This chapter examines Martin Luther’s use of whores and harlots as metaphors and rhetorical devices. Specifically, in the early 1520s, Luther developed a metaphor for justification by faith and the imputation of righteousness: the Whore-Bride of Christ. This essay examines the metaphor’s origin and deployment in the early stages of the Reformation as Luther sought to clarify and explain his new theological commitments. The whore-bride of Christ served to illustrate for Luther that the Christian brings nothing to his or her relationship with Christ but sin, not works or righteousness. In regard to the marriage union, Christ takes on the Christian’s (“whore’s”) sin and exchanges it with his righteousness. In 1525, however, Luther completely abandoned the metaphor. Luther’s theological commitment to justification by faith and the imputation of righteousness did not change in 1525, so why did he stop using the metaphor? The essay ends by suggesting that the explanation for his abandonment of the metaphor will not be found in his theology, but in life beyond the pulpit and the lectern.
An examination of the role of Humanisim, via Lefèvre and Erasmus on the formation of Martin Luther’s theology leading up to the Ninety-Five Theses.
In 1516, Desiderius Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament. Almost immediately, it became embroiled in controversy and Erasmus was accused of heresy because of critical decisions he made about the text. The most controversial was his decision to not include 1John 5,7, the so-called Comma Johanneum, which was used as a defense of the Trinity. This essay examines the ways in which Erasmus attempted to protect himself and his New Testament from heresy charges as he revised it for its second edition. Then, it offers a further contextualization for why those attempts failed. Erasmus reinserted 1John 5,7 in his third edition.