The canon of western political theory has long misrepresented Luther’s political thought, mistaking it as a forerunner of the ‘freedom of conscience’ or the ‘separation of church and state,’ or an ancestor of modern absolutism and even German totalitarianism. These misleading interpretations neglect Luther’s central point: temporal government is a gift from God, worthy of honor and respect, independent yet complementary to the purpose and mission of the Church. Spanning Luther’s career as a reformer, the writings in this anthology will demonstrate his resolve to restore temporal government to its proper place of honor and divine purpose.
Carty has wisely selected and intelligently abridged Luther’s most important political writings from 1520 to 1546. His introductions to the selections are careful and insightful, written with a full awareness of the large secondary literature. In sum, a highly recommended resource.
—Denis R. Janz, Provost Distinguished Professor
Loyola University New Orleans
Carty provides a fine overview of Luther’s theological, biblical, and practical reflections on the role of politics in the life of a Christian. In a world infected by confusions between politics and faith, the book serves as a useful antidote: a fine introduction that will benefit scholars, pastors, and lay persons interested in Luther’s remarkable view of this important topic.
—Timothy J. Wengert
Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
This is a valuable anthology for anyone wishing to understand the depth, complexities, and contexts of Luther’s political thought. Recommended for anyone looking for a thorough, source-based introduction to Luther’s political thought.
Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Political Science
University of Kansas
Jarrett A. Carty offers an inspired collection of the most relevant political writings of Martin Luther into one volume. The volume offers a fascinating study to the history of political thought in the age of Reformation. It is something that contemporary scholars of the sixteenth-century political thought in general and of the Reformation in particular should read.
—Virpi Mäkinen, D.Theol.
Acting Professor in Systematic Theology
University of Helsinki
Jarrett A. Carty, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Liberal Arts College of Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. His research on Luther’s political teachings has appeared in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, The Review of Politics, and theEncyclopedia of Political Theory.