Full Text for Luther's Impact on the Universities--and the Reverse (Text)

B CONCORDIA Qz nr THEOLOGICAL 00- QUARTERLY J3 Volume 48, Number 1 JANUARY 1984 Luther and the Doctrine of ~ustification . . . . Robert D. Preus Luther and Music. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Daniel Reuning Luther's Impact on the Universities - and the Reverse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James M. Kittelson Luther Research in America and Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lewis W. Spitz and Morimichi Watanabe The Import of the Two-Gospel Hypothesis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William R. Farmer Linguistic Nonsense about Faith . . . . . . . . . Theodore Mueller For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Luther and Arlene Strasen Theological Observer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Books Received. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CONCORDIA THEOLOC~CAL SEMINAR1 L16WRY Luther's Impact on the Universities -and the Reverse James M. Kittelson Few topics could be more appropriate to observations during this year of the Luther jubilee than Luther's impact upon universities and their influence upon him and his movement. A religious man, he was also a university man who both developed his understanding of the Gospel while performing his duties as a professor and who, when faced with a practice he considered outrageous, condemned it first in the standard university way of doing business and only then appealed to a wider public au- dience outside the academy. On the other hand, few topics have been accorded such lack of attention as this one, and perhaps with good reason. The dramatic events of the Reformation, or at least most of them, took place outside universities. The Heidelberg Disputation oc- curred at a meeting of the Augustinians; Worms was an Im- perial Diet; the Augsburg Confession was written for another Imperial Diet. Luther's most influential works, the German Bi- ble and the catechisms, were indeed produced by a university professors but they were intended for a decidedly non-universi- ty audience. Moreover, when one looks beyond Wittenberg, one sees that his earliest and most influential supporters were themselves not university men but humanists who were in general critical of the university way of going about intellectual and spiritual matters.' At the same time, universities, as such, were highly resistant to Luther's evangelical theology and, in the cases of Paris, Louvain, and Cologne, went so far as to con- demn it formally. So irrelevant do universities seem to the larger questions that even Karl Bauer abruptly ended his excellent little book on the Wittenberg University Theology once Luther's ideas began to circulate much outside Wittenberg.2 It is as if the subject is to be revived only when Reformation scholars, confronted by unusually high interest, begin looking about for a topic on which to write. Nonetheless, this undertaking is not just academic makework for at least two reasons. In the first place, the old notion that universities were in a period of severe decline just before the Reformation, that they were obsessed with trivialities and dominated by the princes, no longer holds? They were con- sulted on matters of importance, and not just when the disputed CONCOKD!A THEOI.OGICAL QUARTERLY question originated in one of them. The fact that so many, in- cluding Luther's Wittenberg, were founded just before or dur- ing the Reformation is itself one of those happy situations in which res ipsa loquitur, the thing truly speaks for itself. All the criticisms of the humanists to one side, universities remained a vital component of late medieval society, and one that drew the attention not just of the bookish professors and careerist students but of princes, kings, and prelates as well. There is an even better reason, however, for taking a hard look at universiti~s. Simply put, Luther himself would advise us to do so. He began his career as a reformer of his own university well before the events we associate with the Reformation. He reformed the curriculum, ended the disputations, and hired Melanchthon before he or anyone else had the slightest idea what would evolve from the Indulgence Controversy.' Additionally, wider university reform became an even higher objective for Luther after 1517. On the way back from the Heidelberg Disputation he wrote one of his fellow professors, "I sincerely believe that it is impossible for the church to be reformed unless the canon law, the decretals, scholastic theology, philosophy, and logic, as they now exist, are absolute- ly eradicated and other studies inst i t~ted."~ Nor did he leave the matter as something to be discussed only among colleagues. He specifically included universities among the things he called upon the Christian nobility to reform in his famous Address to them of 1520.6 University reform was thus one of Luther's most cherished goals. Scholarly lack of attention to one side, it is therefore highly appropriate to investigate Luther's impact upon univer- sities, and to ask one simple question: "Did he succeed?" The natural starting point is ,to ascertain his objectives, but a pair of parenthetical remarks are needed before doing so. Re- cent years have featured a modest debate about the impact of the Reformation in general upon universities.' Generally speaking, this research has tended to temper the old judgment that the Reformation was a bad time for universities by noting their resilience after the 1530's and by underlining the gains that humanist educational ideals made in them due to the work of the reformers both Protestant and Catholic. Yet, there is a curious fact lurking under the surface of this emerging consen- sus: no one has bothered to ask one simple question while seek- ing to assess the ;tatus of German universities in the sixteenth Century. Simply put, what was it that Luther wished to ac- LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 25 complish? Answering this question may not do much to resolve the issues of value (many of them anachronistic) that are at stake in the larger discussion, but it will yield a solid reference point from which to begin. Happily for the historian, Luther spoke bluntly and at suffi- cient length on this as on so many other subjects. The text is item 25 from the list of reform proposals to be found in the Ad- dress to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. He began with a simple declaration: "The universities need a sound and thorough reformation. I must say so no matter who takes of- fense." He then recommended a number of concrete changes. Artistotle was to be withdrawn from the curriculum with the possible exception of his works on logic, rhetoric, and poetics. As with Cicero's Rhetoric, these books were now, however, to be read without notes or commentaries. The standard subjects that interested the humanists-languages, history, grammar, and the like-were to be added to the curriculum. Next came the professional faculties. Luther left medicine to the physicians but commented at length about both law and theology. Canon law was to be eliminated entirely and, if his suggestion regarding civil law were followed, so would the entire law faculty. "In my opinion, appeal should be made to common law and established custom rather than to general law as decreed by the Emperor.. . . And just as every land has its own manners and customs, so, would to God, that each had its own laws, and these few and brief." In theology the Bible should be substituted for Lom- bard's Sentences, the standard medieval textbook, and all other works "should be read for a while only and in order that they might lead us to the Bible." Finally, Luther concluded with a recommendation that is the common property of all professors, namely that we should not, as now, send everyone to univer- sities for the mere sake of having many students or because everyone wants a doctor in the family. Only the most clever should be sent, and that after having received a good education in the lower schools. The prince and the local town council ought to see to this, and send only those who are well q~a l i f i ed .~ With the exception of those in the legal profession, this laun- dry list of reforms likely comes as no surprise to students of the Reformation. Additionally, at first glance it would appear that Luther and the other reformers were enormously successful in carrying out the plan. To be sure, they were unable to rid Euro- pean society of the legal profession, whether at court or in the university. But most of the reforms Luther proposed were 26 CONCORDIA THEOLOGlCAl. Q U AKTERLY already in place at Wittenberg and had been put there by his own hand. And they spread very quickly to other universities at least in part because Wittenbergers were commonly imported in- to other territories to conduct local Reformations, as for exam- ple in the cases of the new university in Marburg, 1527, and the reform of the University of Tubingen in 1536 and following. The results were therefore predictable. At least canon law was abolished; the humanistic curriculum became the standard in the arts faculty; the Bible was the core of theological education with "other books" taking a decidely second place. Mechanisms were even developed to attract able students at least to the pastorate without respect to their ability to pay, although the rich dullard likely remained on the scene. Yet, with all this said, the conclusions are somehow unsatisfy- ing, for the spectre of universities as now the agents of an in- creasingly strident confessionalism, and therefore'not truly of free inquiry and learning, remains. In fact, many universities in Germany after Luther's death became the raging infernos that helped forge Lutheran Orthodoxy. The thought persists, then, that somewhere, somehow Luther's vision of a Biblically-bas- ed, humanistically pursued, and spiritually productive universi- ty world was not realized. Forgetting the possibly anachronistic character of this concern (based as it is upon modern, liberal no- tions of academic freedom) it still must be asked whether Luther had any broader goals in mind when he proposed a thorough reform of the universities. This question is both easier and more difficult to answer than it might seem. On the one hand, the merest glance at section 25 of the Address reveals that in general he wanted three things: 1. that the Word of God be studied, and not only at universities; 2. that students learn the arts of eloquence so they could speak and write persuasively; 3. a hint that they should provide also for the future leadership of German. All of this is clear enough, but the difficulty is that, when Luther put forward these reform pro- posals, he most definitely did not have in mind establishing a new church with all this task's attendant problems. In par- ticular, he did not have in mind creating a new clergy. This situation changed very quickly and certainly by 1527 when the visitations were begun and it became apparent just what a state of collapse characterized the church at the parish level. Now, the overwhelming need was for a trained clergy and the fond thought that just preaching the Word would turn the tide disap- peared. lo LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 27 This fact of the need for pastors did more to shape the Lutheran reform of universities than anything else. Quite sud- denly, it was very important what was taught in each classroom. For example, the easy coexistance of humanistic studies with preaching the pure Word of God was no longer so easy. Some very difficult choices had to be made with respect to such basic questions as the content of the curriculum. That developments should be so may be seen simply by looking at the new clergy that was in fact created, the means by which it was created, and how it was supervised and maintained. Thankfully, some very recent research makes it possible to do so in some detail. First, what were the characteristics of this new clergy? Putting to one side issues about its social origins, economic standing, mode of daily life, and the like, what was it or did it become as a distinct group within German society? Within a generation after Luther's death the German clergy became a professional class. Although exact arrangements varied from place to place, pastors were selected, ordained, supervised, and promoted on the basis of merit. Special stipends for a species of advanced studies were set aside for them, just as Luther had wished. When the supervising body thought a young man was ready for ordination, regardless of whether he had received a degree, the candidate was invited to preach a sample sermon, be examined on his life and doctrine, and then be for- mally proposed for a pastorate. Having been appointed to a post, pastors were then subjected to the same process, common- ly during the annual visitation, which occurred at their own parish. At this time, after being examined themselves both per- sonally and on the basis of whatever the parishioners and local authorities had to report about them, they had the opportunity to present whatever grievances, questions, or problems they wished discussed. They were thus a part of a zealously watched bureaucracy and , whatever its failings, had embarked upon a career open to talent. * There was indeed many a slip 'twixt cup and lipbin this pro- cess, to say nothing of many barriers that had to be broken before d l could occur in good order. The first two generations of reformers, with Luther at their head, were nonetheless suc- cessful in creating a new Lutheran clergy that in turn took upon itself the task of introducing the Reformation into every parish in Lutheran lands. l 2 But what was the chief element, if any, that led to appointment and promotion within this Lutheran clergy? In the answer to 28 CONCOR D1A THEOIdOGICAL. QUARTERLY this question lies the connection between clergy and university and its consequences both for universities and for clergy. 'Excepting personal morality, the one crucial factor in .the selection and promotion of Lutheran pastors was an intellectual one: namely, the individual's knowlege of and ability to com- municate Lutheran doctrine. Nothing was more important, and this knowledge was of course acquired at universities or academies. Two examples will suffice to illustrate the point. Recent work on the clergy of the Rhineland shows the impor- tance of university training very clearly. In Sponheim, the pro- portion of university educated clergy rose from 22.5% in 1560 to 78.1 % in 1619; comparative figures for Zweibrucken are 33.3% and 92%. For the Electoral Palatinate numbers are available only for 1590 and 161 9, but even then the figures in- dicate that efforts to improve the clergy's educational at- tainments continued: 85.9% to 94.3 %. These percentages become even more noteworthy when one observes that in the Palatinate alone the total number of pastors increased over one generation from 99 to 423. Additionally, these numbers include only those for whom university attendance is a certainty; the percentages could well be higher.I3 Education, in fact, appears to be the single most salient characteristic of Protestant clergy by the late sixteenth century, a fact which can come as no great surprise if only because all the reformers agreed that it was an absolute necessity. But the ex- tent to which high educational attainment became a virtual prerequisite for the pastorate may be something of a surprise. Strasbourg is an example. To be sure, this city was fortunate enough t o have its own preachers mill in the Collegium Praedicatorum which, through its stipends, in time assured a steady flow of pastors for the city's urban and rural parishes. But the city also had an academy that grew into a university, and candidates for the pastorate took advantage of it. Between 1586 and 1609, years for which there is continuous information, a total of 132 persons were nominated for either pastorates or diaconates. Of these, 97 or 73.5% held the M.A. as well as cer- tification for ordination. Adding in the fact that Strasbourg's church order required nominating at least three persons for each vacant post makes it apparent that the M.A. was a virtual necessity for a career in the church." It is true that Lutheran pastors were "intellectuals ... close to the people." l 5 At the very least, Luther and his followers gave the universities a lot of work to do. LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 29 One question then becomes of immediate interest. What were these young men taught and how were they taught it? Here the problem of the universities' reciprocal impact upon Luther, or at least upon the church that bears his name, poses itself. Again, at first glance the question seems easy enough to answer. l 6 In the lower faculties these young men learned the ancient languages, history, poetry, rhetoric and grammar from the stan- dard humanistic curriculum, just as Luther had wished. And in their theological studies they read the Bible, also just as Luther had wished. But the matter by no means stops there, for in the process of teaching the new evangelical religion the emphasis shifted from the Bible as the locus of the Word of God to the Bi- ble as a source book for true doctrine. As much has been reasonably well known to all students of hermeneutics and exegesis during the Reformation. For Luther the canon and content of the Scriptures was Christ and Christ alone in both the Old and New Testaments. When one opened the Scriptures, one did so in the expectation of finding Christ and in particular His sole sufficiency for salvation. This grace was then to be apprehended through faith. But, how was this central idea to be taught to a first generation of Lutheran pastors? The answer is that Biblical commentary, at least in the classroom, quickly shifted to the loci method, according to which the Scriptures spoke clearly to each of the basic topics of theology, and in particular to those that were necessary for salvation. Once this method was employed fully, Biblical studies became a species of systematic theology and students were therefore taught not just the Bible as the simple, clear Word of God but the whole shopping list of true doctrines that con- stituted Lutheranism by the middle of the sixteenth century's se- cond half. Here the focus shifts, then, from intellectual history or the history of doctrine to the impact of universities upon Luthei and even to popular religious culture. One example will illustrate what happened as the evangelical faith was taught to a new generation of Lutheran pastors. He is Johann Marbach, who was a student at Wittenberg in the 1540's, whose doctoral disputation Luther himself chaired, and who became President of the Company of Pastors in Strasbourg in 1552. As such, he was also director of the preachers' college and a professor of theology, i.e., of the Scriptures, at the Academy. Thus, he was the one person most responsible for the training of young pastors. Additionally, he was by no means an 30 CONCORDIA I'HEOLOGICAL QUARTERL.Y original theologian himself but primarily a churchman and a Pastor. It is safe to assume therefore that Marbach taught his students more or less what he was taught and by the same methods he was taught. l 7 This assumption is doubly safe with respect to the text at hand, because it consists of notes from his lectures on John, given between August 9, 1547, not long after he graduated from the University of Wittenberg and well before he would have had the opportunity to become anything like an original theologian." Unquestionably depen- dent upon Melanchthon's own lectures on John, Marbach's are nonetheless interesting for far more important reasons, at least for present purposes. In the first place, Marbach used the loci method. To be sure, he began by pointing out that John differed from the other Gospels in that they were historiae and his was a concilium, but there the historical-critical method as practiced by a figure like Erasmus or Luther stopped. From his introductory lecture on, Marbach searched through John for statements on the principal topics of evangelical theology. For example, at the description of Christ as "the light of the world," he launched into a lengthy excursus in which he asserted that Christ "illumined all men in the world" and again, "he illumined all men." Doctrinal con- cerns were surely uppermost in his treatment also of John 12:40, "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart lest they see with their eyes and perceive with their heart and be con- verted and I heal them." In spite of the obvious predestinarian implications of the text, Marbach concluded that "the cause of condemnation is not of God but of men. God does not will the death of a sinner and does wish all to be saved. "I9 The striking fact is that here in 1546 Marbach was using the loci method to argue precisely the doctrine of election and predestination that was agreed upon over thirty years later by those who drafted the Formula of Concord. He bluntly in- troduced the subject in his discussion of Jesus healing the of- ficial's son at the end of John 4 with the explanation that here Jesus "is teaching us about the will that was once hidden." What followed immediately is familiar to any student of the Lutheran confessions: "Let us now distinguish the will of God; one is secret and following it God judges in secret. The other is revealed and following it he judges with respect to no one's per- son but with respect only to the grace of the unique Son." Mar- bach's conclusion, while predating the Formula, was nonetheless in perfect accord with it: "We are not to look into LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 3 1 this hidden will. But we are to unfold his open will ... where all are called to repentance.. . . "20 What was Marbach doing? Surely the story of healing the of- ficial's son is not the most obvious place in the Gospel of John to discuss election and predestination. Might this explanation not have occured more appropriately a chapter earlier at John 3:18, "Whoever believes in Him is not judged; whoever does not believe has been judged already"? One can only speculate that Marbach did not want to discuss election in the context of a passage that could be construed to emphasize God's hidden will but chose to do so at a story that emphasized the universality of Christ's mi~sion.~ ' All speculation to one side, however, the fundamental point is that Marbach was not in fact giving a series of lectures on the Gospel According to John but one on the doctrinal contents of the Gospel According to John. The hermeneutical shift that followed the loci method in exegetics is clear. The Scriptures really did become source books for doc- trine, as well as the verbum pro me, and they did so in the classroom as well as in the writings of the most prominent Lutheran theologians. Granted that doctrine became the focus of attention in the classroom, what about the young pastors? In this case'what oc- curred in the classroom did make its way into the field, for the continuing focus of the pastors' ministries remained the inculca- tion of true doctrine. In Strasbourg the only candidate who got so far as his formal hearing before the Company of pastors, and then failed, was sent back to the classroom because he could not explain the articles of the Augsburg Confession with sufficient precision.22 At Sponheim 78 pastors were deprived of their posts between 1557 and 1619, 35 of them on the grounds of unorthodoxy. Indeed, one verse of a common canticle sung in the Palatinate toward the end of the century sums up at least what these pastors thought was their mission: "God give us grace and strength that we may earnestly teach the faith, ward off false teachings and life, and further God's word and work."" The emphasis upon teaching and doctrine is clear from the theologians to the training of pastors and to the very conduct of their ministries. If only in passing, it may be asked whether this emphasis evoked any response at the level of the parishioners too. Was it consistent from top to bottom in Luther's new church? The evidence on how successful the reformers were is mixed; in- deed there is something of a controversy over the issue at the 32 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Present moment.24 It is nonetheless obvious from the visitation reports that catechetical instruction was very high on the list of duties for all of Luther's pastors, at least if they wished to be pastors for very long. Again and again the superintendants ar- rived at a parish and called the children together in order to ex- amine them on the catechism, and with surprising frequency they could in fact recite it. Here was doctrine at the popular level. Through the ministrations of the universities, Lutheranism became a highly doctrinal religion, at least for the balance of the si.xteenth century. In this context both Pietism and the description of the clergy as "a powerful force for in- tolerance" become perfectly understandable." True religion had become as much a matter of the mind (or the memory) as of the heart. With all this said, two more strokes must be added to give the picture a little more depth and texture. In the first place Lutheran pastors and their supervisors certainly paid close at- tention to morals and general religious behavior as well as to people's formal beliefs. Drunks, philanderers, wife-beaters and the like were searched out with just as much zeal as were the unorthodox. Extravagant celebrations of baptisms and mar- riages were banned on the grounds that they were not only wasteful of precious resources but also comported ill with the basic Gospel message. Behavior was thus not neglected in this massive educational effort. 26 Additionally, as the statistics from Strasbourg well attest, these pastors were not just possessors of doctrinal truth but were indeed cultured people in the humanistic mode. Johann Valentin Andreae at the end of the century wrote a few lines about himself that might well apply t o most Lutheran pastors of the time: "I have learned strict logic thoroughly and read the thick books of rhetoric. I have become acquainted with the spheres of the heavens, with what physics does for me, and what ethics brings out of morals, and even to count out the rhythm of Homer." It is true that the Reformation institutionalized humanism, not just in the universities but also in the lives of many, if not, most pa~ tors .~ ' Yet, on balance it is also clear that concern for true doctrine overrode all else even at the popular level and that in the process true religion became virtually synonymous with right belief. One might even suggest that this shift brought with it two other tendefi~jes that could mark at least a modest LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 33 departure from Luther and his intentions. The first concerns the critical idea of faith. Is it not true (no matter what the theologians maintained in principle) that faith moved at least somewhat away from the central notion offiducia or trust and toward the more Roman Catholic idea of assensus or agreement to a proposition? As a consequence, did not ethics at least at the popular level take on more the character of obedience, obedien- tia, than of Luther's famous "faith active in love."? There is no way to prove it, but is not as much implied by the repeated catechetical statement, "This is most certainly true?" Indeed, ideas do have a way of changing as they are filtered through in- stitutions, in this case from Luther through the universities, thence through churches and visitations, and finally to ordinary Christians. Secondly, it is worth noting that the audience for doctrinal debate and instruction also changed. In all his polemics, Luther's audience consisted of teachers and leaders of the church, or those who put themselves forward as such.2B If they erred in their teachings, they were then condemned under the dictum, "Whoever leads one of these little ones astray, it would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he were drowned." Now, however, every Christian was part of the audience, and the implication was certainly pre- sent that believing the wrong doctrines could have disastrous consequences for all eternity. It was a fact that doing so brought forth unpleasantness in the here-and-now, as anyone who ad- mitted to Anabaptist notions quickly discovered no matter how upright their daily life. Now the odd situation presented itself that, in order to be saved by grace through faith, one had to believe that salvation occurred that way. With hindsight, the historian's chief advantage and chief weakness these developments seem almost inevitable. Once a new clergy had to be created, and once the universities were given principal responsibility for doing so, and granting the highly charged confessional atmosphere of the time, it would have been nearly impossible not to identify true religion with true doctrine, at least to some degree. But a question remains. To what extent was Luther himself responsible for this develop- ment, or was it something that occurred, willy-nilly, but that he did not intend? Did Luther really think that religion was more a matter of belief, in the sense of agreeing to certain propositions, than it was a matter of practice and the inclination of the heart? Most certainly not. Nonetheless there are some indications 34 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY that he did indeed intend that the new clergy would be taught more or less as they were in fact taught and that they would con- duct their ministries more or less as they in fact did. His own description of the qualities for an ideal pastor suggest as much. First, a good preacher should be able to teach well, cor- rectly, and in an orderly fashion; secondly, he should have a good head on his shoulders; thirdly, he should be eloquent; forthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, he should have a good memory; sixthly, he should know when to stop; seventhly, he should be constant and diligent about his affairs; eighthly, he should invest body and life, possessions and honor in it; ninthly, he should be willing to let everyone vex and hack away at him.29 There are nine items on this list and five of the first six are in- tellectual rather than moral or affective virtues. Perhaps nothing should be said additionally about the fact that Luther chose to list these talents first. On the other hand, he was pre- sent at the University of Wittenberg and did concur at least im- plicitly when Melanchthon began teaching evangelical theology by the loci method and when Aristotle was reintroduced into the curriculum, along with the disputations. But whether he would have approved the heavy emphasis upon doctrine at the parish level is a different question, and one that opens up a further problem. Again, no definitive answers are possible here, but this quotation from the preface to the Large Catechism may point in the right direction: Many regard the Catechism as a simple, silly teaching which they can absorb at one reading. After reading it once they toss the book into the corner as if they were ashamed to read it again. .. . I must still read and study the Catechism daily, yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and I do it gladly. It must be noted that the Catechism is but Christian doctrine in its most accesible form. Additionally, in this fundamentally intellectual undertaking -reading the Catechism- Luther assumed that something spiritual was taking place. "In such reading, conversation, and meditation," he added, "the Holy LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 3 5 Spirit is present and bestows ever newer and greater light and fervor, so that day by day we relish and appreciate the Catechism more greatly."30 In sum, Luther by no means disregarded the heart, but he assumed that it was stimulated and perhaps even led by the brain in very important ways. Concluding a theme this large, one that has ranged from Luther to the universities, to the training of clergy, to parish life, and even to popular religious culture is a daunting task. A few general remarks nonetheless seem in order. First, other than to give a strong impetus to the humanistic curriculum at the level of the arts faculty, Luther did not do much to change the medieval ideal of the university. To be sure, the content of the doctrine taught in the theological faculties changed, but they were never more concerned with teaching true doctrine, and do- ing so quickly to as many as possible, than as a result of Luther and the Reformation. Indeed, it is even arguable that Luther, who never tired of pointing to his own title as Doctor, strongly reinforced ,the claim of universities and university men to be ar- bitors of the faith and thereby granted to universities an impor- tance in the life of the church that they had not had during the Middle Ages. Secondly, the universities themselves strongly en- couraged the equation, true religion = true -doctrine, by the sim- ple fact that they were in the business of teaching and training the new clergy and insisted upon doing it their way, with the result that religion became a matter of knowledge. One final issue is worthy of consideration. In recent years, the Reformation's position as a crucial moment in the development of modern civilization, or even as a distinct period in its own right, has been severely tarnished. Social historians, and those from France in particular, have argued forcefully that the real transition from medieval to modern was a much longer process than heretofore believed. In their judgment it occurred ever so slowly and spanned at least the four centuries from 1350 to 1750.3' This is by no means the place to discuss all the ramifications of this interpretive school or even its modes of analysis or the sorts of evidence that are brought forth in support of it. Needless to say, the status of Christianity plays a large part in any such interpretive .effort. The present investigations, whatever they may say about Luther and about universities, do nonetheless have a direct bearing also on this larger historical question. To put the matter briefly, one of the chief characteristics of 36 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY modern religion is the attempt, at least in the West, to make it intellectually coherent if not intellectually respectable in some quarters. That is to say, by clear contrast with former times, religion for moderns is, at least in part, a matter of formal beliefs, and beliefs that are somehow at least consistent among themselves. Moreover, this drive to coherence is no longer the preserve of academic theologians or philosophers alone, but something everyone shares at least to some degree. No one wishes, as Lewis Carroll put it, "to think six inconsistent thoughts before breakfast" if only for fear of suffering indiges- tion. The interaction between Luther and the universities was a powerful step in just this direction. NOTES 1. The standard survey is Bernd Moeller, "The German Humanists and the Beginnings of the Reformation," Imperial Cities and the Reforma- tion. Three Essays, ed. and trans. by H. C. Erik Midelfort and Mark U. Edwards, Jr., (Philadelphia, 1972), pp. 19-38. 2. Karl Bauer , Die Witten berger Universitatstheologie und die An fange der Deutschen Reformation (Tubingen, 1928). 3. See James M. Kittelson and Pamela J. Transue, eds., Rebirth, Reform and Resilience: Universities in Transition, 1300-1 700 (Columbus, Ohio, 1984), forthcoming, and in particular the essays by Heiko A. Oberman and Lewis W. Spitz. 4. Ernest G. Schwiebert, Luther and His Times (St. Louis, 1950). 5. WA, Br., I, 170. 6. John Dillenberger, ed., Martin Luther, Selections from His Works (New York, 1%1), pp. 470-476. 7. Lewis W. Spitz, "The Impact of the Reformation on Universities," University and Reformation, ed. by Leif Grane (Leiden, 1981). pp. 9-31, and n. 3 above. 8. DilIenberger, Luther, pp. 470476. 9. Robert A. Kolb, "Historical Background of the Formula of Concord," A Contemporary Look at the Formula of Concord, ed. by Robert D. Preus and Wilbert H. Rosin (St. Louis, 1978), pp. 12-87 for an excellent introduction to the controversies and the controversialists. 10. Susan Karant-Nunn, Luther's Pastors: The Reformation in the Ernestine Countryside. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 698, (Philadelphia, 1979) provides a clear look at the early years in a territory close to Luther himself. 11. In addition to ibid., see Wilhelm Pauck, The Heritage of the Reforma- tion (New York, 1961), esp. pp. 101-143, and Gerald Strauss Luther's LUTHER'S IMPACT ON UNIVERSITIES 37 H o w of Learning. Indoctrination of the Young in the German Refor- mation (Baltimore. 1978). pp. Iff., but see also n. 24 below. It may be argued that Karant-Nunn, Luther's Pastors, who admits as much, p. 74, ends her study too soon. Bernard Vogler, Le Ckrge Protestant Rhenan au Siecle de la Reforme (1 555-1619), (Paris, 1976), and James M. Kittelson, "Successes and Failures in the German Reformation: The Report from Strasbourg," Archive for Reformation Hktory, 73 (1982): 17 1-172. Archieves municipales de Strasbourg: Archivum S. Thomae, 74, fol. 3-47. Vogler, Clerge, p. 366. It must be added that detailed studies of the curriculum and its content, such as are plentiful for the late medieval German universities, simply do not exist for the period after Luther's death. See James M. Kittelson, "The Confessional Age: The Late Reformation in Germany," Refor- mation Europe: A Guide to Research, ed., by Steven Ozment (St. Louis, 1982), pp. 364-365. Car. Ed. Forstemann, Liber Decanorum Facultatis Theologicae Academiae Vitebergensis (Lipsiae, 1838), p. 32. On the characterization of Marbach, see James M. Kittelson, "Marbach vs. Zanchi: The Resolution of Controversy in Late Reformation Strasbourg," The Six- teenth Century Journal, 9 (1977): 3 1-44, and the literature cited there. Commentaria Eiusdem D. D. loan. Marbachij in Euangelistam Joan- nem. Mc 181, Universitatsbibliothek Tubingen. Ibid., fol. 1-5. Ibid., fol. 51. He did however then return to John 3:18 with the declaration, "The Son comes so all may be turned around to repentance and may believe the Gospel and be saved." Ibid., fol. 5 1. Archives municipales de Strasbourg : Archivum S. Thomae 198. Diarium Marbachij, fol. 189. Vogler, Clerge, pp. 101 ;365. Strauss, Luther's House, and Kittelson, "Successes and Failures. " Vogler, Clerge, p. 369. Vogler, Clerge, p. 369, concludes that Reformed clergy were more con- cerned with public behavior than were Lutherans. The securely Lutheran city of Strasbourg would counter this assertion (see Kittelson, "Success and Failures"). If there was a difference, it may well have been regional rather than confessional. Cited by Vogler, Clerge, p. 55 n. 17. 38 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 28. On Luther the controversialist see Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther and the False Brethren (Palo Alto, CA, 1975) and Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531-1546 (Ithaca, N.Y. , 1983). 29. As cited by Hermann Wedermann, Der evangelische Pfarrer in Geschichte und Gegen wart (Leipzig, 1923), p. 17. 30. Theodore G. Tappert, ed. and trans., The Book of Concord. The Con- fessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Philadelphia, 1959), p. 359. 31. See the discussions by William J. Bouwsma, "The Renaissance and the Drama of Western Civilization," American Historical Review, 84 (1979): 1-16, and Lewis W. Spitz, "Periodization in History: Renaissance and Reformation," The Future of History, ed. by Charles Delzell (Nashville, 1979), pp. 189-21 7. Dr. James M. Kittelson is chairman of the history department at Ohio State University.