Novak (novak) wrote,

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Theological Notebook: My Semester with Martin Luther

How cool is this?  (Answer: Way cool.)  Here's the class I'll be TAing for this semester.  This is Mickey's specialty, and I've never done a course solely focused on Luther before, so I'm quite pumped about the reading and the lectures, myself. Naturally, of course, you should all take advantage of this splendid syllabus, buy the books yourselves, and read along. Uh-huh.

Marquette University                                                            Coughlin Hall 102
Spring 2006                                                                            Email:
T Th 11:00 – 12:15                                                                   Office Hours:  T Th 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Emory T. Clark Hall, Room 119
                                                                                                  Teaching Assistant:
                                                                                                  Mr. Mike Novak
                                                                                                  Office Hours:

Martin Luther is arguably the single most significant theologian in western Christianity for the last 500 years.  A Catholic by birth, a priest and religious by choice, and a scholastic doctor of theology by training, Luther became the founder of a protest movement whose effects remain with us down to the present day.  This course introduces the life and work of this important man, from his childhood and education, to his career as an Augustinian friar and young university professor, his emergence as a church reformer and eventual excommunication, his life as a husband and father, and, finally, his work as a preacher and professor of Bible.

Students will become familiar with the central themes and problems in Luther’s life and thought through the reading of two biographies, numerous of Luther’s own writings, selected scholarly essays, and regular classroom lectures.

We will also examine enduring images of Luther inside and outside Protestantism, particularly that of Roman Catholic Luther scholarship.  Students will be challenged to take stock of Luther’s significance for contemporary theology.

Approximately one-half of class time will be devoted to lecture, the other half to a guided discussion of assigned texts. 

Students are expected to adopt and practice the disciplines appropriate to serious intellectual inquiry: regular attendance in class, timely completion of reading assignments, rereading when necessary for comprehension, thoughtful participation in classroom discussion, and so on.

This course will enable the student to:
1) understand the importance of the late medieval context, historically and theologically, for Luther’s emergence as a Reformer.
2) understand the general course of Luther’s life and career.
3) understand the major themes in Luther’s theology.
4) gain skill in the reading of historical sources.
5) appreciate Luther’s continuing significance for catholic Christianity.

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Timothy Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings (2nd edition, w/cd-rom)
Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God & the Devil
David Steinmetz, Luther in Context

As a general rule, reading assignments should be completed before class on Thursday of the week in which they are assigned.  Read the selections from Lull in the order indicated below.  Our normal practice will be to discuss readings, both primary and secondary, on Thursdays.

    Jan 17, 19    Vita Lutheri: An Overview of Luther’s Life & Times
        In-Class Film
        Bainton, Here I Stand, ch. 1-7

    Jan 24, 26    Theologiae Gratiae: Christianity in the West in the Later Middle Ages
        Bainton, Here I Stand, ch. 8-15
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, I.1, II.5

    Jan 31, Feb 2    Initia Lutheri:  Luther’s “Reformation Breakthrough”
        Bainton, Here I Stand, ch. 16-22
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, II.6, II.7, II.9

    Feb 7, 9    The Justification of the Sinner
        Steinmetz, Luther in Context, ch. VI
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, III.11, III.12

    Feb 14, 16    The Justification of the Sinner, cont’d.
        Steinmetz, Luther in Context, ch. IV
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, VI.30

    Feb 21, 23    The Justification of the Sinner, cont’d.
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, IV.16, IV.20
        Steinmetz, Luther in Context, ch. II
        Handout from Luther’s Lectures on Romans

Midterm #1 will be due February 28.
    Feb 28, Mar 2    The Bondage of the Will
        Steinmetz, Luther in Context, ch. III
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, IV.19

    Mar 7, 9    Marital Matters
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, VII.33, IV.18
        Handout from the Small Catechism

    Mar 21, 23    Doctor in Biblia: Luther and the Bible
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, III.10, III.13, I.3

    Mar 28, 30    Doctor in Biblia: Luther and the Bible, cont’d.
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, III.14, III.15

    Apr 4, 6    The Sacraments
        Steinmetz, Luther in Context, ch. VII
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, V.22, V.23, II.8, V.24, V.25

Midterm #2 will be due April 11.

    Apr 11    Scripture, Church & Tradition
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, VI.31

    Apr 18, 20    Scatology, the Devil, & the Apocalypse
        Oberman, Luther: Man Between God & the Devil, Part One
        Lull, Luther’s Basic Writings, I.4

    Apr 25, 27    Luther in Protestant Research from Melanchthon to Today
        Oberman, Luther: Man Between God & the Devil, Part Two

    May 2, 4    Luther in Catholic Research from Cochlaeus to Today
        Oberman, Luther: Man Between God & the Devil, Part Three

Final Exam: May 10, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.


1) Quizzes on Readings:  40% of the course grade will be based on in-class quizzes on the assigned readings.  These will be objective in form, with questions drawn directly out of the readings.  Quizzes will always be given at the beginning of class on Thursdays, but the specific Thursday on which they will be offered will not be announced.  Except in cases of officially excused absences, late or makeup quizzes will not be offered.  A total of 10 quizzes will be given; students may drop their lowest 2 grades.  Each of the 8 remaining quizzes will count for 5% of the course grade, for a total of 40%.

2) Midterm Exams:  30% of the course grade will be based on two, take-home midterm examinations.  The exams will offer a menu of short essay questions from which the student may choose.  Each exam will be distributed in class on the Thursday before the Tuesday on which it is due.
3) In-Class Participation:  15% of the course grade will be based on the student’s participation in classroom discussion.  I will look for signs that you are alert and engaged with lectures, that you make helpful comments or ask helpful questions, and that you exhibit a willingness to learn.  I also expect you to show respect for your classmates.  I will call on you by name in class in order to facilitate and to measure your participation.
4) Final Exam:  15% of the course grade will be based on a comprehensive final exam.  The final exam will consist of a combination of objective and short essay questions.  The final exam is scheduled for Wednesday, 10 May 2006, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

5) Attendance Policy:  Your attendance in class is mandatory, as per the Undergraduate Bulletin.  After six absences, each additional absence up to nine results in 1/2 letter grade off the final mark for the course, and with the tenth absence a final grade of “WA” with no possibility of re-entering the course.  A seating chart will be utilized to minimize the amount of class time required to verify your attendance.
Tags: books, education, historical, marquette, martin luther, teachers, teaching, theological notebook

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