Luther and the West
Northwestern University
Coursera
list 6 sequences
assignment Level : Introductive
label History
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
language Subtitles : Spanish
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Users' reviews
4.2
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9 reviews

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About the content

In this course we will discuss the history of some ideas that have been hugely influential in the modern west and that were taken out to the rest of the world. The discussion centers on an extraordinary and historically important figure, a sixteenth century German man named Martin Luther. Luther is recognized today as the originator of many of the most significant ideas that continue to affect and shape who we as modern people are and how we see the world and ourselves for better and for worse. In the first section, we will explore why Luther thought the Bible was the most important volume for everyone to have and read. Included here will be a careful consideration of Luther's anti-Judaism, which contributed to western antisemitism and some of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century. In the second section, we will talk about the idea of freedom and how Luther's understanding of freedom in Christ affected the way modern thinkers understood what it means to be human in community. Important in this section is the consequential contradiction between freedom and slavery in western thought and their co-existence in western societies. The third section will be all about the many complicated relations between religion and politics. NOTE: Students wishing to sign up for free access to all instructional course content should click on the "Sign-In" button in the upper right hand corner. Those who wish to take the course and complete a certificate that requires payment, please click the Enroll button on the left side of this page.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1 - Luther, the Bible, and Antijudaism - Part 1
     
  • Week 2 - Luther, the Bible, and Antijudaism - Part 2
     
  • Week 3 - Freedom: Self and Community - Part 1
     
  • Week 4 - Freedom: Self and Community - Part 2
     
  • Week 5 - Religion and Politics: The Two Swords - Part 1
     
  • Week 6 - Religion and Politics: The Two Swords - Part 2
     
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Intructors

Christine Helmer
Arthur E. Andersen Teaching and Research Professor, Professor of Religious Studies and German
Department of Religious Studies

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Content designer

Northwestern University is a private research and teaching university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, and Doha, Qatar. Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries.

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Best review

This is a well-planned course that I learned a whole lot from. I was curious about Luther and church history to begin with, and this course satisfied that curiosity.

Published on November 3, 2017
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on the November 3, 2017
starstarstarstarstar

This is a well-planned course that I learned a whole lot from. I was curious about Luther and church history to begin with, and this course satisfied that curiosity.

on the September 1, 2017
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Quick, useful overview, even if you've read about this time in history before. The peer-graded writing assignment also helped me articulate what I learned from this course. Highly recommended for anyone, especially those living in the Western world.

on the July 5, 2017
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This is an excellent course. Not only it is a very clear and complete introduction to Luther and his times, but also includes a couple of units on the reception of his thought, both in I. Kant and M. Luther King. I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Helmer's lessons and learnt a lot from them.

on the June 16, 2017
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I was puzzled by the course at first: the 4-minute lectures, one question quizzes, and initial focus on Nazi use of Luther's antisemitism. But I soon caught the drift of the course's peripateticism: the various historical and doctrinal issues, links to Spinoza, Kant and King, the terrific Luther readings (now I see why the nuns in grammar school warned us against reading anything by Martin Luther) and the many excellent encyclopedia entries (skimmed)--all put Luther and the Reformation in historical and contemporary context. Good job. The 3 paragraph essay was also an excellent teaching device. You asked, 'Do you understand Luther's concept of freedom?' and I had to admit I was befuddled. So the essay and grading others' was spot on. Thanks. Bob Huberty (I met you at the CUNY conference. I was with David Lott, formerly of Fortress Press.)

on the April 1, 2017
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I think this was a very interesting and informative course, although the lessons could have been a little bit longer! I do recommend this course strongly