Midwives in early modern Europe found themselves in an unenviable position. Though they still officiated at nearly every childbirth–(male) doctors being summoned only in cases of dire complication–their role had been cast in a dimmer light with the rise of the universities and the expanding claims of university-trained physicians over all forms of medical […]
 Without a reformation early Lutherans feared that the gospel as they understood it might have been lost. We cannot make a historical judgment about that fear, but we can be reasonably sure that without the law the Reformation would have been lost. John Witte’s book, Law and Protestantism, demonstrates the extent to which the […]
A Review of Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation by John Witte, Jr.
 John Witte is a well known and accomplished legal historian and the present volume does not disappoint. His thesis, explicitly stated in the Introduction is that: “It was the combination of theological and legal reforms that rendered the Lutheran Reformation so resolute and resilient” (p. 4). And he argues against those 20th century historians […]
 John Witte, Jr. in his book Law and Protestantism notes that “many legal historians have tended to deprecate the 16th century in general and Lutheran theology in particular.” Some “have dismissed the ‘Reformation’ altogether as a historian’s fiction and a historical failure.” But this book invites us to take a second look at the […]
Author Roundtable: Perspectives on Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation by John Witte, Jr.
Reformation historians, lawyers, and theologians all find they have a stake in a book such as Law and Protestantism. Here you will find a roundtable populated by reviewers Mary Gaebler, Scott Hendrix, Paul Hinlicky, and Mary Sommar, and aided by law scholar Robert Tuttle and Reformation scholar David Whitford which brings out the particular perspective […]
 I will not reiterate, not for too long, anyway, my appreciation of Robert Benne’s Ordinary Saints, well-written, sound, and purveyor of the comprehensibly complex. I would certainly recommend the book to some members of my congregation seeking to live faithfully and thoughtfully in a complex and demanding time.  The book is heavily flavored […]
 In The Christian Tradition, Jaroslav Pelikan describes a fascinating scene at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, on Holy Thursday, 1833. Unknown to either, Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Henry Newman both were in attendance at this sacred Mass and both were deeply moved by its high drama and powerful evocation of feeling. […]
 Professor Robert Benne was probably the best seminary professor I had. One of the great joys I had, as a seminarian student was a course taught by Benne called “Introduction to Church and Society.” This course coupled with Benne’s passion, its methodology, and readings confirmed what I experienced as a church worker in the […]
 Robert Benne, Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Religion and Society at Roanoke College, is our leading interpreter of the practical theology of the Lutheran tradition as he has shown over the years in such works as The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism: A Moral Reassessment (1981) and what remains essential reading […]
 John Witte, Jr. concludes this superb study with a prophecy: “Heaven will exalt due process, and each will always receive what’s due. Hell will exalt pure caprice, and no one will ever know what’s coming” (303). That is literally a prophecy, but a well-founded one drawn from the story Witte tells in this book. […]