MO4910 ‘The German Hercules’: Martin Luther and Germany 1517-2000
Lecturer Dr Bridget Heal
Credits 60
Availability Semesters 1 and 2, 2018-19
Class Hour Wednesday 10-12
Description Martin Luther was the dominant figure of the European Reformation. His ideas brought about the most radical break with the medieval world. Yet he had a particular significance for Germans, who saw him variously as a leader, a prophet, a symbol of a mythic unity, and as the arch-heretic. This module will explore Luther’s ideas and the development of the German Reformation in its intellectual and historical contexts, as well as Luther’s place in the German identities fostered in Bismarckian Germany, under National Socialism, and in the former German Democratic Republic.
Basic Reading Heiko Oberman, Luther. Man between God and the Devil (1989)
C. Scott Dixon, The Reformation in Germany (2002)
T.A. Brady, Communities, Politics, and Reformation in Early Modern Europe (1998)

Course Structure

Semester 1

  1. Introduction
  2. Biographies of Luther
  3. Late Medieval Germany: Maximilian I
  4. German Humanism
  5. Religious Formulation: Staupitz
  6. Creation of a public figure (1517-1520)
  7. Crucial Early Works: Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520)
  8. Crucial Early Works: Freedom of the Christian (1520)
  9. Luther and the Bible
  10. Diet of Worms and Excommunication
  11. Radicalism and Peasants’ War

Semester 2

  1. Dispute with Erasmus and Catholic Reaction
  2. Split with Zwingli
  3. Diet of Augsburg and Formation of Protestant Politics
  4. Luther and Melanchthon
  5. The Pastor
  6. The Holy Household
  7. The Jews
  8. Bismarckian Luther: Leopold von Ranke
  9. National Socialism
  10. Divided Germany 1945-89
  11. Contemporary Views
Assessment 60% examination - two 3-hour papers
40% coursework

Learning Outcomes

  • ability to read primary sources which relate to early and
    late modern history.
  • experience in the use and interpretation of secondary sources of historiographical, historical, and theological nature.
  • awareness of the connections between early-modern religious movements and the development of modern states.
Restrictions Available only to students in the second year of the Honours programme