I Am a Christian: The Nun, the Devil, and Martin Luther

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"In this thoughtful study Carolyn Schneider explores the practical, formational implications of Luther's baptismal thought and his theology of the cross in light of the Christ-centered, affective, experiential theology of medieval mysticism. In her analysis she not only shares keen theological and historical insights but also provides contemporary believers, especially women, with crucial theological resources that assure them of their union with Christ as they face spiritual, emotional, and physical struggles in their lives. This book is clearly ...

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Overview

"In this thoughtful study Carolyn Schneider explores the practical, formational implications of Luther's baptismal thought and his theology of the cross in light of the Christ-centered, affective, experiential theology of medieval mysticism. In her analysis she not only shares keen theological and historical insights but also provides contemporary believers, especially women, with crucial theological resources that assure them of their union with Christ as they face spiritual, emotional, and physical struggles in their lives. This book is clearly the work of a scholar with a pastoral heart." Kurt K. Hendel Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago" "I Am a Christian is a wonderful treatment of a topic that has been overlooked until now. Supported by careful historical research, it is a fresh and original look at Luther, gender, and pastoral care." Joy A. Schroeder Bergener Professor of Theology and Religion Capital University, Columbus, Ohio" "I am a Christian" ---this bold response to the devil by a nun of all people is the entry point for a rich study of resistance and consolation in Luther's theology and of the historical milieu in which it took shape. Schneider saves the best for last, concluding with a sensitive exploration of the power in being a Christian for those who suffer temptation today." Jane E. Strohl Professor of Reformation History and Theology Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley" Inspired by a bold nun, on nearly twenty occasions over the course of his ministry Martin Luther invoked her way of warding off the devil and the temptation to despair. "I am a Christian," she would say to the Tempter, and Luther's admiration for her becomes an entree to the whole religious world of the middle ages and Luther's time. Schneider's fascinating journey goes in search, first, of the meaning that this story had for Luther and his theological world but then of the nun's identity and the whole role of the devil, guilt, sin, and temptation in the medieval worldview. Finally, Schneider turns to today and people's struggles with despair, sickness, addiction, and death. She shows the strange but undeniable pertinence of the whole idea of the devil, Christian community as a bulwark against evil, and how Luther's battles illumine our own. Schneider's work brightly models a historcal theology that is as pastorally pertinent as it is historically engrossing.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Luther's Story about a Faithful Woman 5

2 The Significance of the Woman's Confession 25

3 The Identity of the Woman 51

4 Luther, Mechthild, and Theology 79

5 The Story's Usefulness for Today 101

Afterword 131

Appendix 135

Abbreviations 139

Notes 141

Selected Works 167

Acknowledgments 175

Scripture Index 177

Name and Subject Index 179

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