Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Product of Luther's Libido?

I found this article at The Ark here amusing. It discusses the theory that Protestantism is a product of Luther's Libido. That is ,Luther wanted to be released from the sexual tensions within him so he devised a plan for freedom to marry - the Reformation. It is a really interesting theory and it was propagated by his detractors at that time. However, there are I suspect still those who really believe this theory. So we are a product of his sex drive eh?

The article featured an interview with a Professor of Gender Studies in University of Wisconsin, Prof Merry Wiesner-Hanks. It is an interesting and discussion specially on the way Luther appreciated and praised his wife so much. Wiesner-Hanks believes that Luther had a healthy and robust view of the sexual dimension of life, and for Luther the libido started at the fall.

There is also a discussion on Luther's use of explatives and vulgar talk, something many are offended and have used to attack his character. Here is what Prof Merry said

Rachael Kohn: Merry, much has been made of Luther’s coarse language, his vulgarity, his frequent scatological references. What do you think they indicate about him?

Merry Wiesner-Hanks: Well first of all I think they indicate that that’s the way that people talked in the 16th century, and wrote.

Again, including people like Thomas More or Erasmus, I mean the most highly learned people wrote in what language that we would now think of as vulgar and scatalogical, particularly when they were dealing with things that they saw as powerful or things for which they had powerful feelings. And that of course then comes to include one’s religious opponents, for Luther and for many others, includes his remarks about the Jews, or the Turks, it is the way that Luther talks about the papacy, it’s the way that his Catholic opponents talked about him. So that it’s not specific to Luther, it’s simply that people were perhaps a bit more forthright than we sometimes expect them to be. But it’s not peculiar to him.

I observed that many of these vulgarites often used to put Luther in wicked light were quoted from Table Talk and historians have pointed out that these were not necessarily also the words of Luther for they were written by his dinner guests - his students. Later I will post what one historian says about the Table Talk.


J. K. Jones said...

Good post.

I can't wait for more on Table Talk.

L P Cruz said...


I will try and post what Chadwick said about Table Talk tonight.