Translated from a critical edition Martin Luther, Lateinisch-deutsche Studienausgabe (LD-StA) Band 2, Chritusglaube und Rechtfertigung, herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Johannes Schilling, Evangelische Verlagsanstallt Leipzig 2006, p. 1–15, considering the basic edition Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesammtausgabe. 1. Band. Weimar: Hermann Böhlau, 1883, p. 229–238 (p. 229–232 the editor's introduction). A Czech version of a portion of the text was made by Amedeo Molnár, Z devadesáti pěti tezí Martina Luthera, in: Slovem obnovená (Čtení o reformaci), Praha: Kalich, 1977, p. 180–181. – More Czech versions of the Theses (anonymous): http://www.dejepis.com/dokument/95-tezi-martina-luthera/ as well as: https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/95_tezí. I have taken in consideration the German version in the edition of DStA. The most recent Slovak version was published in 2015: Adriána Biela et al. in 95 výpovedí Dr. Martina Luthera. Praha: Lutherova společnost, 2015, s. 14–23. (Reviewed in this issue of ThV, p. 92. Editor's note.)
I have included alternative numbes from the thesis No. 26 following the numbering of the Weimar edition of the original. I have divided the composition in a few paragraphs to show thematic and logical units of the Luther's argument. I have joined some of the closely linked theses in longer sentences (keeping their numbering in the translation), again following the logic of the author's argument.
The translation is an output of the research project "Jan Hus a husitská literatura pro 21. století, GA ČR 17-15433S". The version has been published with the kind support of the Comenius Institute, Prague.
Luther’s theology is viewed as an alternative to the scholastic speculative theology. Luther took up the tradition of the monastic theology, especially the one of Bernard of Clairvaux. The monastic theology based on and reflected experience of God. Luther’s theology rather than rejecting reason expanded it to experience, primarily, with Luther, to experiencing the power of the Word of God in tests and temptations. Ratio extends to oratio, speculation is replaced with meditation. Luther innovated traditional theology also in making full use of the means of humanism, notably its classical philology.
The Clarity of the Holy Scripture according to Martin Luther
For Martin Luther, the clarity of the Holy Scripture (claritas scripturae) was the leading principle (primum principium) of his theological work. It is not the passive perspicuity of the Bible (perspicuitas) declared by Protestant orthodoxy, but rather the light actively spread by words of the Bible. The Word of God pushes oneself in the public preaching, writing, or singing (claritas externa) on the one hand, and in human hearts whenever it evokes a personal belief and certitude (claritas interna) on the other. The Scripture is not dark or dubious but it brings Christ and the Gospel forth clearly enough. Therefore, the Christian conscience is subjugated neither to human teachings and pastoral custody nor to skepticism and lassitude. This article explores two passages from Luther’s De servo arbitrio to demonstrate how the Reformer defended his conviction of the clarity of the Scripture against the humanistic criticism of Erasmus.
A Few Remarks on Luther's Pastoral Practices
The author attempted to choose from Luther’s theology several stimuli for contemporary clergymen who assist and accompany people in their life crises, illnesses and in their last moments. There were two significant factors that influenced Luther’s pastoral views, stressed by the author: that as a young monk, Luther had a good confessor; and that he himself continued to make and hear confessions until the end of his life. The teachings of Justification are interpreted as an offer for a modern man, who is constantly being pressured by demands on performance. Prayer, Bible reading and sacraments are described as means by which God wants to comfort and encourage us. The author also provides brief insights into the na ture of Luther’s advice to politicians, husbands and wives, or into Luther’s behaviour when he was called to attend a sickbed.
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