The Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther

This encyclopedia is a collaboration of the leading scholars in the field of Reformation research and the thought, life, and legacy of influence – for good and for ill – of Martin Luther. In 2017 the world marks 500 years since the beginning of the public work of Luther, whose protest against corrupt practices and the way theology was taught captured Europe’s attention from 1517 onward. Comprising 125 extensive articles in three volumes, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther examines:

– the contexts that shaped his social and intellectual world, such as previous theological and institutional developments
– the genres in which he worked, including some he essentially created
– the theological and ethical writings that make up the lion’s share of his massive intellectual output
– the complicated and contested history of his reception across the globe and across a span of disciplines

This indispensable work seeks both to answer perennial questions as well as to raise new ones. Intentionally forward-looking in approach, the ORE of Martin Luther provides a reliable survey to such issues as, for instance, how did Luther understand God? What did he mean by his notion of “vocation?” How did he make use of, but also transform, medieval thought patterns and traditions? How did Luther and the Reformation re-shape Europe and launch modernity? What were his thoughts about Islam and Judaism, and how did the history of the effects of those writings unfold?

Scholars from a variety of disciplines – economic history, systematic theology, gender and cultural studies, philosophy, and many more – propose an agenda for examining future research questions prompted by the harvest of decades of intense historical scrutiny and theological inquiry.

Luther For Today

Then Ignatius [Perknowsky] inquired, “Dear Doctor, is fornication also a sin if I don’t take another man’s wife but an unattached wench, as long as I am myself free too?” The doctor [Martin Luther] replied by citing Paul, “Neither the immoral [… nor adulterers … will inherit the kingdom of God, I Cor. 6:9].” “Paul,” he added, “made no distinction between fornication and adultery. I can’t make a law for you. I simply point to the Scriptures. There it is written. Read it for yourself. I don’t know what more I can do.” — Martin Luther