Martin Luthers theologische Grundbegriffe: Von »Abendmahl« bis »Zweifel«

Dieses Lehrbuch bietet eine Auswahl der wichtigsten theologischen Grundbegriffe Luthers, dargeboten anhand von Zitaten, die in der Weimarer Ausgabe nachgewiesen werden. Das Wörterbuch möchte die Theologie Luthers am Leitfaden ihrer Grundbegriffe darstellen. Diese sollen in Luthers eigenen Aussagen zur Sprache kommen, die der Weimarer Ausgabe seiner Schriften entnommen sind, aber in einer modernen, den originalen Sprachduktus durchschimmern lassenden Sprachform wiedergegeben werden. Am Ende der Artikel finden sich Angaben v.a. zur neueren Literatur zum jeweiligen Begriff. Ein Sachregister ermöglicht auch die Suche nach Begriffen, denen kein eigener Artikel gewidmet wurde. Damit füllt das Buch die Lücke zwischen Konkordanzen und systematisierenden Darstellungen der Theologie Luthers und ist als einführendes und orientierendes Instrument für Studierende, aber auch für PfarrerInnen oder ReligionslehrerInnen beim Umgang mit Luthers Schriften gedacht.

Mohr have kindly provided a review copy.   First allow me to mention the fact that this isn’t the sort of book you read through.  It’s a ‘dictionary’ or ‘encyclopedia’ which treats theological concepts in alphabetical order.  A one page overview leads directly into the alphabetical listing which is itself followed by an index of subjects.

The entries are laid out in a very organized fashion.  The word under discussion is ‘linked’ to similar terms at the outset.  So, for example, ‘Kreuz’ is linked to ‘Leid, Sterben, Tod’.  Then the entry itself follows with copious quotations from Luther (and all provided with Weimar Ausgabe volume and page numbers so that those interested in seeing the wider context can easily track it down).

When necessary, each article is subdivided into smaller units.  So, again, using ‘Kreuz’ as the example, under 1. are a series of quotes from Luther about the Cross.  2. The Cross of Christ for the Christian. 3. The Christian’s Cross. 4. Preaching the Cross.  Again, each subsection collects numerous citations.

At the end of each entry readers are offered a brief bibliographic listing of relevant resources for further reading.

I like this volume very much.  It can easily serve as a primer to Luther’s theological ideas and it’s neither too short to be useless nor too long to be burdensome.  It reminds me of Kurt Aland’s now decades old Lutherlexikon which appeared in 1974.  That little volume is also quite useful but I have to confess that Rieger’s is both more thorough and more user friendly.  Things are easier to find and entries are fuller.


There is, at present, as everyone knows, a near glut of Luther books flooding the market.  When the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation subsides after October and the bulk of books are swept aside in a tide of disinterest, be sure to have obtained a copy of this one.  You will refer to it often because it has abiding usefulness.  Indeed, it’s like Luther himself in that sense: he (it) abides.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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