“The Bible is alive,” declared Martin Luther, “it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” The Protestant Reformation’s seminal leader possessed a gift for evocative speech, and he was as articulate and outspoken in private as he was in public. Fortunately for posterity, some of Luther’s loyal followers took note of his informal speeches.
The Table Talk of Martin Luther consists of excerpts from the great reformer’s conversations with his students and colleagues, in which he comments on life, the church, and the Bible. Collected by Johannes Aurifaber, Anton Lauterbach, and other close associates of Luther, these absorbing anecdotes reveal the speaker’s personality and wisdom. This text is based on the English translation by lawyer and author William Hazlitt, son of the celebrated essayist.
Originally published as Tischreden at Eisleben in 1566. This translation was first published in 1848.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was born in Germany and is famous for his protest, The Ninety-five Theses, which he nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. The son of middle-class parents, Luther left his comfortable life to become a monk. Luther's own spiritual awakening was sparked by his study of the Greek text of Paul's letter to the Romans, which challenged him with the statement, "The just shall live by faith." His study and teaching of the Greek text of the New Testament represent the beginnings of modern textual study, and his widely disseminated writings sparked the Protestant Reformation in Europe.