For All the Saints

Changing Perceptions of Martyrdom and Sainthood in the Lutheran Reformation

By Robert Kolb

For All the Saints

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  • ISBN: 9781532674952
  • Pages: 224
  • Publication Date: 6/3/2020
  • Retail Price: $25.00
Web Price: $20.00
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
Web Price: $20.00

For All the Saints

Changing Perceptions of Martyrdom and Sainthood in the Lutheran Reformation

By Robert Kolb

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781532674952
  • Pages: 224
  • Publication Date: 6/3/2020
  • Retail Price: $25.00
Web Price: $20.00
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM

About-

Martyrs have long played a vital role in Christian life, thought, theology, and piety. Robert Kolb, an acknowledged authority on the history of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany, offers a thorough and illuminating analysis of the way German Lutherans changed the perceptions of martyrdom and sainthood.

Protestant reformers professed that providential power over daily human life was reserved for God alone, and that mediation with God is provided by Jesus Christ alone. Martyrs and saints could no longer be worshiped or act as intercessors. But this did not mean their absence from the faith and piety of sixteenth-century Protestants. Instead, holy people were regarded as those who confessed the word and in that confession demonstrated and advertised the power of God.

This book arose in response to some vexing questions: Why is the first of a long and distinguished line of Protestant martyrologists, Ludwig Rabus, the least noted? Why would he, a German Lutheran, have composed a book of martyrs? Kolb suggests that the answers are complex—they involve differences in historical and political situations and in specific dogmatic emphases of each reformation.

Kolb’s diligent research led him well beyond Rabus’s martyrbook. His work encompasses material from the writings and biographies of Luther and Melanchthon, Wittenberg chronicles and calendars, and hymns and songs. The analysis of this material makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the Lutheran Reformation and of the changing roles of saints and martyrs in the history of Christianity.

Endorsements & Reviews-

“Luther’s reformulating of the concepts of sainthood and martyrdom had implications for the writing of the history of the church. This volume traces the ways in which Luther and his disciples reacted to the first Evangelical martyrs who were executed for adhering to the Wittenberg call for reform through the publication and compilation of their stories. Kolb shows how the changed focus of the definition of “martyrdom” to every form of witness given to Christ expanded the understanding of dramatic testimony of the Christian faith to those who did not die at the established church’s hand for their embrace of reform but who nonetheless suffered attacks of various kinds, deprivation, imprisonment, and exile. This contribution to the exposition of the course of the Reformation continues to provide significant insight into the broader cultural changes emanating from Luther’s and Melanchthon’s Wittenberg.”

—Irene Dingel, director of the Department of European Religious History, Leibnitz Institute of European History, Mainz



“Thirty years ago, Robert Kolb transformed Reformation studies with his examination of martyrdom and the role of the saints in Protestant culture. His account of the martyrologist Ludwig Rabus and of the commemoration of those who died in the faith opened to us how medieval forms of devotion were appropriated and reworked by Lutherans into new historical and religious identities. The noble dead, including Luther himself, became models of Christian perseverance in the world in the face of persecution. Kolb's classic study set the agenda for generations of scholars who have explored the complex and hybrid nature of the reform movements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The publication of an updated version of this classic study is wonderful news, making available to a new audience the wisdom of one of the great scholars of the German Reformation.” 

—Bruce Gordon, Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Yale Divinity School



“It is exciting to see this little jewel of a book back in print because it will enrich a wide variety of pastors and scholars. For one thing, its pages show one of the premier historians of early Lutheranism at work: taking a modern question and answering it by employing a wide variety of underappreciated and even forgotten sixteenth-century sources. For another, the very wealth of information on the lively tradition of saints within early Lutheranism puts to rest the persistent myth that since the Reformation saints have no place in Christian piety and worship. Third, Kolb provides a rich analysis of the special role that ‘Martin Luther of blessed memory’ played in his immediate successors. Finally, those interested in liturgy and worship will find in this book’s pages important insights into how best to remember the saints of old within the framework of their witness to and faith in both the gospel and God’s providence. This is a must read for all who serve the saints of today!”

—Timothy J. Wengert, professor emeritus of Reformation history, Lutheran Theological Seminary

Contributors-

Robert Kolb

Bio(s)-

Robert Kolb is professor of systematic theology emeritus at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, coeditor of the English translation of The Book of Concord (2000) and The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology (2014), and author of Martin Luther as He Lived and Breathed (2018), Luther’s Wittenberg World (2018), Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God (2016), and Martin Luther, Confessor of the Faith (2009).

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