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The Two ReformationsThe Journey from the Last Days to the New World$
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Heiko A. Oberman and Donald Weinstein

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300098686

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300098686.001.0001

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Martin Luther

Martin Luther

A Friar in the Lion's Den

(p.44) III Martin Luther
The Two Reformations

Heiko A. Oberman

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the early stages of Martin Luther's Reformation breakthrough. It states that Luther, as a reformer, stood on the shoulders of innovators who had declared the words of human language to be natural signs rather than the reverberations of the eternal Logos, in accordance to the tradition of William Occam, Gregory of Rimini, Peter d'Ailly, and Gabriel Biel. It argues that Luther's nominalist ideals has compelled him to set forth to eliminate all speculative connotations from the scholarly vocabulary. The nominalist slogan “words are free” sounded like a battle cry of liberation that can be construed as their declaration of independence. It also argues that Luther's new discoveries can be traced from his drive to search for new vocabularies of Scripture. It argues that Luther believed that the biblical God communicated in ways and words not reflected in the traditional scholastic speculative grammar. Hence, Luther insisted for the need to have eyes and ears of faith.

Keywords:   nominalist, Martin Luther, biblical God, scholastic speculative grammar, Reformation

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