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Journal > Volumes > 34 (2003) / 1 (Spring)
"In the Christian City of Wittenberg": Karlstadt's Tract on Images and Begging
Neil R. Leroux
University of Minnesota, Morris

Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt's Von Abtuhung der Bilder und Das Keyn Bedtler unther den Christen seyn sollen were printed as a single tract on January 27,1522, and headed by a single, dedicatory preface. A rhetorical analysis of both essays shows aspects of Karlstadt's legalistic hermeneutic, with its heavy reliance on the Old Testament, and a notion of "offense" rooted in material-spiritual circumstances that offend God and, consequently, Karlstadt himself. His rhetoric rests upon and sustains a premise that to be faithful is to submit oneself to Scripture, as the law of God, and to fulfill its mandates. His tract is a prophetic summons to the judgment of God's word, to measure contemporary treatment of images and begging according to God's administrative codes in the Old Testament, which are ratified in the New Testament and forever apply to the Christian Church. Karlstadt's prophetic rhetoric describes a "true Christian" differently than Luther's does.

Pages: 73 - 105