Between Sanctity and Depravity: Law and Human Nature in Martin Luther's Two Kingdoms

39 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2003  

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Abstract

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the great revolutionaries in the Western legal tradition. The Protestant Reformation that he inaugurated produced fundamental changes in legal theory, political organization, church-state relations, marriage, education, and social welfare. These changes were inscribed on the legal and confessional systems of that period. They have had an enduring effect on modern public, private, and criminal law, and on modern ideals of liberty, equality, and dignity. This essay surveys these sweeping changes that Luther's Reformation wrought, and then analyzes more closely the sources of inspiration and integration of these reforms in Luther's famous theory of the two kingdoms.

Keywords: Law and Religion, Legal History, Theology, Protestant Reformation

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, Between Sanctity and Depravity: Law and Human Nature in Martin Luther's Two Kingdoms. Villanova Law Review, Vol. 48, pp. 727-762, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=447881 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.447881

John Witte Jr. (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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