Martin Luther (1483–1546) famously began the Reformation, a movement that shook Europe with religious schism and social upheaval. While his Ninety-Five Theses and other theological works have received centuries of scrutiny and recognition, his political writings have traditionally been dismissed as inconsistent or incoherent. God and Government focuses on Luther's interpretations of theology and the Bible, the historical context of the Reformation, and a wide range of writings that have been misread or misappropriated. Re-contextualizing and clarifying Luther's political ideas, Jarrett Carty contends that the political writings are best understood through Luther's “two kingdoms” teaching, in which human beings are at once subjects of a spiritual inner kingdom, and another temporal outer kingdom. Focusing on Luther's interpretations of theology and the Bible, the historical context of the Reformation, and a wide range of writings that have been misread or ignored, Carty traces how Luther applied political theories to the most difficult challenges of the Reformation, such as the Peasants” War of 1525 and the Protestant resistance against the Holy Roman Empire, as well as social changes and educational reforms. The book further compares Luther's political thought to that of Protestant and Catholic political reformers of the sixteenth century. Intersecting scholarship from political theory, religious studies, history, and theology, God and Government offers a comprehensive look at Martin Luther's political thought across his career and writings.
Jarrett A. Carty is associate professor in the Liberal Arts College at Concordia University.
"Carty reexamines Luther's political thought in a comprehensive manner, cutting through the debate to find out what Luther actually said about temporal government. In Carty's analysis, Luther does argue for a separation between church and state as separate kingdoms, but understands that both entities stand under a single divine law. Far from paving the way for political absolutism, Luther stresses how political power is limited by its origins in this divine law. Carty also shows how the later domination of the European churches by political governments can be traced not to Luther but to his later reforming colleagues. Recommended." Choice
?God and Government provides engaging and lively reflection upon Luther and his contemporary significance.” John von Heyking, University of Lethbridge and author of The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship