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The Personal Luther

Essays on the Reformer from a Cultural Historical Perspective


Susan Karant-Nunn

Overwhelmingly, Martin Luther has been treated as the generator of ideas concerning the relationship between God and humankind. The Personal Luther deliberately departs from that church-historiographic tradition. Luther was a voluble and irrepressible divine. Even though he had multiple ancillary interests, such as singing, playing the lute, appreciating the complexities of nature, and observing his children, his preoccupation was, as he quickly saw it, bringing the Word of God to the people.
This book is not about Luther’s theology except insofar as any ideational construct is itself an expression of the thinker who frames it. Luther frequently couched his affective utterances within a theological framework. Nor is it a biography; it does not portray a whole life. Rather, it concentrates on several heretofore neglected aspects of the Reformer’s existence and personality.

The subjects that appear in this book are meant to demonstrate what such core-taking on a range of mainly unexplored facets of the Reformer’s personality and experience can yield. It will open the way for other secular researchers to explore the seemingly endless interests of this complicated individual. It will also show that perspectives of cultural historians offer the broadest possible evidentiary base within which to analyze a figure of the past.


Edited by Thomas Brady, Katherine G. Brady, Susan Karant-Nunn and James D. Tracy

The work of Heiko Oberman in breaking down the conventional barriers between the medieval and the modern has been a starting point for scholars focused on a variety of philosophical and theological questions. In October 2000 a symposium was held to mark Prof. Oberman's 70th birthday at which it was intended to honour him with a review of the main themes of his scholarship.
The fields chosen for treatment were the theology of the Reformers, the Reformation itself, and the scholastic theology of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and leading scholars in the field were invited to present papers. Some chose to engage directly with specific aspects of his major preoccupations, while others presented current work that bore out his instincts as to fruitful directions for research. The essays from the symposium published as a tribute to his memory include papers by Peter Blickle, William J. Courtenay, Jane Dempsey Douglass, Berndt Hamm, Scott Hendrix, Nicolette Mout, Francis Oakley, Christopher Ocker, and Andrew Pettegree. G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes provides a life of Heiko Augustinus Oberman.

Publications by Heiko A. Oberman:

Edited by Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy, Handbook of European History 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. I: Structures and Assertions, ISBN: 978 90 04 09760 5
Edited by Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy, Handbook of European History 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. II: Visions, Programs, Outcomes, ISBN: 978 90 04 09761 2
Edited by C. Trinkaus and H.A. Oberman, The pursuit of holiness in late medieval and renaissance religion, ISBN: 978 90 04 03791 5 (Out of print)
Edited by H.A. Oberman and T.A. Brady, Jr., Itinerarium Italicum: The Profile of the Italian Renaissance in the Mirror of its European Transformations, ISBN: 978 90 04 04259 9
Edited by H.A. Oberman and F. A. James III, Via Augustini: Augustine in the later Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, ISBN: 978 90 04 09364 5 (Out of print)
Edited by Peter A. Dykema and Heiko A. Oberman, Anticlericalism in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ISBN: 978 90 04 09518 2
Luther and the Dawn of the Modern Era, ISBN: 978 90 04 16199 3 (Out of print)

Founding Editor of Studies in the History of Christian Traditions and Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions