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“Of Whom The World Was Not Worthy”: Luther’s Martyrological Literature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes that a martyr is not one who merely expires, not even a 'good person' about whom words are inadequate to express our love, respect, and admiration (particularly so, now that the person is dead). The majority of Luther's hymns were intended for congregational worship, and for most of them he adapted known tunes. Luther directed his response to reformation followers not only in Riga but also in Tallinn and Tartu, another city in Estonia. Two principal ways to embolden readers are to offer eulogistic narratives of the heroic deeds of the martyred and to use Scripture to remind readers of the promises they have in Christ. In the martyrological literature Luther uses the letter, the song, the narrative, and the exposition of Scripture to comfort his readers and celebrate Christ's victory.

Keywords: Christ; congregation; hymns; martyr; scripture; Tallinn; Tartu

10.1163/ej.9789004158801.i-337.17
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