Martin Luther's Liberty: An Idea that Changed the World

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Five hundred years ago, in 1517, a monk, priest, and professor named Martin Luther started an academic debate that ended up shattering western Christianity and, over the centuries, helped birth some of the key ideas of the modern world.

Using the newly invented printing press, Luther became the West’s first best-selling author, issuing a flood of books and pamphlets that changed how people thought of religious liberty and authority, how one was saved, and how men and women should live and work in the here-and-now world.

Luther is one of the most influential and important figures in the history of western Christianity. Luther has been extravagantly praised and extravagantly condemned and almost certainly deserves both. In recent years both Protestant and Catholic scholars have come to considerable agreement about Luther’s life and its significance for Christianity.

On October 25 and November 8  Dr. Mark U. Edwards explored how Luther’s understanding of Christian freedom splintered western Christianity and began the early transition to modernity (October 25th) and how Luther’s understanding of freedom and its implications continue to have influence and relevance today (November 8th). You can click on the highlighted links above to watch the video for each talk.

Mark U. Edwards is President emeritus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He has also served as Professor of the History of Christianity, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Senior Adviser to the Dean at Harvard Divinity School. He’s written four books on Martin Luther.