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date: 22 September 2017

Theological Language in Martin Luther

Summary and Keywords

In Christianity, theological language must be understood against the background of the multifaceted semantic field of Logos. “Logos” (as “word” and as “linguistic reason”) is used in multiple contexts: (1) Trinitarian theological (John 1:1); (2) creation (Gen. 1:3) and revelation-theological (Jesus Christ “the Word of God” [ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ]: Rev. 19:13); and (3) soteriological-eschatological (“Word of Life,” 1 John 1:1). These references are mediated through the philosophy of language’s concept of “translation” (Johann Georg Hamann) and the idea of divine condescension into human language.

In Luther, religious language as the language of the Bible is to be understood on the one hand by its character as a living address to humankind and on the other as an immediate confession of the believer in spontaneous reaction to it. In biblical language, the Word of God, conveyed in human terms, comes closer to us than we do to our own selves and transforms our earthly existence to the goal of everlasting life.

Theological language is intellectual interpretation and conceptual reflection on religious language with a theoretical aim—in other words, its intent is to reach an agreement about itself under the conditions of the overall context; it concerns the truth of religious language and texts.

Because Luther—linguistically aware to the highest degree—recognized the specific distinctiveness of biblical language, and of New Testament language in particular, his writings contain an abundance of differentiated reflections on the state of appropriate theological language. The Word of God in our human language requires theology to have a “different” or “new” logic (and philosophy) in its articles of faith. All traditional philosophical terms and logical forms of judgment and conclusion must be “translated” into Christianity—even, for example, the concept of the human being and of the Word itself.

In particular, the unity of God and man in Christ compels a new sort of language or way of thinking. The imaginative form of spatial prepositions (such as “in”) must be rethought in determinate negation. In God, opposites coincide.

Because God’s Word is directed against the self-conception of the sinner before God, it comes to humankind essentially in the twin linguistic structure of “Law” and “Gospel”; these categories also define theological language in a specifically Reformation sense.

New Testament language, in its fundamentals, is eschatologically oriented. Hence, categories such as “substance” or “essence” (essentia) must be rephrased on the condition that nothing has already been defined, and everything is still developing. Luther undertook this with an eschatology of the Word of God.

As Luther shows in the case of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, “This is my body …,” the new logic is a genuinely linguistic logic, or rather thinking from language. Traditional (formal) logic replaces the logic of real language with an artificial model.

Finally, Luther also reflects on the linguistic status of the word “God” as a grammatical subject. Here, too, he wants the word “God” to be comprehended as a fluid substance, understanding it essentially as a verb—as a linguistic expression of movement—thus embodying the Reformation idea of “for me” (pro me).

Ultimately, it is always about the important role of two linguistic aspects in theological language: grammar on the one hand, which should receive fundamental attention, and linguistic usage (usus loquendi) on the other, the comprehension of which is also crucial. Thus, Luther’s understanding of theological language could be summarized in this statement: theology, understood linguistically, is a grammar of the language of the sacred scriptures.

Keywords: Martin Luther, biblical language, Logos, “new language” (nova lingua), philosophy, translating, Word of God

Luther on Religious and Theological Language

“Theological language” should here be understood as the way in which theology is articulated in its subject areas (in exegesis or dogmatics, for example). Religious language is the language spoken by religion itself, such as in religious texts (the Bible, among others) or in statements of religious awareness, in the liturgy, and so on. Theological language and religious language must therefore be distinguished from each other. This also applies to Luther: the relationship of religious and theological language has to proceed from his theology of the Word of God.1 Here, religious language is the language of Christian faith. The noun “gospel” already shows how, in Christian terms, a certain linguistic (literary) form corresponds specifically to the content of faith.

Systematic Introduction

In order to comprehend theological language in its relationship to Christian religious language, it is important to first briefly describe the fundamental status of word and speech in Christianity. The linguistic-theological formulation of the Luther scholar J. G. Hamann holds true: “speaking is translating—from a language of angels into a language of humans, which means thoughts in words.”2

With this statement, Christian language is inscribed among the foundational references of the New Testament kerygma. For the eternal God has, within the Trinity, translated himself into the “Son” by having expressed himself in him as his eternal Word (Logos).3 With the Incarnation, the Logos from the beginning (John 1:1) translates himself into humanity (John 1:14), which also means into the language of human beings.4 The eternal Logos, God’s own Word, becomes a human word in the mouth of Jesus (Gospel). In this way, God has “condescended” or emptied himself into human language (Phil. 2:7): “on the other hand, I thank his bottomless mercy, that he in so fatherly a way drops down and offers … himself to be my God … where he lets himself be heard so publicly and offers himself to us in our human language, that he wants to be our God.”5 God’s Son of Man, Jesus Christ is, with his person, his word, and his history, the existing Word of God—the “expounder” of the Father (John 1:18),6 or his “Divine interpreter,” as Milton put it.7

On the other hand, the creation is also to be understood as verbal, so that all creatures, linguistically constituted, exist as a creation of words: “For God calls the things which are not, so that they may be (Rom. 4:17), and speaks not grammatical words but real and existing things, so that what sounds to us like a vocable is to God an actual thing. Thus sun, moon, heaven, earth, Peter, Paul, I, you, etc., we are words of God—no, rather, one syllable or letter in comparison to the entire creature.”8 A result of this is that we encounter our own truth in the divine Word (John 1:9 and 11) and that the reverse also holds true: “for life without the Word is uncertain and dark.”9

In this multilayered sense, God is a “God of words and abounding in words,”10 and these associations lie at the root of religious and theological language in the Christian faith and are discussed further in both plays on words.11 For only in this way can Christian speech be legitimized as translation in a New Testament and linguistic-theological sense.12

Biblical-Religious Language in Luther

As the Word of God becomes human, Christ is the mediator and thus also the center of Christian language in the sacred scriptures.13

Because the God present in Christ comes to us in language, as God “for us” (pro nobis),14 biblical language for Luther is mainly speech.15 For God has revealed himself as a speaker: “Thus God reveals himself to us, that/because he is a speaker,”16 and respect must be paid to him as the speaker, since “Das sprechen thuts.”17

That God says “I” in sacred scripture and speaks authentically with us18 makes us an addressee, an addressed “you,” a “creation of the Word or of the Gospel” (creatura verbi).19 His Word is the creative center: “the Word exists between the speaker and the listener,”20 in that, as a word of language, it is outside of us (extra nos) and also for us (pro me). Thus, it is a “living” word (viva vox).21

Hence, Luther again and again emphasizes the pre-eminence of the primal orality of the Gospel: “Gospel, however, means nothing other than a sermon and cry from the grace and mercy of God … And is actually not that which is written in books and is embodied by letters of the alphabet.”22 Thus, in all events, sacred scripture should be read and heard: “To whom it is given to read and to hear the words of sacred scripture, he will believe that he is hearing them from God himself.”23 The reader becomes a listener—in accordance with the dictum “speak, so that I can see you”24—and the written letter a living spirit.25 If one reads with a “listening heart” (1 Kings 3:9),26 the reader thus becomes a believer, and God becomes—something that can only be experienced by hearing the Word—the God who “wants to be there for you,” as your God.27

Not only does speech lead to hearing faith (John 16:13), but faith also expresses itself: “I believe, and therefore I speak” (1 Cor. 4:13b). For that reason, speech necessarily has a corresponding echo, responding linguistically through the divine Word, the profession (i.e., of faith).28

Luther elaborates on the Second Commandment in the Large Catechism: “Just as the First Commandment has instructed the heart and taught the faith, so this Commandment also leads forth and directs the mouth and the tongue to God. For the first thing that so breaks out of the heart and shows itself are words.”29 The faith of the heart comes to itself in the act of articulating itself and speaks as it professes. In its own words, in language, faith realizes itself as an immediate reference to God for the believing subject as well: it becomes objective in words. That corresponds to the linguistic vitality of human existence, since only as a linguistic entity is a human being really a human being; a human exists in words. For that reason, the confession of faith is not a mere secondary expression of a faith in itself speechless—this does indeed come from the Word—but is the bindingly consummated faith itself.30 For Luther, faith is always a linguistic act.

Insofar as we humans exist in words and in reference to the Word of God,31 we are “inhabitants of language,”32 and God’s Word is in reality the house of our being (Heidegger),33 or a form of life (Wittgenstein).34 Luther therefore recommends that we “hold fast to this divine word, creep into it, and remain within like a hare in his rocky cranny.”35

Since (with Augustine) Luther’s reasoning applies that “because if the Word of God … is more deeply within the rest of things than God is to himself, how much more is he within the most noble of things, namely the soul, than she is to herself,”36the purpose of a human being is the divine Word, from the first to the last.37 For God “changes us thus into his Word, but his Word does not change into us.”38 Then, for us, who are completely “subsumed into the Word,”39 God will be our God, definitively and in a perfect way: “then ‘my God’ will be spoken in truth, which now is spoken in hope.”40 God’s Word as our true form (forma) carries us to eternal life: “for Christ is being formed in us continuously, and we are being formed in His image as long as we live.”41 Since the present human being is only a preliminary form of the real life to come, “for this reason, the human being of this life is God’s pure material for the life of his/her future form.”42

In Christian terms, it therefore holds true that religious language exists as “speech” through sacred scripture and is expressed further in the language of faith, which in the form of “profession” replies to the adopted Word of God. If the believers “live” in the divine Word, this itself leads them into eternal fulfillment.

Theological Language in Luther’s Writings

Here, the question is not “What is theology?” or “What is Luther’s theology?”43 but how to describe theological language as such (in contrast to religious and to philosophical language and in relation to the logic of everyday speech/ordinary language). As an expounder and translator of the sacred scriptures, Luther was very mindful of these questions; he was unusually conscious of language and a highly accomplished thinker about language.

Unlike the language of philosophy, the language of theology is not a primal language that begins with itself. Rather, it is always related to the pre-existing language of biblical tradition, on which it builds in order to attain its own intellectual responsibility, in more theoretical language.44 Thus, for example, no one begins with a novel definition of the word “God,” because the term “God” has always been granted to us in the tradition and, reasonably, we can only continue to utter it.

Theological language is the reflected continued utterance of biblical-religious language, thus the further writing of the Word of God in sacred scripture in the power of the Holy Spirit, who guarantees the continuity of such discourse. At the same time, it is a systematic interpretation of traditional religious discourse under the conditions of overall context and contemporary awareness of truth. Thus, what Luther writes of the New Testament authors’ handling of the Old Testament also holds true for theological authors in their sermons and teaching, that:

where they can do something, from such a saying as from a flower make an entire meadow. Yes, when the revelation comes to it and the Holy Spirit, who knows how to chew and to press the words so that they have and give juice and power (wo sie etwa können, aus einem solchen Spruch als aus einer Blumen ein gantze wiesen machen. Ja wenn die offenbarung dazu kompt und der heilige Geist, welcher weis die Worte recht zu kewen [kauen = ruminatio] und zu keltern, das sie safft und krafft haben und geben).45

Theological language sets the “seminal word/reason” (logos spermatikos) of religious texts free, so to speak, and they are as “a white field in which there is black seed” to be read and interpreted.46 For the language of systematic theology as “consistent exegesis” (Eberhard Jüngel), this means that it derives its intellectual autonomy precisely from its dependence on the interpretation of biblical language.47

This dependence is objectively based on the fact that theological language necessarily presupposes and reflects God’s definitive revelation in the Word as it is originally expressed in biblical language. Christianity is hence regarded as the “revealed religion,” and the place where it is revealed is sacred scripture,

For what more sublime can remain hidden in the Scriptures, after the seals were broken and the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, and that supreme mystery has been disclosed, that Christ the son of God has become man, that God is threefold and One, that Christ has suffered for us and will reign eternally?48

There are many examples in Luther of the “translation” of pre-existing linguistic forms into a specifically Christian theological language. Since theological language, like all languages, is in the first place continuously undergoing living development, so that no fixed systematization can be presumed for it, it is also impossible to deduce the essential features of theological language exhaustively. But some important aspects that are closely associated with the specific character of the subject of theology do allow themselves to be presented by way of example.

As all thinking is dependent on language, the same is also true of theological thinking which, in connection with the new language of the New Testament, has to open itself up for new thoughts as well. This way of thinking involves “a different dialectic and philosophy in the articles of faith, which are called the Word of God and faith.”49 Hence, theology must learn “to speak with new languages in the kingdom of faith [cf. Acts 2] outside of every [limited] sphere.”50 All philosophical terms will be redefined under the conditions of the divine Word becoming human (John 1:14),51 as will the concept of human being,52 and the concept of the Word (verbum) itself.53 Concepts and logical forms of inference are likewise “baptized” to make them suitable for use in theological language.54

The “power and majesty of the [theological] subject” are what compel the translation of philosophical ways of thinking into a Christian idiom.55 Luther shows this paradigmatically in the central religious-linguistic declaration “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14).56 This is the decisive “new manner of speech” (nova locutio), and Luther’s assertion holds true “that Aristotle would not have allowed the Word to signify the whole God.”57

The unity of God and man considered here (cf. Col. 2:9)58 confounds the fixed distinctions of our everyday language and logic, such as God–Man, Creator–Creature, and Person–Word, and eludes every point of comparison,59 but since in Christ “creator and creature is one and the same,” this must be thought of and expressed in a new way.60 If this is the truth from God, the new language (nova lingua) of theology also contains the truth about everyday language, and the presence of the divine Word in human words must translate their “old” meaning in a critical way: “there [in Sacred Scripture] man and God must not be divided metaphysically.”61

If Luther’s claim that “the Holy Spirit has its own grammar” applies,62 then this grammar does not fit into the predetermined narrow forms of intellectual thought and its syllogisms.63 Rather, it works “as that which is not only simply the opposite, but outside, inside, on top, underneath, this side, that side of all dialectical truth.”64 It is the “power and majesty” (virtus et maiestas) of the theological subject, its spiritual, super-objective constitution which compels this complete certainty. In any case, Luther’s postulates do not exactly argue for irrationality in theological language; rather, his point is that there is no pure, abstract alternative to everyday language and its ways of thinking. The peculiarity of Christian speech provides no basis for a status that is simply besides or against the philosophical way of thinking and speaking, but rather provides a basis for their dialectical refraction.65 The “new language” of theology speaks the “old language” (vetera lingua) of logic with a determinate negation, and is therefore “dialectical” (in the modern sense).

All the various concepts that have spatial connotations, such as “outside, inside, on top of, underneath” (extra, intra, supra, infra), and the like, must be understood as one in God, as “a coincidence of opposites” (coincidentia oppositorum). Each of them can only be correctly thought about and theologically expressed at the same time as its opposite.66

Accordingly, Luther considered various modes, like something “in” is something,67 in linguistic-analytical terms and reflected critically on this spatially one-dimensional conception of a “being-in”: “But faith hears that ‘in’ counts just as much in these things as over, outside, under, through, and against through here and everywhere.”68 Here, too, determinate negation is needed in order to express the omnipresence of Christ or of God.69

Theological language also contains negation within itself, essentially insofar as the truth for us first reaches us as a truth against us. In the fundamental perversity of our exclusively self-centered relationship to ourselves vis-à-vis God,70 we as sinners initially experience God’s coming to us and our salvation as an attack on us, since “man cannot by nature want God to be God; rather he would want himself to be God, and God not to be God.”71

This configuration of factors in the God–human relationship leads to the fundamental Reformation distinction between “Law” and “Gospel.” In the Law, all of our direct self-affirmation is negated by God: “Like all your life and work is nothing for God, but must be eternally doomed with all that is in you.”72 If we understand how in such a holy negation by God all that is our own is consumed, which we, for example, think we can show before God, we thus become capable of experiencing a new foundation from God in the Gospel: “so for you he sets, for his dear son Jesus Christ, and for you lets his living word of comfort be spoken through him.”73 Because only in the tension between Law and Gospel can we achieve this, “that you however of yourself and from yourself, that is, may come out of doom” (Das du aber auß dir und von dir, das ist auß eynem vorterbenn, kommen mügist).74 Theological language must speak from human to human in contradiction and connection. Law and Gospel are the two indispensable categories of theological language in Christianity, because only with them is it truly guaranteed “that you hear your God speak to you.”75

Therefore, in order to be able to be articulated theologically as a salvation-bringing liberation event, in Christian terms human freedom must be expressed first of all as always wasted. In this sense, making the transition from God’s No to God’s Yes, theology and the theological language that corresponds to it is first and foremost the “science of Christian freedom.”76

The “new language” (nova lingua) of Christian theology also exists because it has to do with “the last things” (de novissimis) and is eschatologically oriented. Luther demonstrates this in the example of Paul, whose religious language serves as a criticism of the theological language of scholasticism and is thus itself utilized as theologically relevant language.

For Luther, the language of the Bible has a specific reason vis-à-vis traditional metaphysics or Aristotelian ontology. On Romans 8:19 he writes,77 “the Apostle philosophizes and thinks differently from the philosophers and metaphysicians.”78 This involves an eschatological ontology. The Apostle “philosophizes differently” in that, in contrast to an ontology oriented toward the present reality, he conceptualizes on the basis of the divine word of promise (promissio) that announces a new reality. Considering 1 John 3:2, Luther wrote in 1521,

That this life is therefore not a piety but a becoming pious … not a being but a becoming, not a repose but an exercise; we are not yet, but we will become it. It … is however underway and in flux. It is not the end, but it is the way.79

Christian thought and its eschatological language is not directed at the states of “substance” (essentia) and other categories, but at “what the creature expects”80 because, regarded theologically, it has not yet arrived at its definitive reality. Theological language has to do with “what, as future, does not yet exist.”81 This “ontology of the not-yet-existing” (Ernst Bloch) requires a new language.82

In order to assert the Word (Logos) of language against the formal logic of Aristotelianism, and therefore in order to describe theology as thought in language,83 Luther also refers to the linguistic-philosophical realization that the individual word is integrated into the overall context of the sentence, since every word possesses its linguistic meaning only in the sentence as a whole.84

Luther shows this in his understanding of Jesus’ words of institution at the Last Supper (1 Cor.11:23–25; Mark 14:22–24, paraphrased) in the rhetorical figure of synecdoche. Here, from the “speaking-together” of the elements (bread and wine) with the body and blood of Christ, a new reality is constituted linguistically.85 The binding creative power, or performative power of words, must be insisted on in order to understand how two kinds of things in a sentence can indeed be one.86 Luther writes, “So we are now indeed in such a figure of speech [i.e., synecdoche], since the two beings have come into one being [linguistically],”87 these linguistic wholes should not be split (nonlinguistically) back into isolated moments; they would lose their meaning (in the sentence) through such a formal-logical operation. An abstract logic of identity according to which bread is simply bread and body only body would thereby take precedence over language and its grammar. In contrast, Luther insists on the comprehensive overall context into which the individual words are subsumed: “But if you let it remain a whole, so must you also speak of it as a whole.”88 It is this integrating interrelationship of overall linguistic context, a comprehensive linguistic whole of the individual words in a sentence, “where they come together and become a whole new being” and “how they become and are one thing, one therefore says and speaks them.”89

Here, in analogy to the constitution of a sentence, which subsumes the individual words into a linguistic whole so that their totality is their truth, Luther comprehends the reason of theological language.

Luther’s observations are also fundamentally valid for the linguistic status of the word “God.” Regarding “for us” (pro nobis, Rom. 8:31), he remarks on a grammar-related realization with far-reaching implications:

if we know how to decline and understand the pronouns “we/us” and “for us” (nos and nobis), then we would probably also conjugate the noun “God” (deus) and make a verb from the noun that means “God spoke, and he was spoken” (deus dixit, Et dictus est).90

Here, in connection with the central Reformation category of “adoption” in faith, corresponding to the “for us” (pro nobis) of divine being, attention is drawn here to a systematic substantive problem of theological language: how can God be spoken of as living, and indeed as the living subject in theological language itself? Luther replies, in that the noun God (deus) is thought of as a verb and thus made fluid. This transformation is necessary so that God is not misunderstood (in the traditional metaphysical sense) as a rigid substance or a material subject that simply underlies his actions.91 Only if the noun “God” (Deus) is “conjugated” as a verb and God’s being understood as a “verb” (Kurt Marti) and verbal expression of movement,92 can it really be thought of as a present being of God “for us” in accordance with the maxim, “to put the words in such a way that you see in them the thing itself simultaneously being maintained and accomplished.”93 This means that in theological language God must be spoken of in such a way that He is thereby articulated as Himself.94 According to Luther, the fact that God Himself is to be comprehended as the one who speaks from Himself to us (pro nobis) should be expressed in the Word (Verbum): “God has spoken and is expressed (deus dixit, Et dictus est).” If that is the condition of possibility of our theological speech also from God, then the word “God” (as a noun) translates itself there, in the place of theological language, into the living Word of God (as a verb).

A “family likeness” (Wittgenstein) exists between biblical-religious language and theological language. Theological language articulates the Word (Logos) of religious language, and they are thus closely linked in their diversity—vis-à-vis normal language and its logic as well. In theological language, religious language becomes aware of itself, and the former makes the intellectual structure of the latter explicit.

In this context, grammar is always of definitive importance, since it contains the Word (Logos) of language95 and is theologically crucial for Luther: “In all things, the manner of speaking must be kept in mind. Grammar ought to transmit the standard for speaking.”96 Right after Luther’s basic hermeneutic rule, “in every place, the simple, pure, and natural meaning of words must be adhered to,”97 follows the maxim “let us be mindful of grammar!”98 And in just these connections did Luther the interpreter of scripture characterize himself as “good with texts,”99 which determines every aspect of his theological language.

To be sure, grammar, as indispensable as it is for theological knowledge, should also not dominate it without restrictions, but should serve it in a particular way.100 In addition, in the explication of texts and theology, linguistic usage (usus loquendi) should also always be considered.101 Furthermore, grammar itself already provides the “figures of speech,”102 but linguistic usage can also be derived from it.103 For Luther it holds true that both instances are based on the theology of creation,104 since what is valid for grammar is also true of linguistic usage (usus loquendi), “which God has created in humans.”105 The interpretation of scripture, just as much as theological language, must hence also “look at the language, what sort of way, usage, and habit of speaking there is.”106

To represent the matter of theology appropriately requires starting from the language’s grammar—this connects Luther with Wittgenstein.107 In Christian terms, however, this also holds true on account of the specific character of the subject of theology: “the new grammar of theology is different.”108

Thus, Luther’s insights into the fundamental significance of grammar for understanding the Bible and for the constitution of theological language can be summarized in the aphorism, “theology is something like the grammar of Sacred Scripture.”109

Review of the Literature

At least since Leif Grane’s 1975 Modus loquendi theologicus110 scholars have been well aware that Luther distinguishes between theological and philosophical language. Theological language follows biblical writings and cannot be fully understood by natural reason. Albrecht Beutel and Stefan Streiff have located Luther’s theological view of language in the exegesis and doctrinal understanding of John 1.111 For Luther, Jesus Christ is the Word of God, which defines the distinctive character of theological language.

In German systematic theology, Luther’s understanding of theological language has influenced the theological hermeneutics of Gerhard Ebeling and Joachim Ringleben.112 The work of Ingolf Dalferth and Hans-Peter Grosshans has connected it with the philosophy of religion.113 Jörg Baur has elaborated the historical dimension of sola scriptura.114

Among the English-language publications, Dennis Bielfeldt, Mickey Mattox, and Paul Hinlicky’s The Substance of the Faith: Luther’s Doctrinal Theology for Today connects Luther’s understanding with broader issues of doctrinal theology.115 Johannes von Lüpke provides a lucid overview of new research.116 Bayer, Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation discusses the nature of theology and Luther’s biblical hermeneutics in great detail.117

Further Reading

Alfsvag, Knut. “Language and Reality: Luther’s Relation to Classical Rhetoric in Rationis Latomianae Confutatio (1521).” StTH 41 (1987): 85–126.Find this resource:

Arndt, Erwin. “Sprache und Sprachverständnis bei Luther.” ZPhSK 36 (1983): 251–264.Find this resource:

Baudler, Georg. „Im Worte sehen“: Das Sprachdenken J. G. Hamanns. Bonn, Germany: Bouvier, 1970.Find this resource:

Baur, Jörg. “Sola scriptura: Historisches Erbe und bleibende Bedeutung” (1991). In Luther und seine klassischen Erben. Edited by J. Baur, 46–113. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1993.Find this resource:

Bayer, Oswald, Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.Find this resource:

Beutel, Albrecht. In dem Anfang war das Wort. Studien zu Luthers Sprachverständnis. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1991.Find this resource:

Bielfeldt, Dennis, Mattox, Mickey, and Hinlicky, Paul. The Substance of the Faith: Luther’s Doctrinal Theology for Today. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008.Find this resource:

Biser, Eugen. Theologisches Sprachdenken und Hermeneutik. Habilitationsschrift Munich, 1970.Find this resource:

Dalferth, Ingolf U.Religiöse Rede von Gott. Munich: Kaiser, 1981.Find this resource:

Ebeling, Gerhard. “Gott und Wort” (1966). In Wort und Glaube. Edited by G. Ebeling, 2: 396–432. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1969.Find this resource:

Ebeling, Gerhard. Einführung in die theologische Sprachlehre. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1971.Find this resource:

Gerber, Uwe. Disputatio als Sprache des Glaubens. Zürich, Switzerland: Theologischer Verlag, 1970.Find this resource:

Grane, Leif. Modus loquendi theologicus: Luthers Kampf um die Erneuerung der Theologie. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1975.Find this resource:

Grosshans, Hans-Peter. Theologischer Realismus: Ein sprachphilosophischer Beitrag zu einer theologischen Sprachlehre. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1996.Find this resource:

Hägglund, Bernd. “Martin Luther über die Sprache.” NZSTh 26 (1984): 1–12.Find this resource:

Körtner, Ulrich H. J.Theologie des Wortes Gottes. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001.Find this resource:

Lüpke, Johannes von. “Luther’s Use of Language.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb et al., 143–155. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Marx, Werner. Absolute Reflexion und Sprache. Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1967.Find this resource:

Meinhold, Peter. Luthers Sprachphilosophie. Berlin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1958.Find this resource:

Noack, Hermann. Sprache und Offenbarung: Zur Grenzbestimmung von Sprachphilosophie und Sprachtheologie. Gütersloh, Germany: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1960.Find this resource:

Ramsey, Ian T.Religious Language: An Empirical Placing of Theological Phrases. London: Macmillan, 1957 (Paperback 1963).Find this resource:

Ringleben, Joachim. “Wort Gottes.” In Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie 12, 1030–1036. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2004.Find this resource:

Ringleben, Joachim. Gott im Wort: Luthers Theologie von der Sprache her. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.Find this resource:

Saarinen, Risto. “The Word of God in Luthers’s Theology.” Lutheran Quarterly (1990): 31–44.Find this resource:

Schulte, Andrea. Religiöse Rede als Sprachhandlung. Frankfurt: Lang, 1992.Find this resource:

Streiff, Stefan. Novis linguis loqui. Martin Luthers Disputation über Joh 1, 14. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993.Find this resource:

Wabel, Thomas. Sprache als Grenze in Luthers theologischer Hermeneutik und Wittgensteins Sprachphilosophie. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1998.Find this resource:


(1.) Joachim Ringleben, Gott im Wort: Luthers Theologie von der Sprache her (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2010).

(2.) Aesthetica in nuce (1762). Sämtliche Werke (Nadler), Zweiter Band (Vienna: Herder, 1950), 199, 4–5.

(3.) For Luther, the Trinity is constituted linguistically, as a “conversation” within God (cf. Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 70ff). For Gregory the Great, it already meant “to speak is to have begotten the Word of God” (Loqui enim Dei est verbum genuisse: Moral. XXIII 19, 35; MPL 19, 35).

(4.) “The greater miracle of language does not lie in the fact that the Word becomes flesh … but that which thus emerges [i.e., into outward existence] and manifests itself in utterance is always already a word”: Hans-Georg Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1975), 397.

(5.) WA 38:365, 10–13 and 16–17. WA 43:481, 27–28; LW 5:76 states explicitly: “God speaks with us even in our own language and with human tongue” (deus nobiscum loquitur etiam sermone nostro et lingua humana); cf. WA 26:285, 18; LW 37:185.

(6.) Ringleben, Das philosophische Evangelium (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), 115–129.

(7.) John Milton, Paradise Lost VIII, 72 (referring to the Archangel Raphael).

(8.) Deus enim vocat ea, quae non sunt, ut sint, et loquitur non grammatica vocabula, sed veras et subsistentes res; Ut quod apud nos vox sonat, id apud Deum res est. Sic Sol, Luna, Coelum, terra, Petrus, Paulus, Ego, tu, etc. sumus vocabula Dei, Imo una syllaba vel litera comparatione totius creaturae (WA 42:17, 16–20; LW 1:21–22).

(9.) Vita enim sine verbo incerta est et obscura (WA 18:655, 10; LW 33:93).

(10.) deus verbosus (WA 39/II:199, 4–5; LW 34:316).

(11.) Founded in the Incarnation, Christian language remains a “corporeal word” (cf. Aug. Conf; WA 17/II:330, 32). This, as well as sacred scripture and as annunciation (“through shared conversation and the consolation of brethren” [per muutum colloquium et consolationem fratrum]; ASm „Vom Evangelio“; BSLK 449, 12–13) as well as in the form of the Sacrament (Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 144–169).

(12.) “There is, however, one idea, which is not a Greek idea and does the being of language more justice … It is the Christian idea of the Incarnation” (Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode, 396).

(13.) Cf. Luke 21 and Matthew 18:20. Because Solon’s “when truth comes out into the open” (ἀληθείης ἐς μέσον ἐρχομένης‎) counts as Christian, Gadamer can speak of the “center of language … in which the intermediary nature of the event of the Incarnation first attains its full truth” (Wahrheit und Methode, 405).

(14.) “Since preaching the Gospel is nothing other than Christ coming to us or bringing us to him” (WA 10/I.1:13, 22—14, 1).

(15.) “The voice has not died in the letters. The entire text is sermo, speech.” Jörg Baur, “Sola scriptura: Historisches Erbe und bleibende Bedeutung,” 1991, in Luther und seine klassischen Erben, ed. J. Baur (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1993), 88.

(16.) Sic Deus se nobis revelat, quod sit Dictor (WA 42:17, 28; LW 1:22).

(17.) WA 49:405, 5–6. LW 30:3.

(18.) “Es sey so gewis, als rede es Gott selber, wie er´s denn gewißlich selbs redet” (WA 30/II:496, 32–33; cf. 454, 1–4; 15, 486, 27; 487, 14–15; 19, 520, 17–19; 37, 381, 9–10).

(19.) For understanding the Church, see Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 170–192.

(20.) verbum est inter loquentem et audientem (WA 13:601, 14).

(21.) Cf. WA 3:347, 13–14 (LW 10:293). The stories told in the Old and New Testaments must also be read as a speaking word (WA 43:672,16–17; LW 5:353).

(22.) WA 12:259, 8–11. Cf. WA 8:33, 30–31; 10/III:305, 1–4; 10/I.1:13, 22–14, 1, and Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 402–418 (on the sermon).

(23.) cui datum est sic verba scripturae legere et audire existimet se a deo ipso audire: WA 3:342, 27–28; LW 10:286)

(24.) As Hamann put it, “see in this your Word” (Sämtliche Werke 1: 49, 31–32).

(25.) WA 47:184, 17–18.

(26.) Ludwig Wittgenstein remarked, “Now, what is going on when I read the printed text? I see printed words and pronounce words … In what, therefore, does the characteristic feature of the experience of reading consist?—Here, I would like to say, the words that I pronounce come in a particular way …—They come of their own accord.—… while reading, the spoken words hatch out, as it were. Indeed, I cannot look at a printed German word at all without a peculiar process of inwardly hearing the sound of the word” (Philosophische Untersuchungen (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1967), 88–89; §165.

(27.) WA 23:151, 13–20; WA 19:492, 19ff. The same also holds true for Luther’s translation of the Bible, freeing the individual Christian (Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 308–351). As Hegel emphasizes, “For German Christians, to have translated the book of their faith into their mother tongue is one of the greatest revolutions that can take place … Only when something has been expressed in the mother tongue is it my own. Luther, Melanchthon completely rejected the scholastic approach and made decisions from the Bible, the faith, and the human spirit” (Vorlesungen zur Geschichte der Philosophie III; Werke in zwanzig Bänden (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1971), 20: 16–17. Translated into the mother tongue, the holy scripture exists as the property of a people, and at the same time the general substance of faith acquires individual definiteness.

(28.) Awakened by the Holy Spirit, faith breaks out into words: “the Spirit is full of words; he overflows with joy like a vessel” (Plenus est spiritus verbis, ghet uber ut vas prae gaudio; WA 16:203, 3–4); cf. Rom. 10:8–9.

(29.) WA 30/I:139, 15–18; cf. Rom. 10:10.

(30.) “The nature of real listening is defined by reference to discourse [the Logos]” (Martin Heidegger, Logos [Heraklit, Fragment 50]. Gesamtausgabe [Frankfurt: Klostermann, 2000], 7: 221–222).

(31.) “Thereby is our life simply subsumed in the bare word” (WA 32:123, 25).

(32.) Bruno Liebrucks, Sprache und Bewußtsein. Band 1 (Frankfurt: Akademische Verlagsanstalt, 1964), 150.

(33.) Brief über den Humanismus. Gesamtausgabe. Band 9 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1976), 313. In the same connection, Luther speaks of “a house where faith and God’s Word live within” (WA 7:550, 30–31; cf. John 14:2–3).

(34.) Philosophische Untersuchungen §19 and 23.

(35.) WA 10/I.1:193, 12–13; cf. Ps. 104:18.

(36.) Quia si verbum dei … intimior est rebus caeteris quam ipse sibi, quanto magis intimior est rerum nobilissimae scilicet animae quam ipsa sibi (WA 9:103, 22–25 [cf. Heb. 4:12–13]; WA 57/III:161, 1–2; of Christ: WA 40/I:545, 26–27 [LW 26:356]; of Scripture: WA 30/I:232, 2–3).

(37.) On Luther’s eschatology of the Word, cf. Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 550–620.

(38.) ita nos in verbum suum, non autem verbum suum in nos mutat (WA 56:227, 4–5).

(39.) WA 32:123, 25 et passim.

(40.) Tunc diceretur “deus meus” in re, quod nunc in spe dicitur (WA 5:129, 6–7).

(41.) Formatur enim Christus in nobis continue, et nos formamur ad imaginem ipsius, dum hoc vivimus (WA 39/I:204, 12–13; Th. 34).

(42.) Quare homo huius vitae est pura materia Dei ad futurae formae suae vitam (WA 39/I:177, 3–4; Th. 35; LW 34:139).

(43.) Oswald Bayer, Theologie (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1994), 35–126; Christine Axt-Piscalar, Was ist Theologie? (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 79–94.

(44.) On the philosophy of language, see Joachim Ringleben, Dogmatik als historische Disziplin (JHMTh, ZNThG 16 (2009), 155–180). Theological language is reflected because it always includes a theory of religious language itself; this exists in Luther in reference to the subject of metaphor. Cf. my two essays, “Luther zur Metapher” and “Metapher und Eschatologie bei Luther,” in Joachim Ringleben, Arbeit am Gottesbegriff I (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 58–95 and 96–116.

(45.) WA 21:233, 26–29. The water of the Old Covenant is supposed to become the wine of the New Covenant (cf. John 2:7–10).

(46.) WA 54:30, 7. The “letter” is supposed to become “spirit” (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6). In consequence, Luther inspiredly writes, “Christ … is a vowel,” since he makes the Hebrew language of the Old Testament (without vowels, as such unpronounceable) speak in the New Testament (WA 48:701, 20–21).

(47.) I have attempted to do this exhaustively for the Fourth Gospel: Das philosophische Evangelium. Theologische Auslegung des Johannesevangeliums im Horizont des Sprachdenkens (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2014) (HUTh 64).

(48.) Quid enim potest in scripturis augustius latere reliquum, postquam fractis signaculis et voluto ab hostio sepulchri lapide, illud summum mysterium proditum est, Christum filium Dei factum hominem, Esse deum trinum et unum, Christum pro nobis passum et regnaturum aeternaliter? (WA 18:606, 24–28; WA 33:25–26).

(49.) alia dialectica et philosophia in articulis fidei, quae vocatur verbum Dei et fides (WA 39/II:5, 9–10; Th. 27; LW 38:241). On the new philosophy, see nn. 3, 4, and 6 above. Cf. “the passion of faith must be practiced in the articles of faith, not of philosophical understanding” (Affectus fidei exercendus est in articulis fidei, non intellectus philosophiae; WA 39/II:5, 39–40; Th. 42, with reference to John 1:14; LW 38:242).

(50.) loqui novis linguis in regno fidei extra omnem sphaeram (WA 39/II:5, 36; Th. 40; LW 38:242). On “beyond every sphere” (extra omnem sphaeram), see nn. 3–4 above.

(51.) “And thus do the words conventional in Philosophy become new” (Et sic vocabula usitata philosophiae fiunt nova; WA 39/II:19, 24–25; cf. 4, 6–7 (Th. 8) and 2 Cor. 10:5. LW 38:253). On this topic, see Leif Grane, Modus loquendi theologicus. Luthers Kampf um die Erneuerung der Theologie (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 1975). (AThD 12); Stefan Streiff, Novis linguis loqui. M.Luthers Disputation über Joh 1, 14 (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993).

(52.) WA 39/II:19, 7 and 31 (XII); LW 38:255; cf. also 30, 18–19. Christ is the new Adam! Luther explained it eschatologically in his Disputatio de homine (WA 39/I:175–177; LW 134:138–139); cf. Gerhard Ebeling, Lutherstudien Band II, Disputatio de homine. 3 Teile (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1977–1989).

(53.) WA 39/II:19, 17–18. LW 38:253. Cf. WA 39/II:103, 1–11. Christ is not a natural “word” but a “divine and uncreated Word” (verbum divinum et increatum: 103, 6–7).

(54.) WA 39/I:229, 18–19: “leads them betimes to the bath [font]” (cf. 24–25). On the rationale for the redefinition of ways of thinking as “new words” (nova vocabula), cf. WA 39/II:10, 30; 94, 23–24 (Th. 23); 56, 222, 2–5.

(55.) virtus et maiestas materiae (sc. theologiae); WA 39/II:4, 32–33; Th. 20).

(56.) Verbum caro factum est. Cf. the disputation of 1539: WA 39/II:3–5 and 6ff; LW 38:240–241 and the disputation De divinitate et humanitate Christi (WA 39/II:93–96 and 97ff).

(57.) verbum significare plenum Deum (WA 39/II:103, 5 and 10–11).

(58.) Cf. WA 39/II:94, 21–22 (Th. 21).

(59.) Cf. WA 39/II:94, 11–12. Luther discovers a highly limited but privileged analogy in grammar; cf. 94:12–13 (Th. 18).

(60.) creator et creatura unus et idem est (WA 39/II:105, 6–7). Cf. 12, 6–7: “Wir aber sagen, das sein mensch sei Gott, und bewähren es durch das Wort Gottes ohne Syllogismus” (Nos autem dicimus, quod homo sit Deus, et testamur hoc verbo Dei sine syllogismo).

(61.) Ibi homo et deus non est metaphysice separandus (WA TR 3:671, 17–18, no. 3868).

(62.) spiritus sanctus habet suam grammaticam (WA 39/II:104, 24).

(63.) Cf. WA 39/II:4, 32–33 (Th. 20, LW 38:240–241) and 104, 25–26: “The matter is greater than can be grasped with the rules of grammar and philosophy [alone]” (res maior est, quam ut comprehendi possit grammaticis et philosophicis regulis. On grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic in Luther, cf. Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 352–370.

(64.) Ut quae sit non quidem contra, sed extra, intra, supra, infra, citra, ultra omnem veritatem dialecticam (WA 39/II, 4:34–35; Th. 21).

(65.) In particular, Luther criticizes scholasticism’s predetermined concept formation and in opposition to formal Aristotelian logic offers a logic of language (WA 39/I:5, 9–10; Th. 27). Cf. notes 3 and 7 above.

(66.) Cf. WA 5:170, 2–6: “Now, God is everything in all things, equal and the same, yet at the same time the most unequal and most diverse. For he himself is that which is simple in being many, manifold in simplicity, equal in inequality, unequal in equality, frail in sublimity, deep in the highest, furthest out in the most inward of things, and the opposite.” (est iam Deus omnia in omnibus, aequus et idem, simul tamen inaequalissimus et diversissimus. Ipse est enim, qui in multitudine simplex, in simplicitate multiplex, in inaequalitate aequalis, in aequalitate inaequalis, in sublimitate infirmus, in excelsis profundus, in intimis extremus est et diverso).

(67.) WA 26:327–330. LW 37:215–220.

(68.) WA 26:341, 17–19. LW 37:230.

(69.) Luther invokes the “extensive” significance of “in” in Hebrew (WA 26:464, 34–36; LW 37:320). Cf. also WA 18:664, 10–11; LW 33:107.

(70.) incurvatio in seipsum; WA 56:258, 27–28; 304:25–29 et passim.

(71.) Non potest homo naturaliter velle deum esse deum, Immo vellet se esse deum et deum non esse deum (WA 1:225, 1–2; Th. 17; LW 31:10).

(72.) WA 7:22, 26–28. Cf. LW 31:346.

(73.) WA 7:22, 32–33. Cf. LW 31:346.

(74.) WA 7:22, 31–32. Cf. LW 31:346.

(75.) WA 7:22, 26. Cf. LW 31:346.

(76.) scientia libertatis Christianae (WA 6:538, 30).

(77.) expectatio creaturae. Cf. n. 80 below.

(78.) Aliter Apostolus philosophatur et sapit quam philosophici et metaphysici (WA 56:371ff; LW 25:360).

(79.) WA 7:337, 30–35.

(80.) quid creatura expectet (WA 56:371, 9–10; LW 25:360).

(81.) quod futura nondum est (WA 56:371, 30–31; LW 25:361).

(82.) Cf. WA 34/II:480, 18–481, 16 and Rom. 8:18.

(83.) Cf. the section De predicatione identica (WA 26:437ff; LW 37:294). Luther stresses, “I speak it not from the written text. Thinking counts.” (337, 14).

(84.) Hence, it holds true that one should not “know logic before one is familiar with grammar” (WA 26:443, 10; WA 37:101).

(85.) Zusammensprechen. Cf. my detailed interpretation (Gott im Wort, 149–164).

(86.) “That where two different beings come into one being, there it [synecdoche] also makes two such beings into one kind of speech” (WA 26:443, 14–16).

(87.) WA 26:444, 27–28. LW 37:202.

(88.) WA 26:444, 34–35. LW 37:202. In this sense, Luther can say here, “It is not contrary to the text. Yes, it is also not contrary to reason nor contrary to correct logic” (WA 26:440, 16–17; LW 37:96).

(89.) WA 26:445, 4–6. LW 37:303.

(90.) “God has spoken and is expressed” (WA 48:203, 2–5). Luther continues, “There the preposition ‘against’ (contra) will become a reproach to all, and finally turn into a ‘beneath us’ (infra nos)” (WA 48:203, 5–6). Johannes von Lüpke has drawn attention to this important passage with a forceful interpretation: Theologie als „Grammatik der Sprache der heiligen Schrift“ (NZSTh 34 [1992]: 227–250).

(91.) Consonant with the traditional axiom “acting is subsequent to being” (agere sequitur esse).

(92.) On the verb/action word (Tätigkeitswort) as the actual kinetic element in a sentence, cf. Wilhelm von Humboldt: “Language puts them (sc. the ideal conditions for logic) in a specific moment, and portrays the subject, as the predicate, active or passive, monopolizing or rebuffing. The dead relational concept … becomes a living movement. The verb, the midpoint, and the nucleus of grammar as a whole are produced” (Von dem grammatischen Baue der Sprachen. Gesammelte Schriften (A. Leitzmann, Akad.-Ausg.), Band VI (Berlin: de Gruyter [ND], 1906), 346).

(93.) verba ita ponere, ut in eis rem ipsam simul observari et geri videas (WA 2:604, 2).

(94.) Should it be grammatically realized, the traditional form of the judgment in theological statements about God must be made dialectically fluid; cf. Ringleben, Sätze über Gott und spekulativer Satz; in: Ringleben, Arbeit am Gottesbegriff II (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 192–209.

(95.) G. W. F. Hegel, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Band 5 (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1969), 53.

(96.) In rebus omnibus est spectandus modus loquendi. grammatica debet tradere normam loquendi (WA 26:38, 12–14).

(97.) ubique inhaerendum est simplici puraeque et naturali significatione verborum (WA 18:700, 33–34; LW 33:162).

(98.) Respiciemus grammaticam (WA 31/II:336, 35 et passim).

(99.) WA 31/II:592, 17–18 and WA TR 4:432, no. 4691.

(100.) Cf. WA 41:599, 6–8. In language, exceptions to grammatical rules do of course exist (cf. WA 43:641, 14–18; LW 5:308).

(101.) Cf. n. 96 above. Luther is known to have tried to observe this in his translation of the Bible; cf. WA 30/II:637, 19–22.

(102.) Figuras loquendi (WA 44:722, 20–21; LW 8:196).

(103.) usus loquendi: WA 42:272, 27–28. LW 2:15.

(104.) Hence the astounding statement that grammar and music “preserve” things: Grammatica, musica conservatores rerum (WA TR 1:550, 1–2, no. 1096).

(105.) quem Deus creavit in hominibus (WA 18:705, 35; LW 33:168).

(106.) WA 26:444, 37–38. LW 37:303. This points forward to Wittgenstein’s realization, “Well, what do the words of this language denote?—What they do denote, how am I to show it, unless it is in the way they are used [usus]?” (Philosophische Untersuchungen [Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1967], 18; §10).

(107.) In conversation, Ludwig Wittgenstein explicitly referred to Luther and came to the realization, “grammar says what sort of object something is (theology as grammar)” (Philosophische Untersuchungen, 146; §373).

(108.) Alia nova grammatica theologica (WA 40/I:418, 5–6. LW 26:26I).

(109.) This aphorism does not originate with Luther himself (but cf. WA 39/II:104, 24–105, 3 et passim) but was attributed to him by Albrecht Bengel: details in Ringleben, Gott im Wort, 357 n. 491.

(110.) Leif Grane, Modus loquendi theologicus.

(111.) Albrecht Beutel, In dem Anfang war das Wort. Studien zu Luthers Sprachverständnis (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1991); and Streiff, Novis linguis loqui.

(112.) Gerhard Ebeling, “Gott und Wort” (1966), in Wort und Glaube, ed. G. Ebeling (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1969), 2: 396–432; Gerhard Ebeling, Einführung in die theologische Sprachlehre (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1971); and Ringleben, Gott im Wort.

(113.) Ingolf U. Dalferth, Religiöse Rede von Gott (Munich: Kaiser, 1981); and Hans-Peter Grosshans, Theologischer Realismus: Ein sprachphilosophischer Beitrag zu einer theologischen Sprachlehre (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1996).

(114.) Jörg Baur, “Sola scriptura.”

(115.) Dennis Bielfeldt, Mickey Mattox, and Paul Hinlicky, The Substance of the Faith: Luther’s Doctrinal Theology for Today (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008).

(116.) Johannes von Lüpke, “Luther’s Use of Language,” in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, eds. Robert Kolb et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 143–155.

(117.) Oswald Bayer, Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008).