Understanding Martin Luther's Demonological Rhetoric in His Treatise Against the Heavenly Prophets (1525): How What Luther Speaks is Essential to What Luther Says (Hardback)Harold Ristau
Hardback Published: 01/03/2010
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Martin Luther's rhetoric of the demonic expresses a soteriological argument regarding the necessary relation between the two realms of faith and works, which he reformulates as the proper relationship between justification and sanctification. Ultimately the lack of a such a hermeneutic of the two realms is what Luther sees as decisive in the theological argument of Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt and 'the heavenly prophets' and the source of what renders them demonic. This demonic confusion between the two realms affects in turn their interpretations of ontology, anthropology and Christology and drives their radical understanding of how the two kingdoms relate. According to Luther, this confusion is grounded in a flawed 'demonic' interpretation of the two kingdoms, and results in a disordered political and social agenda owing to its embrace of a reasoning of extremes. The radical reformers' confusion of the 'two realms' is the essence of the demonic for Luther and is underpinned by unorthodox presuppositions. For Luther, all the principal theological loci depend upon the dialectical structure implicit in the logic of the two realms. When one appreciates that Luther's dialectical theory cannot be treated in isolation from his practical, homiletical goal as expressed in his rhetoric, it becomes clear that his polemic against the radical reformers is carried out by means of a rhetoric which draws upon his understanding and definition of the demonic.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd