Luther's Theology of the Cross - Martin Luther'sTheological Breakthrough 2e
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More About This Title Luther's Theology of the Cross - Martin Luther'sTheological Breakthrough 2e


Luther's Theology of the Cross represents a fully revised and updated edition of the classic 1985 text that expands on the author's ongoing research and reflects 25 years of Luther scholarship.
  • Rewritten and expanded edition of a highly-acclaimed classic text
  • Incorporates primary and secondary sources that have become available since the publication of the first edition
  • Draws on advances in our understanding of the late medieval intellectual, cultural, and religious background of Luther's early development, and the nature of Luther's doctrine of justification (including the so-called 'Finnish' school), many of which have not yet been incorporated into Luther scholarship
  • Luther's 'theological breakthrough' continues to be of central importance to Reformation Studies and the development of Protestantism
  • Written by one of the world's leading Protestant theologians, who is an authority on the development of the doctrine of justification. His classic work Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification is now in its third edition (2005)


Alister E. McGrath is Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion & Culture, and Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College, London. A world-acclaimed theologian and intellectual historian, McGrath is the author of numerous books including The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation 2nd edition (2003) and Reformation Thought: An Introduction 3rd edition (1999).





Part One: The Background: Luther as a Late Medieval Theologian, 1509-1514.

1 The Dawn of the Reformation at Wittenberg.

The late medieval context.

The concept of "justification" in Christian thought.

The reform of the church and the renewal of spirituality.

The Ninety-Five Theses.

The importance of the present study.

2 Headwaters of the Reformation at Wittenberg: Humanism, Nominalism, and the Augustinian Tradition.

The via moderna and via antiqua at Wittenberg.

A new school of thought? The via Gregorii at Wittenberg.

Luther and the Augustinian Order.

Humanism: The studia humanitatis at Wittenberg.

Nominalism: The via moderna at Wittenberg.

The Augustinian tradition: A modern Augustinian school at Wittenberg?

3 Luther as a Late Medieval Theologian.

The Dictata super Psalterium.

Luther's biblical hermeneutic, 1513-1514.

The debate over the date of Luther's theological breakthrough.

Part Two: The Breakthrough: Luther in Transition, 1514-1519.

4 Mira et nova diffinitio iustitiae: Luther's Discovery of the Righteousness of God.

Luther's difficulties in the light of late medieval theology.

The theological pactum and existential anxiety.

"The righteousness of God" and "the righteousness of faith".

Luther's exposition of Psalms 70 (71) and 71 (72).

Luther's break with the soteriology of the via moderna (1515).

The nature and significance of Luther's critique of Aristotle.

The nature and date of Luther's theological breakthrough.

5 Crux sola est nostra theologia: The Emergence of the Theology of the Cross, 1514-1519.

The Heidelberg Disputation (1518) and the "theology of the cross".

The leading themes of Luther's "theology of the cross".

The "righteousness of God" and the "theology of the cross".

The "theology of the cross" as a critique of analogical language about God.

The "crucified and hidden God".

Faith, doubt, and Anfechtung.

Luther's theological development, 1509-1519: A summary.

Select Bibliography.



"The first edition of this book was an excellent guide to Luther's breakthrough to a theology of the cross. This new fuller and updated edition is to be greatly welcomed."
Tony Lane, London School of Theology