Fortress Press

Staging Luther: Four Plays by Hans Sachs

Staging Luther

Four Plays by Hans Sachs

Annis N. Shaver (Author), Ian A. MacPhail-Fausey (Author), Clara G. Hendrickson (Author), Robert Kolb (Author)


Interested in a gratis copy?

How do you plan on using your gratis copy? Review requests are for media inquiries. Exam requests are for professors, teachers, and librarians who want to review a book for course adoption.

  • In stock
  • Kindle - Nook - Google
  • Quantity discount
    • # of Items Price
    • 1 to 9$32.00
    • 10 or more$24.00

The book contains four plays written by Hans Sachs, a troubadour, playwright, shoemaker, and important compatriot and supporter of Martin Luther.

Unlike Sachs' well-known poem "The Wittenberg Nightingale" (also included here in a new translation), the plays have not been translated into English until now and will be a boon for researchers and students who can now read them for the first time.

The plays are full of scriptural references and are generally written as dialogs between a Luther supporter and a Catholic cleric. Inevitably the Luther supporter wins the argument, but not without some name-calling and strong derision towards the Papist discussant!

In addition to the plays, the book provides historical commentary on the importance of Sachs' support of Luther, as well as annotations related to the translation and word choices along with cultural information to support the translations.

It is an important scholarly contribution to the ongoing work of reformation scholarship in the English language.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506485584
  • eBook ISBN 9781506485591
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 233
  • Publication Date May 30, 2023


These Hans Sachs plays led to the Reformation on the ground. There was not only Wittenberg; there were also cities like Nuremberg. There was not only Luther; there were also his admirers: Hans Sachs, a not-so-simple-minded shoemaker, among them. His dialogues breathe fresh impressions of the debates in his time, and they still do so in this excellent and well-annotated English translation.

Volker Leppin, Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor for Historical Theology, Yale Divinity School

Not only did the quincentenary of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation in 2017 provide ripe occasion for renewed attention to its classic figures and writings; it also granted fresh opportunities to bring into light a lesser-known "cast of characters" like the Lutheran layman Hans Sachs. Shaver and her students' translations of works that appear here for the first time in English, along with the illuminating historical, cultural, and theological introductions to Sachs and his Nuremberg setting (masterfully presented by Robert Kolb), will greatly enrich our grasp of the lay piety and literature that advanced the Reformation movement. An exciting contribution!

William Marsh, associate professor of theology, Cedarville University

These delightful translations of Sachs's work bring his plays and poetry into the conversations of sixteenth-century religious literature. Reformation scholars and students of the Renaissance will appreciate the reforming dialogues of the plays paired with insightful historical introductions.

Jason Lee, professor of theological studies, Cedarville University; editor of Matthew in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

Opening with eminent Reformation scholar Robert Kolb's richly layered exploration of the culture of Nuremberg that produced cobbler, writer, and lay theologian Hans Sachs, Staging Luther gives scholars access not only to Sachs's well-known poem "The Wittenberg Nightingale" but also to four of his heretofore untranslated dialogues. In addition to their groundbreaking work of recovering the four dialogues and translating them into modern English, the authors provide meticulously researched footnote references to Sachs's almost-constant biblical allusions in both the poem and the dialogues. Those ubiquitous scriptural allusions evidence Sachs's belief in Luther's teaching of Sola Scriptura while also pointing his audience to the absolute authority of God's Word in all matters of faith and practice. Thus, Staging Luther establishes Sachs, the self-proclaimed "average man," as a more-than-above-average practitioner and purveyor of Reformation thought whose life and works merit further study.

Marc Clauson, professor of history and law, Cedarville University