Luther's Theology of the Cross: Martin Luther's Theological Breakthrough


Luther's Theology of the Cross represents a fully revised and updated edition of the classic 1985 text that expands on the author's ongoing research and reflects 25 years of Luther scholarship.
  • Rewritten and expanded edition of a highly-acclaimed classic text
  • Incorporates primary and secondary sources that have become available since the publication of the first edition
  • Draws on advances in our understanding ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $95.59   
  • New (5) from $95.59   
  • Used (2) from $110.97   
Luther's Theology of the Cross: Martin Luther's Theological Breakthrough

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$43.49 price
(Save 42%)$75.99 List Price


Luther's Theology of the Cross represents a fully revised and updated edition of the classic 1985 text that expands on the author's ongoing research and reflects 25 years of Luther scholarship.
  • Rewritten and expanded edition of a highly-acclaimed classic text
  • Incorporates primary and secondary sources that have become available since the publication of the first edition
  • Draws on advances in our understanding of the late medieval intellectual, cultural, and religious background of Luther's early development, and the nature of Luther's doctrine of justification (including the so-called 'Finnish' school), many of which have not yet been incorporated into Luther scholarship
  • Luther's 'theological breakthrough' continues to be of central importance to Reformation Studies and the development of Protestantism
  • Written by one of the world's leading Protestant theologians, who is an authority on the development of the doctrine of justification. His classic work Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification is now in its third edition (2005)

Historical theology students can find in this study the decisive influences on Martin Luther's thinking in a slowly evolving understanding of the justice of God. First published in 1985, it remains the book for people who want to know what all the fuss of the Reformation is about. Glossary of terms included.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"McGrath has made a major contribution to this problem of Luther studies by his learned, lucid and informative book." Journal of Theological Studies.

"It is refreshing to turn to Alister McGrath's study, Luther's Theology of the Cross, and to see how a work which is uncompromisingly theological in its focus can be rigorously historical throughout ... a work of impressive scholarship distinguished at the same time by a clarity of expression all too rare in books of this kind ... McGrath's magisterial study ... brings the most traditional of themes into fresh historical focus." Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

"A study of the first rank." Choice.

"Is a major study of Luther's theology, and ought to be consulted by everyone teaching the Reformation, and by Luther scholars in particular. An impressive achievement at the level of theological sophistication that has established McGrath as one of the pre-eminent Luther scolars. Its arguments are very tight and it displays a complete mastery of Luther scholarship." Journal of Religious History.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470655306
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/16/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister E. McGrath is Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion & Culture, and Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College, London. A world-acclaimed theologian and intellectual historian, McGrath is the author of numerous books including The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation 2nd edition (2003) and Reformation Thought: An Introduction 3rd edition (1999).
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents




Part One: The Background: Luther as a Late Medieval Theologian, 1509-1514.

1 The Dawn of the Reformation at Wittenberg.

The late medieval context.

The concept of "justification" in Christian thought.

The reform of the church and the renewal of spirituality.

The Ninety-Five Theses.

The importance of the present study.

2 Headwaters of the Reformation at Wittenberg: Humanism, Nominalism, and the Augustinian Tradition.

The via moderna and via antiqua at Wittenberg.

A new school of thought? The via Gregorii at Wittenberg.

Luther and the Augustinian Order.

Humanism: The studia humanitatis at Wittenberg.

Nominalism: The via moderna at Wittenberg.

The Augustinian tradition: A modern Augustinian school at Wittenberg?

3 Luther as a Late Medieval Theologian.

The Dictata super Psalterium.

Luther's biblical hermeneutic, 1513-1514.

The debate over the date of Luther's theological breakthrough.

Part Two: The Breakthrough: Luther in Transition, 1514-1519.

4 Mira et nova diffinitio iustitiae: Luther's Discovery of the Righteousness of God.

Luther's difficulties in the light of late medieval theology.

The theological pactum and existential anxiety.

"The righteousness of God" and "the righteousness of faith".

Luther's exposition of Psalms 70 (71) and 71 (72).

Luther's break with the soteriology of the via moderna (1515).

The nature and significance of Luther's critique of Aristotle.

The nature and date of Luther's theological breakthrough.

5 Crux sola est nostra theologia: The Emergence of the Theology of the Cross, 1514-1519.

The Heidelberg Disputation (1518) and the "theology of the cross".

The leading themes of Luther's "theology of the cross".

The "righteousness of God" and the "theology of the cross".

The "theology of the cross" as a critique of analogical language about God.

The "crucified and hidden God".

Faith, doubt, and Anfechtung.

Luther's theological development, 1509-1519: A summary.

Select Bibliography.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2002

    excellent scholarship on luther's breakthrough

    this is one of the best books on the market for laymen and clergy...mcgrath does a fine job explaining the epistemological, philosophical, and theological background that led luther to discover the theology of the the is only because luther had a proper understanding of the Law & Gospel, that he was able to kneel before the foot of calvary with this beautiful doctrine..."the cross," said luther, "is the safest of all places. Blessed is the man who understands this." Blessed also are those who purchase this book and work through the intense scholarship perhaps to find a tower experience of thier own.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)