Theology & Philosophy

Liberty, Luther, and the Reformation


The conference explored how Protestant ideas developed and influenced thinking about liberty and responsibility in Germany and Europe, especially as those ideas came to be applied to legal and political developments from the time of Luther's 95 Theses forward.


From Liberty Fund

Institutes of Divine Jurisprudence, with Selections from Foundations of the Law of Nature and Nations

by By Christian Thomasius
Edited, Translated, and with an Introduction by Thomas Ahnert

Christian Thomasius’s natural jurisprudence is essential to understanding the origins of the Enlightenment in Germany, where his importance was comparable to that of John Locke’s in England.

First published in 1688, Thomasius’s Institutiones jurisprudentiae divinae (Institutes of Divine Jurisprudence) attempted to draw a clear distinction between natural and revealed law…

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Additional Readings

Bellarmine, Robert. On Temporal and Spiritual Authority. Edited by Stefania Tutino. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012.

Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on Western Legal Traditions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Black, Antony. Council and Commune: The Conciliar Movement and the Council of Basle. London: Burns and Oates, 1979.

Burckhardt, Jacob. Judgments on History and Historians. Edited by Alberto R. Coll. Translated by Harry Zohn. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999.

Creighton, Mandell. A History of the Papacy During the Period of the Reformation, Volume 1 1378-1418. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012 [1882].

Luther, Martin. Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings. Edited by John Dillenberger. New York: Anchor Books (Random House, Inc.), 1962.

Luther, Martin and Desiderius Erasmus. Luther and Erasmus: Free Will and Salvation. Edited by Gordon E. Rupp and Philip S. Watson. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969.

Pope Leo X. “Exsurge Domine [June 15, 1520] .” Papal Encyclicals Online. (Accessed January 10, 2017).

Ranke, Leopold von. The Theory and Practice of History. Edited by Georg G. Iggers. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Russell, Bertrand. A History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945.

Trevor-Roper, Hugh. The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century: Religion, The Reformation, and Social Change. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001 [1967].

Villers, Charles de. An Essay on the Spirit and Influence of the Reformation of Luther. Translated by James Mill. Glasgow: Brash and Reed, and M. Ogle, 1805.