Luther the Lawyer: The Lutheran Reformation of Law, Politics, and Society

in Law and Justice: A Christian Law Review 178 (2017): 6-36

25 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2017

See all articles by John Witte

John Witte

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: December 22, 2017

Abstract

The Lutheran Reformation transformed not only theology and the church but law and the state as well. Beginning in the 1520s, Luther joined up with various jurists and political leaders to craft ambitious legal reforms of church, state, and society on the strength of the new Protestant theology. These legal reforms were defined and defended in hundreds of monographs, pamphlets, and sermons published by Luther and his many followers from the 1520s onward. They were refined and routinized in hundreds of new reformation ordinances promulgated by German polities that converted to the Lutheran cause. By the time of the Peace of Augsburg (1555)--the imperial law that temporarily settled the constitutional order of Germany--the Lutheran Reformation had brought fundamental changes to theology and law, to church and state, marriage and family, education and charity.

Keywords: Church, State, Law, Politics, Marriage, Education, Charity, Two Kingdoms, Natural Law, Positive Law, Equity, Criminal Law, Punishment, Uses of the Law, Legal Reformations, Church Ordinances

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Luther the Lawyer: The Lutheran Reformation of Law, Politics, and Society (December 22, 2017). in Law and Justice: A Christian Law Review 178 (2017): 6-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3092276

John Witte (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)

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