Fortress Press

Luther and Liberation: A Latin American Perspective, Second Edition

Luther and Liberation

A Latin American Perspective, Second Edition

Walter Altmann (Author), Thia Cooper (Translator)


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With the approach of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's inauguration of the Protestant Reformation and the burgeoning dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans opened under Pope Francis, this new edition of Walter Altmann's Luther and Liberation is timely and relevant. Luther and Liberation recovers the liberating and revolutionary impact of Luther’s theology, read afresh from the perspective of the Latin American context. Altmann provides a much-needed reassessment of Luther's significance today through a direct engagement of Luther's historical situation with an eye keenly situated on the deeply contextual situation of the contemporary reader, giving a localized reading from the author's own experience in Latin America. The work examines with fresh vigor Luther's central theological commitments, such as his doctrine of God, Christology, justification, hermeneutics, and ecclesiology, and his forays into economics, politics, education, violence, and war. This new edition greatly expands the original text with fresh scholarship and updated sources, footnotes, and bibliography, and contains several additional new chapters on Luther's doctrine of God, theology of the sacraments, his controversial perspective on the Jews, and a new comparative account with the Latin American liberation theology tradition.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451482683
  • eBook ISBN 9781506408033
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 462
  • Publication Date February 1, 2016



Part One: Overview of Luther’s Theology and Work
1.    Luther at the Crossroads between the Old and the New
Part Two: Theology with a New Interpretive Key
2.    The God of Life against All Falsehood of the Idols of Death
3.    In the Cross of Christ, Victory over All Evil
4.    Conversion, Liberation, and Justification
5.    Scripture—Instrument of Life
6.    The Church—Poor People of God
7.    Sacraments: Tomb or Cradle of Christian Community?
8.    The Reign of God in Church and State
Part Three: Exercises on Luther’s Ethical Positioning
9.    The Political Calling and the Church
10.    Education
11.    The Economy and the Community
12.    War
13.    Resistance and Violence
14.    Luther—Defender of the Jews or Antisemite?
Part Four: Luther’s Legacy and Liberation Theology
15.    What Did Luther Want, in the End?
16.    Matthew 25:31–46: Justification and Liberation
17.    The Reception of Luther’s Concept of Freedom in Latin American Liberation Theology



"One of our most urgent needs is to listen to and learn from those who see things—especially things we think we know well—from another angle. Informed by both scholarly expertise and a living faith commitment, Brazilian theologian Walter Altmann challenges us to take another
look—from a Latin American perspective—at Luther's impact in his own time and how he might speak to our own.  His book should both unsettle and enlighten!

Luther emphasized the objective dimension of justification rather than its subjective dimension. It was God's disposition and power to free human beings from bondage, rather than his own private experience of 'being saved,' that Luther preached and wrote about with such passion. Wherever systems of domination impoverish people, the objective power and disposition of God to act on behalf of human beings for Jesus' sake is a powerful message. To call this 'liberation' is to call God's saving work by its right name."

Mary M. Solberg | author of "Compelling Knowledge: A Feminist Epistemology of the Cross"

"This substantially enlarged second edition of Luther and Liberation calls for a celebration. Not only it comes along with the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, but more importantly it is an outstanding accomplishment of Luther research done in the global south as it becomes the home for the majority of Lutherans worldwide. The meticulously elaborated content attests to the brilliant aptitude of the author in Luther studies and original research. Altmann's thought-provoking reading sets Luther in enriching and mutually critical conversation with liberation theology in an ecumenical spirit, as it also liberates Luther from his captivity in the ivory tower of recalcitrant and fossilized academics. The book adeptly explicates the theology of Luther and reveals facets of the reformer often overlooked or neglected."

Vítor Westhelle | Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago