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Luther And Carlstadt Notes

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'In the Christian City of Wittenberg': Karlstadt's Tract on Images and Begging -­‐
Neil Leroux

! 27 January 1522 -­‐ printed as a single tract
! Legalistic hermeneutic -­‐ heavy reliance on the Old Testament
! Notion of 'offence' rooted in material-­‐spiritual circumstances that offend God
‣ To be faithful is to submit oneself to Scripture as the law of God
‣ Fulfil its mandates
Prophetic summons to the judgement of
God's word
‣ Measure contemporary treatment of images and begging according to the Old


! 1521-­‐2 'Wittenberg Movement'




‣ Luther was away at the Wartburg
‣ Christmas Day 1521 -­‐ celebrated the first public evangelical mass
‣ Boxing Day -­‐ set 'a good model and example' for clerics by announcing his
intention to marry Anna von Mochau => first reformer to take a wife
24 January Wittenberg Ordinance
‣ Provocative element -­‐ planned removal of altars and images of the saints
‣ 14 other articles in the ordinance dealt with poor relief
Unclear whether he delivered this tract as a sermon
Walter Brueggemann -­‐ 'prophetic ministry' => dismantling of the dominant
consciousness and energising persons and communities toward a promise of another
time and situation
‣ Prophetic pathos -­‐ audience feelings towards topic and speaker => instances of
offence against God
‣ Prophetic ethos -­‐ proof deriving from the character of the speaker => Karlstadt
offers glimpses of his own sense of call, conversion or role
'Offence in faith' if something is objectivity in conflict with divine law
‣ Violations of the prohibition against idols -­‐ accompanying omission of worship
in spirit and truth
‣ Offence against God's law of release -­‐ neglect and toleration of begging and
poverty => should not be called Christians


! Preface addressed to Wolf Schlick -­‐ mentions 3 'articles' recently underwritten in the 24
January Ordnung
‣ 1. New evangelical mass
‣ 2. Removal of idolatry of images => worship of God alone in spirit and truth
‣ 3. Deplores begging


! On the Removal of Images is virtually the first significant discussion of iconoclasm in the
‣ Often coarse language and popular tone
‣ Arguments of theologians -­‐ yet in a more extreme and emotional form => for
the laity
‣ Sarcasm -­‐ veneration of mere wood and stone, investment of large sums of
money which could have been spent on the poor (the living images of God) and
the helplessness of the images of the saints to do any good

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