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Luther's Aesop

by Carl P E Springer Truman State University
Pub Date:
Pbk 264 pages
AU$69.00 NZ$73.91
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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Reformer of the church, biblical theologian, and German translator of the Bible Martin Luther had the highest respect for stories attributed to the ancient Greek author Aesop. He assigned them a status second only to the Bible and regarded them as wiser than "the harmful opinions of all the philosophers." Throughout his life, Luther told and retold Aesop’s fables and strongly supported their continued use in Lutheran schools. In this volume, Carl Springer builds on the textual foundation other scholars have laid and provides the first book in English to seriously consider Luther’s fascination with Aesop’s fables. He looks at which fables Luther knew, how he understood and used them, and why he valued them. Springer provides a variety of cultural contexts to help scholars and general readers gain a deeper understanding of Luther’s appreciation of Aesop.



Wittenberg and Athens

“The Best after the Bible”

Luther the Editor

A Lutheran Fable Book

Luther as Aesop

Appendix A Other Versions of the Coburg Fables

Appendix B Selected Latin Poems of Luther

Appendix C Varia

Works Cited

About the Author


Index of Scriptural References

“Carl P. E. Springer’s study of Luther’s views on Aesop is a notable achievement for (at least) two reasons. First, it sheds light on an aspect of his thinking that has often been overlooked by historians, namely the prominent place of Aesop’s fables in Luther’s mind as he prepared his theology for a reading public, particularly when it came to issues of Christian ethics... Second, Springer’s careful reconstruction of Luther’s preoccupation with the fables also sheds important light on broader questions relating to the Reformer’s views on the relationship between theology and the classics and indeed the place of pagan thought in Reformation thought tout court.”

Renaissance Quarterly

Carl P. E. Springer is professor of English and classical studies at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Springer has written extensively about the relationship between the classics and Christianity. He is best known for his work on the early Christian Latin poet Sedulius, whose collected works he is in the process of editing and translating. He has also produced numerous studies on Martin Luther's use of classical Greek and Latin authors as well as Luther's own Latin poetry.