Luther: The Age of the Individual, 500 Years Ago

8 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2018

Date Written: September 14, 2018


In celebrating the anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses, some celebrate the Reformation as the historical moment that shaped the modern world by ushering in modern, Western values such as the autonomy of the individual and the individual’s freedom from religious or political coercion. However, if we carefully distinguish individualism from subjectivity and trace the rise of the latter as a creation of modern, post-Luther culture, politics, and theology, we can recover a more accurate picture of the historical Luther. In reading the pre-modern Luther, we see that the deepest individual human experiences occur within the social context and in the community of the church.

Keywords: Martin Luther, individualism, 95 Theses, Reformation

Suggested Citation

Helmer, Christine, Luther: The Age of the Individual, 500 Years Ago (September 14, 2018). Capitalism and Society: Vol. 13: Iss. 1, Article 1 , Available at SSRN:

Christine Helmer (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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