Good Theology Needs Good Literature

I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure, just as heretofore, when letters have declined and lain prostrate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate… Certainly it is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily… Therefore I beg of you that at my request (if that has any weight) you will urge your young people to be diligent in the study of poetry and rhetoric.

(Martin Luther, Letter to Eoban Hess, 29 March 1523)

Leave it to Luther to scandalize the “All You Ever Need to Read Is the Bible” crowd.

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