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Lecture 5

EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Adiaphora, Itch, Fide

European Studies
Course Code
John Smith

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Professor Smith
Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
4 units
2018 Fall Quarter
Course Notes
Martin Luther
Theology of “Christian Liberty” and some consequences of the Reformation
Pope Leo X’s response to Luther, a “papal bull”
Term “bull” comes from the lead seal (“bulla” in Latin) used to authenticate the
pope’s signature
And Luther’s response to the Pope’s Bull against him
There’s a schism/break in Christendom
Luther’s Strategy
Take his language at surface value
He says he supports the pope yet criticizes the institution of the church
Why might he be doing that?
He could be working toward “reform” within the church, helping the pope
And yet, taking the tone into account and considering what the outcome in fact
was, do we have to rethink it?
Luther knew he was going to cause a break with the catholic church
The essay outlines a theology opposed to the church’s doctrine
He even says that the pope would no longer have the same function as an
intermediary between god and the world
His language so over-the-top that he must have anticipated the reaction
So, why?
Was he perhaps conciliatory so that the pope would have to
take the first step?
That is, he was itching for a fight and a split; he didn’t
really believe in “reform”
But he couldn’t come out and say that
Instead, he allowed the pope to excommunicate
him, all the while Luther could point to his own
“nice words” about the pope
On to “Christian Liberty”
A fundamental statement of protestant theology
We’ll want to focus on the main points so that we can examine their effects - also
outside the world of religion
Connection between the letter and the essay
“Moreover, I cannot bear with laws for the interpretation of the Word of God,
since the Word of God, which teaches liberty in all other things, ought not to be
No one (even the pope) has a right to interpret scripture for others: “they are in
error, who attribute to you alone the right of interpreting Scripture”
This grants Luther the grounds for challenging the highest religious authority in
the Christian world
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