Martin Luther and Musically Expressed Theology

  • Adam Hough University of Phoenix
Keywords: Luther, Martin Luther, theology, Germany, 16th century, liturgical music, reformation, christianity, Psalms, religion, society, culture, Illumine, CSRS, UVic, University of Victoria, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society


This paper seeks a reappraisal of Martin Luther’s complex understanding of theology’s place in the social and political reformation of 16th–century Germany. Here I seek to reintroduce an element of that theology that has been largely absent from mainstream scholarship: music. Building on Robin Leaver’s influential 2007 work, Luther’s Liturgical Music, wherein he argues that Luther’s liturgical song–writing ought to be understood theologically, I will demonstrate how the reformer sought to use a musically expressed theology to build a foundation of faith among the German laity– a prerequisite, he believed, to a successful reformation of Christian religion and society. Luther’s answer to the failures of the early evangelical Reformation was an educational programme centred on teaching a theology of the Psalms through music.


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How to Cite
Hough, Adam. 2014. “Martin Luther and Musically Expressed Theology”. Illumine: A Journal of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society 11 (1). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 27-49.