It may seem strange to suggest that Luther was a figure of the Renaissance, with its inquiring spirit and its taste for classical models of learning. Yet the appellation of Luther as Renaissance Man is by no means a misnomer. One of the key foundations of the Renaissance was the recovery of classical authority. Many of the great learned texts of antiquity had been thought lost to posterity forever. However, when they were recovered, gathering dust in some remote monastery library, for example, a new era was born.
"Ad fontes!" was the Renaissance cry, "Back to the sources!" If humankind wished to progress and move on from the intellectual aridity of medieval scholasticism, it must look back to the example of the ancients, whose wise insights could illuminate the darkness that devotees of the Renaissance believed had fallen upon the European mind.
Luther accepted the Renaissance caricature of medieval learning, albeit for different reasons. Scholasticism for him was inextricably linked to what she saw as a corrupt (and corrupting) Catholic Church. One of his main doctrines was sola sciptura which meant that the Bible was the sole source of truth, not the authority of the Church. Individual Christians should be able to discover the truth of Scripture for themselves by being permitted to read the Bible in their own language.
Inevitably, this meant going "back to the sources," examining carefully what the Bible said and how its wisdom could help us get at the truth. There are, then, clear similarities between Luther's regard for Scripture and the Renaissance veneration for ancient literature. But there's also a crucial difference. In Luther's bibliolatry, the authority of the Church and of the ancients is replaced by the authority of Scripture, the Word of God.