Martin Luther's "On Christian Freedom":
How It Represents the Renaissance Period
The Renaissance was a period of rebirth. It was a time when people proclaimed the dignity and self-reliance of man, as well as the beauties of earthly life. It was a time when the humanists advocated a return (ad fontes, or "going back to the sources") to the Classical era. The idea concentrated on life on earth. According to the handout on the Renaissance, humanists saw the classics as a treasury of moral and practical wisdom that would illuminate the world. Christian humanists also stressed the importance of the active, rather than the contemplative life. It also gave much importance to individualism. I believe Luther's essay, "On Christian Freedom" is a perfect example of literature from the Renaissance period because it focused mainly on man's present life on earth by going back to the source, which is the Bible. The focus on individualism can be observed in the essay "On Christian Freedom," as Luther mainly spoke of how man is free to live his life in accordance to his twofold nature, the spiritual (the soul which seeks to be perfect) and the bodily (the flesh which is naturally sinful). Luther stressed the fact that man is both the free lord of all and subject to none, but at the same time a dutiful servant of all and subject to everyone. According to Jose Marchal's online article, "Luther's Freedom" (2009), "Luther means that freedom is not so much an external phenomenon but rather a result of one’s inner spiritual nature. Freedom for Luther is submission to Christ through faith. This freedom allows for a 'joyous exchange' of the sinner’s 'sins, death, and damnation' for Christ’s 'grace, life and salvation'. This freedom then allows the believer to become a 'dutiful servant' which thrusts the Christian back into human life." (Marchal, J., 2009) The call to live an active life, instead of a contemplative one, can be seen since Luther...
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