Die Tischreden Martin Luthers,” in idem, Spätmittelalter, Luthers Reformation, Kirche in Sachsen. Ausgewählte Aufsätze, eds. Michael Beyer and Günther Wartenberg (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2001), 155–176.

(117.) Hilfsbuch zum Lutherstudium (Bielefeld, Germany: Luther-Verlag, 1996).

(118.) Johannes von Lüpke, “Luther’s Use of Language,” in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, 143–155.

(119.) The Gutenberg Galaxy. The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962).

(120.) The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 303. Originally published in 1979.

(121.) Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

(122.) Brand Luther. 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation (New York: Penguin, 2015).

(123.) “The book in Reformation Germany,” in The Reformation and the Book, eds. Jean François Gilmont and Karin Maag (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 1998), 21–103.

(124.) Luther Handbuch, ed. Beutel, 258–353.

(125.) See entries above.