Martin Luther’s Understanding of Faith and Reality

New book by Ilmari Karimies published on Mohr Siebeck

Full title:

Martin Luther’s Understanding of Faith and Reality (1513–1521): The Influence of Augustinian Platonism and Illumination in Luther’s Thought. 

The book is divided into two main chapters. The first one examines Martin Luther’s understading of reality, joining the much-discussed Platonism thesis and connecting it with medieval Augustinian Platonism. The chapter consists of Luther’s view on God, Universe and anthropology. Especially the discussion on anthropology follows the line craftd by Nordic researchers Herbert Olsson, Lauri Haikola and Eero Huovinen.

The second main chapter examines the concept of the light of faith, connecting it with theological and philosophical developement of Augustine’s epistemological doctrine of illumination. Luther’s understanding of the light of faith is compared with Scholastic interpretations of the term and it is shown, that Luther follows the line stemming from medieval Augustinian thinkers, representing a realistic Augustinian view. Faith functions as the theological intellect, grasping the invisible world and showing human beings the future good in a manner similar to the medieval mystical notion of ecstatic knowledge. It is situated between the lesser light of nature, which it is opposed to, and the brighter light of glory. It differs from vision in glory because of sin, as mixed with humanity, and as partial knowledge. The results are connected to the examination of faith as union with Christ, given by the Mannermaa school of Finnish Luther research, to research on Mysticism, and to Ecumenical discussion on the ontology and epistemology of faith.