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Dangerous political propaganda or passionate prophetic speech? An alternative reading of Luther’s 1520 treatise, To the Christian nobility of the German nation concerning the reform of the Christian estate

Pietsch, Stephen J (2014) Dangerous political propaganda or passionate prophetic speech? An alternative reading of Luther’s 1520 treatise, To the Christian nobility of the German nation concerning the reform of the Christian estate. Lutheran Theological Journal, 48 (2). pp. 64-75. ISSN 0024-7553

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Abstract

Was Luther’s passionate polemical language in his appeal to the German nobility in 1520 really a major cause of the German Peasant Revolt, as is so popularly believed? Was he intentionally or unintentionally calling for revolution and the overturning of the feudal economy? In reply to Peter Burgard’s 2008 article, ‘Masterful Rhetoric: the Logic or Authority and Subjection in Luther’ which reiterates these old accusations against Luther, Stephen Pietsch offers an alternative reading of Luther’s treatise. He argues that much of the blame laid at Luther’s door has been based on false and anachronistic readings of the 1520 treatise, and that careful and properly contextualised rhetorical analysis shows it to be theologically prophetic speech rather than politically inflammatory propaganda.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: rhetorical, polemical, polemic, Luther, Burgard, Emser, nobility, reformation, peasant revolt, Papacy, catholic, revolutionary, prophetic.
Fields of Research: 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
Type of Activity: Applied Research
Subjects: C - Church History
College/Association with University of Divinity: ALC: Australian Lutheran College
Depositing User: Ms Rosslyn Darmody
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2015 00:13
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2016 04:11
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1771

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