Luther’s transformational idea of justification by faith alone was often misunderstood and misrepresented in the early years of the Reformation. In 1520, with his Wittenberg congregation in mind, Luther set out to clarify the biblical foundation of good works. In doing so he recast the very definitions of “sacred” and “secular” both for his own generation and ours.
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With his extensive grasp of Luther’s thought and time, Hendrix offers readers his insights into the ways the Wittenberg reformer addressed some of the most vital elements of Luther’s critical pamphlet, a part of his programatic call for reform of 1520. An introduction which places this work in theological and historical context, along with helpful notes, guides readers through the sensitive and nuanced translation. Treatise on Good Works is ideal for use in college or seminary classrooms and in congregational study groups.
—Robert Kolb, Emeritus Mission Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary
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Martin Luther stands as one of the most significant figures in Western history. His distinction as the father of the Protestant Reformation is augmented by his innovative use of new technology (the printing press), his translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular, and his impact upon European society. Born in 1483 to middle-class parents in Saxony, eastern Germany, he became an Augustinian monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a reformer, a husband, and father. He died in 1546 after having witnessed the birth of a renewal movement that would result in a profound shift in faith, politics, and society. He has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. His thought continues to influence all Christians and to animate the movement that bears his name.
Scott H. Hendrix is an emeritus professor of Reformation history and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned a PhD in Reformation studies from Tübingen University in Germany, and has chaired the Continuation Committee of the International Congress for Luther Research. Among his many publications are Luther and Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction.