Timothy J. Wengert skillfully provides a clear understanding of the historical context from which the treatise The Freedom of a Christian and his accompanying Letter to Pope Leo X arose. As controversy concerning his writings grew, Luther was instructed to write a reconciliation-minded letter to Pope Leo X (1475–1521). To this letter he appended a nonpolemical tract describing the heart of his beliefs, The Freedom of a Christian. Luther’s Latin version added an introduction and a lengthy appendix not found in the German edition. The two editions arose out of the different audiences for them: the one addressed to theologians, clerics, and church leaders (for whom Latin was the common language), and one addressed to the German-speaking public, which included the nobility, townsfolk, many from the lesser clergy, and others who could read (or have Luther’s writings read to them).
This volume is excerpted from The Annotated Luther series, Volume 1. Each volume in the series contains new introductions, annotations, illustrations, and notes to help shed light on Luther’s context and to interpret his writings for today. The translations of Luther’s writings include updates of Luther’s Works, American Edition, or new translations of Luther’s German or Latin writings.
- Publisher Fortress Press
- ISBN 9781506413518
- Brand Annotated Luther
- Format Paperback
- Dimensions 7.5 x 9.25
- Pages 88
- Publication Date June 1, 2016
Endorsements"This fine volume provides fresh translations of a dozen core Luther texts from the period 1517–1520. Public statements, sermons, major treatises, and letters that were previously scattered widely across five different volumes of the American Edition of Luther’s Works (plus the welcome addition of the lesser-known Sermon on Indulgences and Grace, which does not appear in LW) are brought together in a focused way so that the reader sees Luther's theology develop in a more holistic manner, reflecting his work as a university professor, preacher, and church reformer. The introductions to the volume and to the individual writings combine historical context and theological themes in a thorough yet accessible manner; the annotations are both helpful and (unlike many academic notes) inviting to the eye. Wengert and his colleagues have produced a valuable text for classroom use and personal study. This is an excellent start to what promises to be a fine series."
Kathryn A. Kleinhans
"The advent of The Annotated Luther series should be cause for celebration among scholars, pastors, students, and others eager to have easy access to so many of Martin Luther’s key writings. If the appealing layout, rich images, and erudite editorials featured in Volume 1 are an indication of what’s to come, then The Annotated Luther will quickly become the go-to resource for learning about Luther’s work and context."
"This exciting Annotated Luther series from Fortress Press comes out at a very important moment. Lutherans worldwide anticipate the commemoration of five hundred years of the reformation in 2017. I just came from a conference of Asian Lutheran theologians where various Luther reception processes have been established to cater for Sunday school children to seminary professors. In many parts of the global south where the churches are growing, there is growing desire to encounter the reformer in as direct ways as is possible. The Annotated Luther series will facilitate easy access to Luther, especially for those who could not do so in the German or Latin. This will be a great resource likely to be translated into many vernacular languages."
The Lutheran World Federation
"The Annotated Luther series represents a finely crafted synthesis between readable primary texts and some of the best secondary scholarship. A superb editorial team, under the leadership of Hillerbrand, Stjerna, and Wengert, has made seventy-five selections, ranging from major treatises to sermons and letters, and beautifully laid these out in six volumes, together with state-of-the-art analyses and explanatory notes. Luther the theologian, the biblical interpreter, the pastor, the social/political thinker—all are given their due, and the resulting multidimensional portrait combines balance with a newly sharpened focus. In sum, a signal achievement."
Denis R. Janz
Loyola University New Orleans
"The Annotated Luther series provides a very welcome resource for meeting Luther again in the contemporary world. With language refreshed for our time, we can see more clearly Luther as a man who is actively grappling with a society undergoing dramatic challenges economically, religiously, and socially. By providing skilled commentary from scholars around the world and from diverse theological perspectives, this work will be of great help for modern Christians seeking to adapt and extend the insights from the Reformation to modern challenges."
Maria E. Erling
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
"As no other comparable series, The Annotated Luther provides the reader, whether lay or ordained, with a collection of the Wittenberg reformer's most important writings that is at once learned and highly accessible. Here Luther's works are presented in up-to-date translation with helpful introductions, explanatory notes, and engaging images. A must for the student and scholar of Luther alike!"
Ronald K. Rittgers