There is little doubt about the fundamental importance of both Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther for western theology and anthropology. Both continue to invite critical debate on a host of issues that persist in their contemporary relevance, such as questions about human identity and destiny. This engaging volume brings together a group of scholars pursuing new directions in Lutheran and Augustinian scholarship on these issues. The first section on Luther and the Apocalyptic highlights Luther's deep groundedness in the this-worldly dimensions of his apocalyptic thinking. The authors in this section demonstrate how Luther's apocalyptic worldview leads back to earth, to living and dead bodies, to contemporary political realities, to glimpses of hope amid tumult. The authors utilize dimensions of Luther's apocalyptic sensibility to better envision how God's promised future impacts the present. The second section on Augustine and Luther on Human Agency examines Augustine's understanding of the human self, its sovereignty and its fragility, its agency and its confines. The authors in this section explore how the Augustinian monk turned Reformer of the Church, Martin Luther, used and evangelized Augustine's understanding of the self. The authors invite readers to explore 20th and 21st century appropriations of these ideas in order to pursue these questions and their implications more deeply for themselves.
Kirsi Stjerna is Professor of Reformation Church History at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and Docent at the University of Helsinki, and Deanna A. Thompson is Professor of Religion at Hamline University. Stjerna and Thompson served as co-chairs of the Martin Luther and Global Lutheran Traditions Program Unit of the American Academy of Religion.