Monday, June 11, 2012

The best book on Martin Luther now available on Google Play Books!

Martin Luther: The Man and the Image

By Herbert David Rix

By far and away, the best book written on Matin Luther in the 20th Century was "Martin luther: The Man and the Image" by Medieval scholar and Erasmus expert Herbert David Rix.  It was published by a small independant New York press Irvington Publishers in 1983.  It did not receive much press.  I obtained a used copy in a small bookshop in Oxford, UK in 1989.  I had never heard of it before, but as I glanced through it in the shop, I knew it was a must read.  My expectations were more than realized.  it was essentailly a life-changing book and I used it as the basis for an extended lecture on Martin Luther entitled "The Death of Charity" which I delivered to the Pro Fide Forum at Westminster Cathedral in London in October 1989.

Dr. Rix did an extended survey of Luther's works from the Weimar Edition of Luther's collected works.  He also did a survey of the various analyses of Luther's personality and work by his 16th Century contemporaries and by scholars since the Quadricentenniel of his birth in 1883.  Rix makes several connections in the timeline of Luther that I have not seen documented in other biographical materials.  He also gives a plusible (if somewhat dated) psychological profile of the heretic using pre-DSM3 categories.

In short, Dr. Rix thinks that Luther suffered from a severe manic-depressive disorder puncutated with periods of extreme mania that bordered on the psychotic and characterized by a poor self image, severe depression, and delusions of grandeur.  In this view he was not alone.  he quotes from previous authors who wrote about Luther including Erasmus, Richard Simon, Preserved Smith, Fr. Heinrich Denifle, Fr. Hartman Grisar, Preserved Smith, Paul Reiter, and Eric Eriksson. 

Based on his masterful summary in this book, it is abundantly clear that Luther was suffering from severe mental illness and that ths illness lay as the foundation of his alleged religious "breakthrough." To put it bluntly, the theological foundation of Protestnatism is mental illness.  Luther's amoral and antinomian heresy of "justification by faith alone unformed by charity and without good works" was a personal catharsis which the heretic used to control his periods of depression.


This book has been out of print for over a decade, but now Google Play has a PDF version of it that is available here for $16.50!  It would be cheap at twice the price. 

Drop everything and check this book out!


Scott said...

That post was one of the biggest ad hominems I have ever read! Try dealing with Scripture next time.

Art Sippo: said...

What is the matter with you? My posting makes it clear that Martin Luther was MENTALLY ILL and if you follow his reasoning you are basing your salvation on the ravings of a mad man!

I have numerous posts on this blog that deal with Scripture and its proper interpretation. This post is about a biography of the heresiarch Martin Luther and his errors of judgment. There is no need to "deal with scripture" in this matter. I have done that elsewhere. Here I am trying to shame Protestants into repenting from the madness of Luther and listening to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in the Church which began with James 2:24-

"You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone."

The Bible has spoken, the matter is closed. Luther was wrong and his madness made hi9m a blind guide for fools.

Bill said...

It's common knowledge among obsessive-compulsive sufferers that Martin Luther probably had some form of OCD or other anxiety disorder. The premise that Luther's affliction caused or produced a theological breakthrough should be scrutinized a bit. Can and does God use illness, disaster, and suffering for His glory? Most certainly He does. Also, sometimes those who suffer in a particular way struggle more about issues that others don't struggle about. I believe that Luther's afflictions did not let him accept the status quo like others did. The matters which he wrote about were exceedingly important to him.

Art Sippo: said...

It did not produce a "theological breakthrough." It produced a heresy that was not based on Scripture or Tradition but rather on Luther's mental illness. He had a mood disorder with both manic and depressive components. His depression gave him a pathological view of his own human nature and he generalized his personal FEELINGS into the universal REALITY of everyone in the world. In short, he was delusional and he invented the idea of the external imputation of Christ's righteous to cover himself so that it was not necessary for him to actually BECOME a better person. He also confused being in the state of constant improvement (which is the norm for a life of sanctity) with futility. He did not understand that it is not necessary that we be PERFECT in order to be righteous before God. Being on the way was enough. But he thought he needed to be ABSOLUTELY perfect and so he invented imputation so that he would LOOK absolutely perfect even though he WAS NOT!

His overly scrupulous conscience led him to ignore the constant teaching of the Church based on scripture that we are pilgrims on the way and so he despaired of his own salvation which is sin against the theological virtue of Hope. As an antidote to this he counseled people to presume on the grace of God and thus counseled the dialectically opposite sin against Hope (Presumption) as the solution. In essence he committed one sin and then tried to solve the problem by committing another sin!

While God can use disasters in our lives in positive ways, Luther's program was wholly negative. He was a raving lunatic who contradicted himself in his disputations. When his opponents called him on this. He called reason a "strumpet and a whore." Thus he claimed that illogical lunacy was preferable to a cogently developed argument. He also ignored or ejected everything is Scripture that contradicted what he called "my Gospel." James 2:24 IN CONTEXT literally contradicted Luther but instead of submitting to the Bible, he tried to get James thrown out of the Canon! He was neither a faithful churchman, nor a cogent teacher. He allowed himself to be led astray in all directions with wild ups and downs of his moods.

Luther's gift to the world was Protestant Pandemonium where everyone does whatever is right in their own eyes with no regard for truth. Just because his ravings were "important to him", it does not excuse him or those who followed him in leaving the Christian church.