The Experience of Being Luther’s Student

Robert Kolb professor emeritus, Concordia seminary in St. Louis (Seminary Place, 801, Saint Louis, USA, MO 63105)

Kolb R. The Experience of Being Luther’s Student, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2019, vol. 8, pp. 100–115.

doi: 10.24411/2308-0698-2020-00006

Language: Russian

Despite the fact that in recent years increased attention has been givento the fact that Luther was not formulating his theology in isolation, relativelylittle attention has been given to the largest group of those who participatedin reform in Wittenberg: the students.This essay focuses on the student reaction to Luther and the way in which one of them put his insights to use. It wasthese students who carried his message to the common people, preachingit and reading his treatises to the majority of their congregations who couldnot read or write. In this way they planted his thinking among the people throughout the German-speaking lands and beyond.Luther’s studentscame from a variety of backgrounds. Some were sons of his followers whowere pastors, early converts to Luther’s call for reform. Students were notonly learners. Some of them advanced into partners — junior partners, to besure — of the reformers in the activities of spreading reform. Three studentsestimations are anylised by Cyriakus Spangenberg (1528–1604), Johann Mathesius (1504–1565) and Joachim Mörlin (1514–1571). They give us no more thanimpressionistic depictions of the man whom they encountered on the streets,in the pulpits, in the lecture halls of Wittenberg. Their pictures of him aredramatically positive. They illustrate how his captivating personality and talent as a teacher supported the spread of his ideas. They reveal the impressionthe Reformer made on the thinking of his contemporaries and generationsto come.

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Key words: Wittenberg, university, Cyriakus Spangenberg, Johann Mathesius, Joachim Mörlin


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