Instant Access to the Journals You Need

for just $40 per month.

Start Your Free Trial

‘To his Most Learned and Dearest Friend’ 1 : Reading Luther's Letters *

‘To his Most Learned and Dearest Friend’ 1 : Reading Luther's Letters *


This article explores how Luther used letters in the service of the Reformation. Letters were not ‘private’ in the sense we might now assume, but were forwarded to others, read aloud, and shared; Luther also used them tactically. In particular, the essay considers Luther's correspondence with Spalatin, the Saxon Elector's court chaplain and secretary, whose friendship brokered the key political support of the Elector Frederick the Wise and so secured Luther's safety. The omissions, emphases, linkages and emotional tone of the letters (which were carefully kept and annotated by Spalatin) reveal much about the friendship between the two very different men. When Luther was in hiding in the Wartburg, Spalatin was his chief contact with the outside world, and he was reliant on him for getting his manuscripts and for supplying the medicines he needed, a dependence he did not always find easy. Yet it is also in the dialogue with Spalatin that we can see Luther developing his own identity. From the first biographies of Luther, the letters (soon published) were regularly used to authenticate the standard heroic narrative of the Reformation; but if read as ‘ego documents’ and analysed as part of a complex exchange, they can reveal far more about Luther and the dynamics of his friendships—and thus of the forces at work in the Reformation.
Loading next page...

You're reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

And millions more from thousands of peer-reviewed journals, for only $40/month.

Start Your Free Trial

What content is in DeepDyve?

  • Read and share from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from Springer, Elsevier, Nature, IEEE, Wiley-Blackwell and more.
  • All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

Rent Scholarly Articles?

  • Read the full article in your browser.
  • Access all of your rentals from the cloud anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Beautiful reading experience – Full charts and figures, just like the PDF.
  • Read as much as you'd like - whenever you'd like.

Happy Users

“In one word renting from DeepDyve is FANTASTIC!!! ... 99% of the time I only need access to an article for a month or so, so renting the articles is perfect for me.”

Adam S.

“Thanks for a great service! For an unaffiliated science blogger like myself this is like a dream come true.”

Seppo P.

“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”

Daniel C.

“Let me seize this opportunity and congratulate you on the service you are rendering to the scientific community.”

Joao B.