Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death Questions and Answers
by Richard Marius

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What are some introductory questions for student feedback of this text?

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Introductory questions for student feedback: 

Marius calls his approach to Luther “essentially nonreligious.” What strengths and weaknesses do you find in this approach to a religious figure? In other words, what agendas might be shed and what agendas acquired?

Is Martin Luther, as Marius contends, a “catastrophe” for Western civilization? Why or why not? Another way of putting this: can one man be responsible for a civilization’s “catastrophe” or is this a result of trends larger than any one person can control?

Marius contends that what drove Luther was the question of whether God really can raise us from death. How does this relate to the apostle Paul? How does it relate to our own times? To you? 

Related to the question above, discuss how Luther’s fear of death drove his theology. It has been said the personal is the political: is the personal also the theological?

Do you agree with Marius that Luther’s sense of doubt was deeper than most have acknowledged? To what extent might Marius’s “nonreligious” viewpoint color his interpretation?

How does Marius characterize Luther’s relationship with Erasmus?

Do you blame Luther, as Marius does, for opposing Erasmus’s humanism?

Is Luther to blame for the religious wars of the sixteenth century, as Marius contends? Why or why not.

Marius says very little about Luther after 1527. What is your reaction to that?

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