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date: 28 March 2017

Martin Luther in 19th-Century Theology

Summary and Keywords

Across the theology of the 19th century, Martin Luther came to represent not only the Reformation but also what it meant to be Protestant—and, more than occasionally, what it meant to be modern, German, and Lutheran, in particular. Much of the modern theological interaction with and “return” to Luther occurred in the context of the various Luther or Lutheran Reformation jubilees; these religious, commemorative occasions were themselves more often than not heavily politicized affairs: for instance, 1817, 1830, 1867, and 1883. In addition, neo-confessional movements and attempts at both retrieving and “repristinating” the theology of the Reformation confessions and the highly developed systems of Protestant orthodoxy, as well as debates over what constituted the key “principle of Protestantism,” had a significant impact in the reception and formation of Luther’s image (Lutherbild) in theology across the modern era. Certain aspects of Luther’s theology, such as his doctrine of the hiddenness of God (Deus absconditus) from his landmark treatise De servo arbitrio (The Bondage of the Will, 1525), played particularly important roles. A few basic approaches to Luther emerged in the second half of the 19th century, spearheaded by such figures as Albrecht Ritschl, Theodosius Harnack, C. F. W. Walther, and Charles Porterfield Krauth. Some, like Ludwig Feuerbach or Søren Kierkegaard, constructed idiosyncratic images of the reformer. Many of the interpretations arose from polemical concerns, whether political, ecclesiastical, or theological. Conflicts over the proper appropriation of Luther’s thought increasingly resembled the battles between Protestants and Catholics in the late Reformation over who could claim the authority of the church fathers and other patristic voices. In many respects, the story of Luther’s theological reception is also a struggle for authority.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Lutherbild, 19th century, modern theology, Albrecht Ritschl, Theodosius Harnack, C. F. W. Walther, Charles Porterfield Krauth, principle of Protestantism, theological reception

Luther and the Meanings of Protestantism

“One might call our age, the age of monuments,” Eisleben’s superintendent, Christian Berger, declaimed in 1817. “How could such an age forget one for Luther?”1 Indeed, it did not. While Friedrich Wilhelm III, the Prussian monarch, laid the cornerstone of the grand Luther monument in Wittenberg on November 1, 1817, the second day of the three-day tercentenary celebration of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, Luther himself also left a “living monument” for the 19th century: his German Bible translation, his occasional theological texts, and especially his overall theological image, which in many respects was invoked in the long age of revolutions more than any other epoch.2 Speaking in the voice of many, Berger asserted: “I would call him the German Shakespeare.”3 Like all monuments, both living and stone, one discerns the taking of various stylistic liberties here, too.

Luther, of course, duly stands at the forefront of Protestantism, and all Protestants in at least some sense have derived their identity from him. Jaroslav Pelikan has remarked that “the Lutherbild of a particular theologian or school of theologians is frequently a most reliable index to their understanding of the Christian faith.”4 By the same token, “whoever controls the ‘Luther story,’” as various commentators have observed, “has gained a powerful advantage in claiming to represent authentic Protestant teaching.”5 And a struggle for control, to be sure, characterizes the general reception of Luther from the Enlightenment to World War I. In addition to Luther himself, the contested matter of Luther’s true theological descendants loomed large.

Luther in 19th-century theology came to function as a cipher for an increasingly particular and political view of modern German Protestantism. For much of modern theology in these circumstances, as Ernst Troeltsch reflected in 1906, “the general principle of the ‘new way’ discovered by Luther was infinitely more important than his special dogmatic goal … the application of grace and deliverance.”6 As in the case of the Wittenberg monument, the various jubilees for Luther or the Lutheran Reformation provided much of the framework in which these developments took shape.7 Luther’s thought in the “mirror of German intellectual history,” let alone beyond the shifting borders of the German lands, is thus bound up tightly with broader transformations in theology, culture, and politics across the modern age.8

Enlightened Luther, Morningstar of Modernity

On the eve of the 19th century, Luther’s legacy had already undergone a series of shifts and turns, but still remained overwhelmingly positive—at least for Protestant theologians. At risk of overgeneralization, Protestants in the late Reformation tended to hail him as the fifth evangelist, the angel who proclaimed an “eternal gospel” (Rev. 14:6), as Johannes Bugenhagen professed in his sermon at Luther’s funeral, or the “true Elijah of the last days.”9 For the Protestant orthodox and the early pietists, apart from a generally enthusiastic appeal to Luther’s teaching as prophetic, nearly part and parcel with God’s word, Luther tended to garner attention for two specific reasons. First, he served as prime source material for polemics, particularly for crafting rebuttals to Catholic attacks on the emergence and consolidation of Protestant orthodoxy. Second, there existed a widely shared concern to keep the memory of Luther the person alive. Both reasons were frequently intertwined, and both reasons would continue to make their appearance in modern theology, but would become imbued with new cultural, political, and religious meanings.10

Following this, a deep-seated transformation took place in Luther’s theological reception, one seemingly concomitant with the onset of “modernity.” Several prominent traits manifest themselves. In the first place, one discerns a theological deployment of Luther in one of the predominant, if overlooked, “grand narratives” of 19th-century theology, particularly in the “bridge period” (Sattelzeit), the immediate decades on both sides of the year 1800 that witnessed a remarkably accelerated rate of change across social, political, religious, and cultural spheres. This paradigm proposed a stark “letter” versus “spirit” dichotomy in theology (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6). Here “letter” no longer stood for the law and “spirit” no longer for the work of the Holy Spirit in the gospel, but instead pointed toward a separation of the Spirit from the biblical Word. Although streams of this idea had percolated ever since the so-called Radical Reformation, Luther in this era emerged, perhaps ironically, as one of the primary authority figures in the fight between the true “living spirit” and the “dead letter”—in theology, piety, ecclesiastical practice, and popular religious culture. Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705) had declared Luther as the harbinger of freedom and collected Luther citations for support in his own work in texts like Luther Reborn (Luther Redivivus, 1697); Gottfried Arnold (1666–1714) and those in his wake declared, as a consequence of that freedom, that no one was bound to Luther.11

Luther’s speech at the Imperial Diet of Worms in this period was hailed as “the heroic stand of an isolated individual.” He had battled for freedom of conscience and waged a war against tyranny, struggles believed to be the real essence of the Reformation. But certain tasks still remained. Luther had cast off the shackles of medieval servitude; however, enlightened Protestants still needed to find their own individual paths in the world.12 In an important Parisian study by the journalist and chronicler of the French Revolution, François Mignet (1796–1884), ostensibly concerned with Luther at the Diet of Worms, the Augustinian monk had nothing to say on the theological matter of the justification of sinners before a righteous God, but waxed poetic as a general defender of liberty. Luther “said no to the [papal] legate; he said no to the pope; he said no to the emperor. In this heroic and fertile no was located the liberty of the world.”13 In one summary: “Columbus gave Europeans the seas, Copernicus opened up the skies, and Luther proclaimed the right of examination.”14 As Mark Noll has demonstrated, Luther likewise set the pace for the “public history of Scripture.” The popularity of his vernacular translation of the Bible, which itself inspired other translations, “opened up intellectual possibilities for a democratic appeal to Scripture that Protestants of all kinds eagerly exploited, and none more eagerly than in America.”15

Roots of this were already apparent in the late German Enlightenment (Aufklärung) in the works of thinkers such as Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788), Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803), and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781). The latter, in particular, colored in with dark lines the image of Luther as a kind of Promethean figure, standing against all vestiges of feudalism, absolutism, and “medievalism,” broadly construed. Lessing even engaged Luther as a character witness to support his own “sparks of the Lutheran spirit,” against his opponents like J. M. Goeze, who had criticized his famous move to publish pieces of the Wolfenbuttel Fragmente by Hermann Reimarus and thereby potentially do harm to the historicity of the Christian religion: “Oh, that he could do it, he whom I should most desire to have as my judge!—Thou Luther! … Thou hast released us from the yoke of tradition. Who will release us from the more intolerable yoke of the letter?”16 For when Luther translated the Bible into German while hiding in the Wartburg Castle in 1521–1522, Lessing maintained, he did so by his own authority in defiance of contemporary ecclesiastical practice.

For Lessing, the “true Lutheran does not take refuge in Luther’s writings but in Luther’s spirit; and Luther’s spirit absolutely requires that no man may be prevented from advancing in knowledge of the truth according to his own judgment.” Yet “all are prevented if only one is forbidden to communicate his advance in knowledge to others. For without this communication at the individual level, no progress whatever is possible.” Ultimately, Lessing concluded, “the ultimate purpose of Christianity is not our salvation, which may come how it will, but our salvation by means of our enlightenment.”17 As Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) would put it in the 1830s: “I say that Lessing continued the work of Luther. After Luther had emancipated us from the power of tradition and set up the Bible as the only source of Christianity, there arose a frigid literalism, and the letter of the Bible became as great a tyranny as tradition had formerly been. From this tyranny of the letter Lessing was our great liberator.”18

Another clear development was Luther’s conscription, as it were, into what was seen as the steady march of historical progress, the general improvement of humanity, and the unfolding religious and political fate of the modern world, particularly German-speaking central Europe. Nearly all intellectual endeavors and cultural experiences—those connected to the discipline of theology not least among them—were shot through in some sense with an ethos of retrospection and nationalism. Luther’s memory, too, would find itself drawn into this thorny mix. In the vision of Herder, General Superintendent in Weimar and a powerful influence on generations of young theology students coming of age in the early 19th century, Luther stood at the apex of two different world orders: “It is he who awakened and unchained the German language, a sleeping giant [and] … through his Reformation he stimulated an entire nation to think and feel.” An avid reader of Luther’s corpus, Herder saw in him the antidote for the contemporary cultural maladies besetting central Europe. “Become once more [Luther] the Teacher of thy nation, its Prophet, its Pastor!” he exclaimed in one characteristic passage.19

Picking up on these themes, writers like the idealist thinker Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814) saw in Luther’s arrival on the world stage incontrovertible “proof of German seriousness and German soul.” The advance of Luther’s Reformation, moreover, was “proof of the particularity of the German people … and characteristic of the German spirit,” he resounded in his Addresses to the German Nation (1808).20 Debates continue over G. W. F. Hegel’s (1770–1831) reception of Luther, but his 1830 address on the tercentenary of the Augsburg Confession envisioned the realization of the freedom for which Luther stood in the modern political state. “If religion is reformed, the political, legal, and ethical system must also be reformed,” he said. “Thus, the things which our Luther set in motion were truly new.”21 Neither the actual doctrinal content of the Augsburg Confession nor of Luther’s thought made a notable appearance. As the Göttingen theologian K. F. Stäudlin (1761–1826) relayed: “Just as it was among the Germans that the Reformation had its beginnings, so too among them in the eighteenth century there began a new revolution in religious knowledge and in the theological sciences, but without noise, violence, and war.”22

For many, to claim the mantle of Protestantism meant asserting continuity between “the great religious revolution in Germany represented by Martin Luther” and enlightened philosophy. “This philosophical revolution,” confirmed Heine, “emerged from the religious one, and … is nothing other than the logical conclusion of Protestantism.”23 As one French Kantian, Charles Villers, heralded in a quickly translated and widely circulated prize Essay on the Spirit and Influence of Luther’s Reformation (1804), Luther was the driving force in the story of European progress; that story, however, was part of a specific ideological scramble in the wake of the French Revolution and the collapse of the Old Regime.24

Luther in the Early 19th Century

A glance at the 1817 commemorative events vividly reveals the many and sundry changes afoot. In some measure, for Luther’s legacy, the events of 1817 marshaled together the forces of the past and firmly bent the direction of history. The extravagant 300th anniversary of the so-called Thesenanschlag, Luther’s famous posting of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door, came on the heels of the revolutionary and Napoleonic breakpoint from 1789 to 1815, leaving behind a profoundly altered political and intellectual landscape. It also drew from a series of Enlightenment developments. For many, tropes of Luther as theologian of the cross, rescuing the church’s proclamation of law and gospel from centuries of degenerate accretions, had outlived their sell-by date and were exchanged for visions of the reformer as the true author of European modernity. Rather than simply overthrowing the indulgence trade (with so many unintended consequences), Luther had launched the transition from a dark and superstitious medieval, scholastic Catholicism (and sometimes early modern Protestant scholasticism, too) toward a rational and tolerant modern Protestantism.

Two events from 1817 warrant mention. The first of these was the creation of the “Union-Church” (Unionskirche) in Prussia, a fusion of Lutheran and Calvinist congregations in the Hohenzollern lands enacted essentially by fiat of Friedrich Wilhelm III and the Prussian ruling elite. The Union would continue to chip away at what was deemed old-style, outmoded confessionalism. Doing away with subtle confessional distinctions would help recast German Protestantism as a progressive religion in line with recent Enlightenment ideals of tolerance and idealist notions of the ongoing, thoroughly Protestant movement of “World Spirit.” Fundamentally, it would help shore up Prussia’s national political solidarity. Spurred on by the example set by Prussia and the lofty rhetoric of the Reformation’s fast-approaching jubilee, a host of other German states enacted similar drives toward Protestant union.25

This is not to suggest that there were no dissenters, however. With a flair for seizing the moment, the Kiel pastor Claus Harms published his own 95 Theses against the Unionskirche—and what he perceived as its support for theological rationalism, abandonment of the Lutheran creeds, and, indeed, loss of both the spirit and the letter of Luther’s writings—on October 31, 1817.26 To cite just three brief statements from Harms’s creative evocation of Luther: “With the idea of a progressive Reformation … one reforms Lutheranism into paganism and Christianity out of the world” (Thesis 2); “We could call belief in reason our age’s pope, our Antichrist” (Thesis 9); and, in more positive terms: “Every translation of the Bible into a living language should be revised every century, in order that it may continue to live” (Thesis 52). Hundreds of publications in the German lands alone carried on the controversy sparked by Harms’s act. What is more, it also served as a catalyst in the dissent of “Old Lutherans” from the Unionskirche. Facing state persecution, many fled as far as Canada, the United States, and Australia.27

The second event was the tercentennial of the Reformation itself, a celebratory event commingled with the activities of the German Burschenschaften or radical student fraternities. On October 18, 1817, some 450 students, all members of nationalist student groups, descended upon the little town of Eisenach for the Wartburg Fest, a two-day rally commemorating both the 300th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses and the four-year anniversary of the Battle of Nations near Leipzig, meeting at the famed Wartburg. Inspired by the overthrow of Napoleon, they championed greater national unity and constitutional freedom. Countless speeches and songs—including Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”)—sounded from the meeting hall. In a sideshow to the main proceedings, a handful of eager students on a nearby hill staged a book-burning of works deemed “un-German” by their ideological standards, all while making explicit reference to Luther’s infamous act of setting fire to the papal bull condemning him (Exsurge Domine, 1520)—again commingling the Reformation’s past with Germany’s present in a case of political-theological theater.28 By referencing “the Reformation and framing the German national struggle in religious and confessional terms, the students did more than just make a powerful political statement.” Rather, they established a religious “precedent for nationalist discourse that became especially prominent in later years.”29 Matching the latest political attitudes, Luther’s person and work would likewise be illustrated anew and put to various religious, didactic purposes: Luther the revolutionary, Luther the bourgeois, Luther the Victorian, Luther the pious family man, and on and on.30

In Berlin, the “father of modern theology,” Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), championed both the Unionskirche and the benefits of the Reformation for introducing the “critical element” into theology, but exhibited little engagement with the nuts and bolts of Luther’s theology. Schleiermacher indeed thought of Luther as “our hero in the faith,” but, as Brian Gerrish has noted, a “gentle note of protest shines unmistakably through Schleiermacher’s generous praise.”31 In his own personal library, Schleiermacher possessed the major 18th-century edition of Luther’s works, published in twenty-four volumes by the German theologian Johann Georg Walch from 1740 to 1753; two editions of Luther’s German Bible (from 1729 and 1826, respectively); the notable five-volume collection of Luther’s letters edited by W. M. L. de Wette from 1825 to 1828; a 1591 edition of De servo arbitrio (The Bondage of the Will, 1525); and a 1569 edition of Luther’s Tischreden (Table-Talk).32 Luther was a laudable instigator of reform, but otherwise seemed to offer little for modern theological formulation in a post-Enlightenment, post-Kantian, and seemingly post-confessional, time. Schleiermacher’s Der christliche Glaube (The Christian Faith, 1821–22; 2d ed., 1830–31), his magnum opus in systematic theology, which he conceived as a theology for the Unionskirche, only contained sporadic references to Luther, when, for example, discussing Reformation views of the Pentateuch as genuinely historical, controversies on the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, or the relation of the Christian community to secular powers.33 Schleiermacher’s full appropriation of Luther, however, remains to be told.

Luther and the Principle of Protestantism

Before considering the leading paths taken by some of Luther’s foremost interpreters in the later 19th century, it bears mentioning the tense, wide-ranging, mid-century debates over the so-called proper “principle of Protestantism,” a phrase which the prodigious transatlantic Philip Schaff (1819–1893) would use in the title of a much-discussed address in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, at the fledgling German Reformed seminary.34 While the debate was primarily carried out in central Europe, many theologians in England and Scotland and across the Atlantic in the United States also looked on, eagerly following the volley of shots over, in some respects, the central aspect of not only Luther’s legacy but also that of Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin, too.35 For German participants, the ecclesiastical and political context of the Unionskirche and the need to come to grips with the relation between the Lutheran and Reformed traditions provided the subtext and gave birth to a host of writings known as “confession studies” (Konfessionskunde).36

Following broader patterns of engagement, those involved enrolled Luther as support for the positions they would take on the Reformation’s theological “center” or “core.” At the University of Bern, Switzerland, founded in 1834, the insightful church historian Matthias Schneckenburger (1804–1848) furnished an in-depth account of the differences of the two major Protestant communions in recent times, which was published posthumously in 1855.37 Theologians such as Daniel Schenkel (1813–1885) in Heidelberg and Karl Ullmann (1796–1865) in Halle and Heidelberg, among countless others, rehearsed the question of what constituted the heart of Luther’s thought and thus the Reformation and Protestantism as a whole. In Schenkel’s pugnacious words: “No greater error and no more harmful notion can be found than that which exists in the fancy that the work of the Reformation was accomplished, and even completed, three hundred years ago, and that every step beyond the original position of the Reformers is apostasy from the Reformation itself.”38

In some ways, this debate carried on features of an earlier controversy on the essence of Catholicism and Protestantism in the 1830s that had erupted between the two great Tübingen church historians and theologians: the Catholic Johann Adam Möhler (1796–1838) and the Protestant F. C. Baur (1792–1860). In 1853, Ferdinand Julius Stahl (1802–1861), a Lutheran with strong political backing, tossed his hat into the ring with the provocatively titled lecture, “Protestantism as a Political Principle.”39 In the midst of this flurry of activity and with an eye on contemporary theological trends, the Basel church historian K. R. Hagenbach (1801–1874) said that, for better or worse, most Protestants in Western society likely thought of the “principle of free [scientific] inquiry” as the actual principle of Protestantism.40

Luther as Iconoclast, Cultural Critic, Radical

Beyond the prolonged public disagreements over the heart of the Protestant movement Luther had set in action, others like the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) confessed themselves as great admirers of Luther, but left contradictory evidence on the extent to which they actually read the reformer, or positively appropriated his ideas, apart from sweeping rhetorical claims—demonstrating the difficulty in precisely tracing out Luther’s impact. Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms, for instance, refer explicitly to Luther more than one hundred times in the published works, and double that when including Kierkegaard’s journals and papers. Yet he had little direct instruction in Luther’s writings—reflecting the broader pattern across 19th-century Danish theology—and his Lutherbild remained “attenuated and programmatic, always reflecting more of Kierkegaard than of Luther.”41

Scandinavia had a very formidable Lutheran presence in the 19th century, and at the top of its list of churchmen and theologians stood N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783–1872) and H. L. Martensen (1808–1884), respectively. The former, also a prominent Lutheran hymn writer, once styled himself “Luther the Little” in his poetic masterpiece, New Year’s Morning (1824), while the latter tended to swim in the waters of speculative German theology.42 Luther’s sermons seem to garner most of the attention from Kierkegaard in his difficult journals and papers.43 But Kierkegaard did, in fact, own a ten-volume collection of Luther’s major works, the Table-Talk, and a Danish edition of Luther’s Church Postil.

If Kierkegaard’s image of Luther proves vexing, that of the Left-Hegelian Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872) is suspicious. Feuerbach once identified himself with Luther to such an extent that he wrote: “Ich bin Luther II.” Three years after the book that made him famous, Das Wesen des Christentums (The Essence of Christianity, 1841), in which he put forth the notion of “projection,” the process by which characteristics of humanity are objectified in the idea of God, Feuerbach produced a short, enigmatic companion, Das Wesen des Glaubens im Sinne Luthers (The Essence of Faith According to Luther, 1844) in which he claimed that Luther’s doctrine of divine revelation stood on his side. In between the two came the second edition of Wesen des Christentums (1843), in which Feuerbach sought to fortify his early arguments by including a number of new quotations from Luther. For Feuerbach, that God exists “for us” (pro nobis) or “for me” (pro me) meant, essentially, that God does not really exist. “Luther was the first to let out [this] secret of the Christian faith,” he alleged. For academic theology in the 19th century, strictly speaking, such pronouncements did not issue in particularly sympathetic examinations, even if they could find an audience in some radical philosophical circles.44

Basic Approaches to Luther in Modern Theology

In the later decades of the century, Luther’s theology found employment in a few trajectories that began to take on the character of overarching types. While this rather selective summary does not, of course, do full justice to the diversity of opinion and method in the modern theological use of Luther, it does, nevertheless, offer a basic guide for thinking about the variety of ways that Luther’s theology was construed in the second half of the 19th century.

Albrecht Ritschl

Albrecht Ritschl (1822–1889), professor of theology at Bonn and Göttingen and the landmark theologian of the second half of the 19th century—along with the efforts of the Ritschlian School he inspired—was decisive for Luther’s modern theological reception.45 In one summary, “Luther, before Ritschl, was a church father whose writings were reverently quoted but hardly ever read. After Ritschl, Luther was a theologian who had decisive contributions to make to the situation of the later nineteenth century—even though this was quite different from the situation of the sixteenth.”46

Ritschl used Luther, as might be expected, selectively, creatively, and primarily as a constructive systematic theologian, though he did remain interested in matters of historical context. His own dogmatic theology emerged in large measure from a sustained historical conversation with the leading lights of medieval, Reformation, and modern theology up to his own day.47 In a celebrated public address from 1883—one of more than 40,000 speeches given that year in Germany marking the 400th anniversary of Luther’s birth—Ritschl announced he would “complete” Luther’s Reformation.48 Luther’s great achievement was, for Ritschl, his sloughing off the yoke of speculative metaphysics and his description of God as known in terms of salvific love in the explanation of the First Commandment in the Large Catechism (1529).49 But the force of this revisionary approach needed to penetrate the rest of theology, which could be “modernized” by rejecting Luther on the bondage of the will, the law-gospel hermeneutic, and the special accent on God’s wrath and hiddenness, remnants of nominalism.50

Theodosius Harnack

Even more than Ritschl, perhaps the most important and extensive engagement with Luther’s theology in the 19th century came from Theodosius Harnack (1817–1889), father of the famous church historian and pioneering German public intellectual Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930). Theodosius Harnack taught at the universities of Dorpat (today Tartu, Estonia) and Erlangen. Situated on the Baltic, Dorpat was an important site at the crossroads of the German and Russian university systems and the respective central and Baltic German and Russian educated classes. Both universities, Erlangen especially, had prominent reputations at the time as hubs of neo-confessional Lutheran activity. Notable colleagues at Erlangen engaged similarly in a kind of modern retrieval of Luther and classical Lutheranism included G. C. Adolf von Harleß (1806–1879), J. Ch. K. von Hofmann (1810–1877), and Heinrich Schmid (1811–1885).51

The study of Luther’s theology in light of the broader Lutheran tradition occupied a central concern for Harnack throughout his life. A dedicated churchman with a pietistic upbringing, Harnack published Die Grundbekenntnisse der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche (The Foundational Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church) in 1845; in 1856 he produced a careful text-critical edition of Luther’s Small Catechism (1529). Other writings focused on practical theology and ecclesiology, including various studies of contemporary church polity as related to Luther’s thought and the Lutheran confessions. Above all, however, was his two-volume Luthers Theologie (1862, 1886).52 A Luther jubilee stands behind its completion: in this case, the 400th anniversary of Luther’s birth in 1883 prompted Harnack to bring his project to conclusion some twenty years after its inauguration.53 The “Luthermania” of 1883, celebrated after German Unification and in the grip of the Kulturkampf, the cultural war waged against Germany’s Catholics who struggled for inclusion in national life, had in large measure morphed into a “belated birthday party for the German Reich,” in which the identity of Luther as the preeminent German “prophet” of modernity took center stage.54 A second edition of Harnack’s Luthers Theologie appeared in 1927, this time inspired by the Luther Renaissance.

That Harnack’s study was judged capable of standing alongside the novel contributions of the great early 20th-century resurgence of scholarly interest in Luther more than four decades later only testifies to its distinction. Bernhard Lohse, Hamburg’s well-known Reformation scholar in the second half of the 20th century, called Harnack’s work the “first comprehensive study of Luther’s theology,” which, like Ritschl’s study, was one of the foremost “pace-setting interpretations” of the modern era.55 Heinrich Bornkamm upped the ante, deeming it “the most important, actually the only relevant nineteenth-century theological book on Luther.”56 Although the now-standard critical edition of Luther’s works, the Weimarer Ausgabe—itself also a product of 1883—was not yet available to him, Harnack curiously employed the popular but clearly dated and somewhat unreliable 18th-century Walch edition of Luther set in German, rather than the recent Erlangen edition begun in 1826 (German writings) and 1829 (Latin writings).57 The Erlangen edition, dovetailing with the methodological and scientific transformations attending the discipline of history in the early 19th century, created a new basis for the scholarly study of Luther, which the Weimarer Ausgabe propelled to new heights.

Harnack’s Luther, unlike Ritschl’s, appeared to live in an abstracted realm of theological ideas, uprooted from the late Middle Ages and the long development of theology in history. Perhaps even more significantly, for Harnack, Luther’s essential theological beliefs did not include a robust doctrine of the church or any considerable ecclesiology. Harnack hinted at this feature already in the subtitle of his work: “with special reference to reconciliation and redemption.” Building on earlier notions of Luther as the founder of European modernity and in line with Romantic notions of the individual personality, Harnack’s Luther thus became the fearless outsider breaking away from the Church, a rupture which marked “the beginning of the ‘heroic’ but anguished loneliness of Protestantism and the starting point for the multiplicity of sects, the confusion of opinions and counteropinions.” As Heiko Oberman observed, “relying only on himself, [the Luther of the 19th century] could assume and dared assume the responsibility to act before God and for the world with his own conscience and the dictates of the hour.”58 Such a thesis emerged as the predominant pattern for Protestant engagement with Luther for roughly a century, until the revisionary efforts of Oberman and others helped to replant Luther into the late medieval world and the “harvest of medieval theology.”59

The hallmark of Harnack’s work was its creation of Luther as the first orthodox Lutheran. Although the object of the study was famously one of the most occasional thinkers and writers in the history of Christian theology, Luther’s historical context received little attention. Put negatively, Harnack’s “uncritical, ahistorical, and very liberal way of arranging citations” has been criticized for distorting Luther’s thought, particularly concerning the doctrines of predestination and free will.60 Harnack attempted to trace out inchoate “principles,” “methods,” and “goals” of each topic in Luther’s overall theology. At the same time, Luther’s discussion of predestination and free will, and his fiery response to Erasmus in The Bondage of the Will have ignited no little controversy down the centuries: between the “early Luther” and the mature “late Luther,” between “Gnesio-Lutherans” and “Philippists,” and between Lutheran and Reformed. In that light, it is unsurprising that Harnack’s concerted attempt to recover Luther’s concept of the “hiddenness of God” (Deus absconditus) should have attracted its gainsayers. Put more positively, Harnack’s approach enriched aspects of Luther’s thought that the reformer had left somewhat implicit in his writings, collated passages discussing the same theological topics (loci), and piled up thousands of familiar and forgotten Luther quotations. In this view, the resulting homogeneous picture allowed for some comparison with the highly articulate systems of early modern Protestant orthodoxy, offering something like an advanced Luther compendium to which one could turn for support in the many church and state struggles of the 19th century.

For his part, Harnack acknowledged that “Luther is not a man of systems.”61 Luther “was one of those great, outstanding personalities,” he said, “who, because they absorbed all that was healthy in the past, were thereby enabled and empowered to initiate a new epoch by means of the novel and personal in what they contributed.”62 He positioned Luther along “dogmatic-systematic” lines in order to show “as exhaustively as possible” the “marvelously deep and awesome views of Luther,” who was “the only one after the Apostles” to exhibit real religious brilliance. Luther’s theology, he held, had an explicit center: “reconciliation and redemption.”63 The orthodox, systematic Luther made a number of fundamental theological distinctions, but the heart of his theology could be found in the tension between the eschatological categories of “God and the world outside Christ” (Gott und die Welt außer Christo) and “God and the world in Christ” (Gott und die Welt in Christo).64 This basic distinction provided the framework for all of Luther’s thought, differentiating law from gospel, God hidden from God revealed, the cross from glory, damnation from salvation. As such, Harnack contended, it was “the principium movens of [Luther’s] theological dialectic of faith” (das principium movens seiner theologischen Glaubensdialektik).65

Luther’s dialectic, then, functioned as its own kind of central dogma in his theology, from which the rest of his “system” could be appropriately deduced. Lurking unmistakably in the background to Harnack’s vision of Luther was a cluster of texts that propelled the so-called “central dogma theory” to its furthest point in the study of early modern Calvinist and Lutheran theology, penned by the likes of Alexander Schweizer (1808–1888), Heinrich Heppe (1820–1879), and Harnack’s colleague, Schmid, whose oft-reprinted and translated dogmatic compendium, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1st ed., 1843), was particularly important.66

Nevertheless, Harnack hoped to resist “repristinating” both Luther’s thought and the broader contours of Lutheran confessionalism. The orthodox tradition, as he put it in a programmatic treatise on the proper organization of the Lutheran Church on the eve of German Unification in 1870–1871, was “not the light itself, but only its earthen sconce.” Accordingly, one must resist the temptation to turn both Luther and the confessional documents “into the slightest shade of an idol … otherwise one’s confessional formulas might finally have to be destroyed as happened once to Israel when Hezekiah had to demolish the brazen snake so that the people did not sacrifice to it any longer [cf. 2 Kings 18:4].”67 Despite pushing Luther’s theology into a fixed grid, Harnack’s “discovery” of Luther’s dialectic still occupies a primary place in Luther studies into the 21st century.

C. F. W. Walther

In the United States, 1883 took on much greater significance than past “Luther years” in the country, even if the American celebrations understandably did not reach the same heights as those in Germany. Remarkably, a Luther memorial was erected in Washington, DC, in 1884.68 In the words of Emmanuel Greenwald (1811–1885), pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: “If there had been no Luther in Germany, there would have been no [George] Washington in America. For the invaluable blessing of our civil liberty and free institutions, we thank God for Luther.”69 Two final related approaches surveyed here established their own American theological monuments in Luther’s honor.

The first comes from the German-American C. F. W. Walther (1811–1887). Walther studied theology in Leipzig before setting sail for America in 1838 as part of the tidal wave of Saxon Lutheran immigrants seeking to escape the persecution and suppression of Lutheran confessional groups who dissented from the Unionskirche. He would go on to have a long and distinguished career as a pastor and professor and president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, with two lengthy terms as head of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).70 Throughout, Walther sought to develop a strong confessional Lutheran position both in the church and the academy. His most well-known work was a posthumously published transcript of talks on The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel.71 Typical for this general approach to Luther, the masthead of Walther’s important periodical, Der Lutheraner (published from 1844 to 1974), proudly displayed the popular early modern rhyme: “God’s Word and Luther’s Teaching Endure Now and Ever More” (Gottes Wort und Luthers Lehr vergehet nun und nimmermehr).

Charles Porterfield Krauth

The next, related approach comes from Charles Porterfield Krauth (1823–1883). Krauth deserves recognition for his appropriation of Luther as, if not quite an orthodox confessional Lutheran, then nevertheless bound tightly to the Lutheran confessional tradition. Krauth was a gifted pastor, journalist, and educator at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, among other places. Sounding a loud voice for confessional revival, his engaging and most significant volume, an over 800-page title, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (1872), reproduced a series of moving tributes to Luther through the ages and mounted a defense of certain confessional teachings and symbols: original sin, the sacramental presence of Christ, baptism, the Augsburg Confession, and the Book of Concord. “If the Nineteenth Century has not been an era of the most safe and solid thinking, it has, beyond all dispute, been the most brilliant era in the history of theological science,” he said, and it was an age to which Luther might again speak.72 Summing up, he wrote: “Four potentates ruled the mind of Europe in the Reformation, the Emperor, Erasmus, the Pope, and Luther. The Pope wanes, Erasmus is little, the Emperor is nothing, but Luther abides as a power for all time. His image casts itself upon the current of ages, as the mountain mirrors itself in the river that winds at its foot—the mighty fixing itself immutably upon the changing.”73 In that sense, one can espy Luther’s shadow in much of the theology of the 19th century, even when Luther himself does not appear on the written page.

Review of the Literature

Scholars of Luther’s reception have tended to focus on the ways in which one or a few later thinkers appropriated aspects of Luther’s thought.74 Careful attention to textual clues, reconnaissance of historic personal libraries, perusal of diaries and correspondence for hints and traces, and close readings of dogmatic compendiums such as Schmid’s—these means of investigation have done the majority of the heavy lifting for our understanding of how Luther was read and interpreted directly.75 One of the more provocative recent studies comes from Risto Saarinen, who analyzed how modern Protestant thought from roughly the 1850s to the 1950s appropriated Luther’s ideas on topics like the “presence of Christ.”76

At the same time, certain features of Luther’s theological reception can be missed without a broader look at Luther in what has been termed the historical, cultural, and religious “imagination.”77 Here Luther’s influence is, as Lewis Spitz commented, so vast that it can tempt one to “an uncontrolled ride across the unbounded terrain of modern intellectual history.”78

Contemporary scholarship seeks not only to extend each of these lines of inquiry but also to integrate their respective results. In this way, intellectual and cultural historians, on the one hand, and theologians and scholars of modern religious thought, on the other hand, may together provide a richly contextualized account of Luther’s reception in 19th-century theology.

Further Reading

Bornkamm, Heinrich. Luther im Spiegel der deutschen Geistesgeschichte: Mit ausgewählten Texten von Lessing bis zur Gegenwart. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970.Find this resource:

Gerrish, Brian. Continuing the Reformation: Essays on Modern Religious Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Harnack, Theodosius. Luthers Theologie: Mit besonderer Beziehung auf seine Versöhnungs- und Erlösungslehre. 2 vols. Erlangen: Blaesing, 1862–1886.Find this resource:

Lehmann, Hartmut. Luthergedächtnis 1817 bis 2017. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013.Find this resource:

Pelikan, Jaroslav. Interpreters of Luther: Essays in Honor of Wilhelm Pauck. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968.Find this resource:

Saarinen, Risto. Gottes Wirken auf Uns: Die tranzendentale Deutung des Gegenwart-Christi-Motivs in der Lutherforschung. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1989.Find this resource:

Spitz, Lewis W. “Luther’s Impact on Modern Views of Man.” Concordia Theological Quarterly 41 (1977): 26–43.Find this resource:

Zeeden, Ernst Walter. Martin Luther und die Reformation im Urteil des deutschen Luthertums. 2 vols. Freiburg: Herder, 1950–1952. The first volume appears in English translation as Ernst Walter Zeeden, The Legacy of Luther: Martin Luther and the Reformation in the Estimation of the German Lutherans from Luther’s Death to the Beginning of the Age of Goethe, trans. Ruth Mary Bethell (London: Hollis & Carter, 1954).Find this resource:


(1.) Christian Berger, Kurze Beschreibung der Merkwurdigkeiten die sich in Eisleben, und in Luthers Hause daselbst besonders, auf die Reformation und auf D. Martin luthers beziehen, 2d ed. (Berseburg: Kobitzsch, 1827), 1, 9.

(2.) Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 223–240.

(3.) Berger, Kurze Beschreibung, 113.

(4.) Jaroslav Pelikan, “Wilhelm Pauck: A Tribute,” in Interpreters of Luther: Essays in Honor of Wilhelm Pauck, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968), 6.

(5.) R. S. Clark, “Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther’s Doctrine of Justification?” Concordia Theological Quarterly 70 (2006): 271.

(6.) Ernst Troeltsch, Protestantism and Progress: A Historical Study of the Relation of Protestantism to the Modern World, trans. W. Montgomery (London: Williams & Norgate, 1912), 196–197.

(7.) Hartmut Lehmann, Luthergedächtnis 1817 bis 2017 (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013).

(8.) See, e.g., Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther im Spiegel der deutschen Geistesgeschichte: Mit ausgewählten Texten von Lessing bis zur Gegenwart (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970).

(9.) See Robert Kolb, Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, Hero: Images of the Reformer, 1520–1620 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999).

(10.) Ernst Walter Zeeden, Martin Luther und die Reformation im Urteil des deutschen Luthertums, 2 vols. (Freiburg: Herder, 1950–1952), 1:77–188.

(11.) Cf. Kolb, Luther as Prophet, Teacher, Hero, 222.

(12.) Lewis W. Spitz, “Luther’s Impact on Modern Views of Man,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 41 (1977): 30–31.

(13.) F. A. Mignet, Luther à le diéte de Worms (Paris: H. Fournier, 1835), 19.

(14.) David Mullan, “Martin Luther in Nineteenth-Century France,” Journal of Religious History 38 (2014): 8.

(15.) Mark A. Noll, In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492–1783 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 33. Cf. Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989).

(16.) Quoted in Zeeden, Luther und die Reformation, 2:308.

(17.) Toshimasa Yasukata, Lessing’s Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 51–52.

(18.) Heinrich Heine, On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, and Other Writings, ed. Terry Pinkard, trans. Howard Pollack-Milgate (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 74–75.

(19.) Zeeden, Luther und die Reformation, 2:359–375.

(20.) J. G. Fichte, Addresses to the German Nation, ed. Gregory Moore (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 76–77.

(21.) G. W. F. Hegel, “Address on the Tercentenary of the Submission of the Augsburg Confession (25 June 1830),” in Hegel: Political Writings, ed. Laurence Dickey and H. B. Nisbet, trans. H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 189.

(22.) Karl Friedrich Stäudlin, Kirchliche Geographie und Statistik, vol. 2 (Tübingen: Cotta, 1804), 324.

(23.) Heine, On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, 10, 42.

(24.) Michael Printy, “Protestantism and Progress in the Year XII: Charles Villers’s Essay on the Spirit and Influence of Luther’s Reformation (1804),” Modern Intellectual History 9 (2012): 303–329.

(25.) See J. F. Gerhard Goeters and Joachim Rogge, eds., Die Geschichte der Evangelischen Kirche der Union, vol. 1 (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlags-Anstalt, 1992).

(26.) Claus Harms, Ausgewählte Schriften und Predigten, ed. G. E. Hofmann, vol. 1 (Flensburg: Christian Wolff, 1955), 204–222.

(27.) See Wilhelm Iwan, Die altlutherische Auswanderung um die Mitte des 19. Jahrhundert, 2 vols. (Ludwigsburg: Kallenberg, 1943).

(28.) Steven Michael Press, “False Fire: The Wartburg Book-Burning of 1817,” Central European History 42 (2009): 621–646.

(29.) Anthony J. Steinhoff, “Christianity and the Creation of Germany,” in The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 8, World Christianities c. 1815–c.1914, ed. Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 283.

(30.) Joachim Kruse, Luthers Leben in Illustrationen des 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Coburg: Kunstsammlung der Veste Coburg, 1980).

(31.) Brian Gerrish, Continuing the Reformation: Essays on Modern Religious Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 183. Cf. Paul Seifert, “Schleiermacher und Luther,” Luther: Zeitschrift der Luther-Gesellschaft 40 (1969): 51–68; and Georg Wobbermin, “Gibt es eine Linie Luther-Schleiermacher?” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 39 (1931): 250–260.

(32.) Günter Meckenstock, ed., Schleiermachers Bibliothek: Bearbeitung des faksimilierten Rauschen Auktionskatalog und der Hauptbücher des Verlages G. Reimer (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1993), 146, 223. Cf. Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers sämtliche Schriften, ed. Johann Georg Walch, 24 vols. (Halle: J. J. Gebauer, 1740–1753); and Martin Luther, Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken, ed. W. M. L. de Wette, 5 vols. (Berlin: Reimer, 1825–1828).

(33.) Friedrich Schleiermacher, Der christliche Glaubenslehre nach den Grundsätzen der evangelischen Kirche im Zusammenhang dargestellt, 2d ed. (1830–1831), in Schleiermacher, Kritische Gestamtausgabe, vol. 13.1–2, ed. Rolf Schäfer (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2003), §40, §105, §140.

(34.) Philip Schaff, The Principle of Protestantism, as Related to the Present State of the Church, trans. John W. Nevin (Chambersburg, PA: Publication Office of the German Reformed Church, 1845).

(35.) E.g., “German Periodicals,” The Evangelical Review 12 (1854): 449. The Evangelical Review was first published in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1849.

(36.) Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, “Calvin in the Plural: The Diversity of Modern Interpretations of Calvinism, Especially in Germany and the English-Speaking World,” in Calvin and His Influence, 1509–2009, ed. Irena Backus and Philip Benedict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 255–268.

(37.) Matthias Schneckenburger, Vergleichende Darstellung des lutherischen und reformirten Lehrbegriffs, ed. Eduard Güder, 2 vols. (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1855).

(38.) Quoted in Zachary Purvis, “The New Ethicist and the Old Bookkeeper: Isaak Dorner, Johann Quenstedt, and Modern Appropriations of Classical Protestantism,” Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte 19 (2012): 32.

(39.) Friedrich Julius Stahl, Der Protestantismus als politisches Princip: Vorträge auf der Veranstaltung des evangelischen Vereins für kirchliche Zwecke zu Berlin im März 1853 gehalten, 2d ed. (Berlin: Schültze, 1853).

(40.) K. R. Hagenbach, “Zur Beantwortung der Frage über das Princip des Protestantismus: Sendschrieben an Herrn. D. und Professor Schenkel in Heidelberg,” Theologische Studien und Kritiken 27 (1854): 7–49.

(41.) Ernest B. Koenker, “Søren Kierkegaard on Luther,” in Interpreters of Luther, 232.

(42.) John H. Hall and Ove Korsgaard, “Introduction,” in Building the Nation: N. F. S. Grundtvig and Danish National Identity, ed. John H. Hall, Ove Korsgaard, and Ove K. Pedersen (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 5; and Jon Stewart, ed., H. L. Martensen: Theologian, Philosopher and Social Critic (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2011).

(43.) David Yoon-Jung Kim and Joel D. S. Rasmussen, “Martin Luther: Reform, Secularization, and the Question of His ‘True Successor,’” in Kierkegaard and the Renaissance and Modern Traditions, vol. 2, Theology, ed. Jon Stewart (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), 173–218.

(44.) Van A. Harvey, “Feuerbach on Luther’s Doctrine of Revelation: An Essay in Honor of Brian Garrish,” Journal of Religion 78 (1998): 3–17.

(45.) See David W. Lotz, Ritschl and Luther: A Fresh Perspective on Albrecht Ritschl’s Theology in the Light of his Luther Study (Nashville: Abingdon, 1974).

(46.) Bernhard Lohse, Martin Luther: An Introduction to His Life and Work, trans. Robert C. Schultz (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1986), 220.

(47.) Cf. Christophe Chalamet, “Ernst Troeltsch’s Break from Ritschl and His School,” Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte 19 (2012): 39–45.

(48.) Albrecht Ritschl, “Festrede am vierten Seculartage der Geburt Martin Luthers,” in Ritschl, Kleine Schriften, ed. Frank Hofmann (Waltrop: Hartmut Spenner, 1999), 173.

(49.) Albrecht Ritschl, The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation and Justification: The Positive Development of the Doctrine, ed. and trans. H. R. Mackintosh and A. B. Macaulay, 2d ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1902), 3:6. Cf. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ed. and trans. Theodore G. Tappert (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1959), 365.

(50.) Frank Hofmann, Albrecht Ritschls Lutherrezeption (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1998), 261.

(51.) On Harnack and the Erlangen School, respectively, see Christoffer H. Grundmann, “Theodosius Andreas Harnack (1817–1889),” in Nineteenth-Century Lutheran Theologians, ed. Matthew L. Becker (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015), 255–274; and Martin Hein, Lutherisches Bekenntniß und Erlanger Theologie im 19. Jahrhundert (Gütersloh: Mohn, 1984).

(52.) Theodosius Harnack, Luthers Theologie: Mit besonderer Beziehung auf seine Versöhnungs- und Erlösungslehre, 2 vols. (Erlangen: Blaesing, 1862–1886).

(53.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 2:1.

(54.) Thomas A. Brady, The Protestant Reformation in German History (Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 1998), 15. On the Kulturkampf, see Rebecca Ayako Bennette, Fighting for the Soul of Germany: The Catholic Struggle for Inclusion after Unification (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).

(55.) Lohse, Martin Luther, 219–220.

(56.) Bornkamm, Luther im Spiegel der deutschen Geistesgeschichte, 82.

(57.) For the German writings, see Martin Luther, Dr. Martin Luther’s samtliche Werke, 68 vols. (Erlangen: Heyder, 1826–1857); 2d ed. (Frankfurt: Heyder & Zimmer, 1862–1885). For the Latin writings, see Martin Luther, D. Martini Lutheri Exegetica opera Latina, 38 vols. (Erlangen: Heyder, 1829–1886).

(58.) Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, trans. Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 247–248.

(59.) Heiko A. Oberman, The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963).

(60.) Grundmann, “Theodosius Andreas Harnack,” 270. Cf. Otto Wolf, Die Haupttyypen der neueren Lutherdeutung (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1938), 81–112.

(61.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 1:ix.

(62.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 2:18.

(63.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 1:ix.

(64.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 1:193–274 and 1:277–362, respectively. Cf. Grundmann, “Theodosius Andreas Harnack,” 271.

(65.) Harnack, Luthers Theologie, 1:104.

(66.) For a historiographical overview on the Reformed side of the ledger, see Richard A. Muller, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 63–102.

(67.) Theodosius Harnack, Die freie lutherische Volkskirche: Der lutherischen Kirche Deutschlands zur Prüfung und Verständigung vorgelegt (Dorpat: Andreas Deichert, 1870), 24.

(68.) Lehmann, Luthergedächtnis, 94–109.

(69.) Hartmut Lehmann, Martin Luther in the American Imagination (Munich: Fink, 1988), 183–185.

(70.) See Arthur H. Drevlow, John M. Drickamer, and Glenn E. Reichwald, eds., C. F. W. Walther, the American Luther: Essays in Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Carl Walther’s Death (Mankato, MN: Walther Press, 1987).

(71.) The talks formed part of Walther’s Friday evening “Luther Hour” at Concordia Seminary from 1864 to 1885. See C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans. W. H. T. Dau (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1986).

(72.) Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (Philadelphia: J. B. Pippincott, 1875), 150.

(73.) Krauth, Conservative Reformation, 87.

(74.) E.g., Zeeden, Luther und die Reformation; Horst Stephan, Luther in den Wandlungen seiner Kirche, 2d ed. (Berlin: Töpelmann, 1951); Walter von Loewenich, Luther und Neuprotestantismus (Witten: Luther-Verlag, 1963); and Michael Embach, Das Lutherbild Johann Gottfried Herder (Frankfurt: Lang, 1987).

(75.) Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans. Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, 3d ed. (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1899).

(76.) Risto Saarinen, Gottes Wirken auf Uns: Die tranzendentale Deutung des Gegenwart-Christi-Motivs in der Lutherforschung (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1989).

(77.) Lehmann, Luther in the American Imagination; and Lehmann, Luthergedächtnis.

(78.) Spitz, “Luther’s Impact on Modern Views of Man,” 26.