Enemies of the Cross: Suffering, Truth, and Mysticism in the Early Reformation

ISBN : 9780190073183

Vincent Evener
432 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Enemies of the Cross examines how suffering and truth were aligned in the divisive debates of the early Reformation. Vincent Evener explores how Martin Luther, along with his first intra-Reformation critics, offered "true" suffering as a crucible that would allow believers to distinguish the truth or falsehood of doctrine, teachers, and their own experiences. To use suffering in this way, however, reformers also needed to teach Christians to recognize false suffering and the false teachers who hid under its mantle. This book contends that these arguments, which became an enduring part of the Lutheran and radical traditions, were nourished by the reception of a daring late-medieval mystical tradition - the post-Eckhartian - which depicted annihilation of the self as the way to union with God. The first intra-Reformation dissenters, Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt and Thomas Muntzer, have frequently been depicted as champions of medieval mystical views over and against the non-mystical Luther. Evener counters this depiction by showing how Luther, Karlstadt, and Muntzer developed their shared mystical tradition in diverse directions, while remaining united in the conviction that sinful self-assertion prevented human beings from receiving truth and living in union with God. He argues that Luther, Karlstadt, and Muntzer each represented a different form of ecclesial-political dissent shaped by a mystical understanding of how Christians were united to God through the destruction of self-assertion. Enemies of the Cross draws on seldom-used sources and proposes new concepts of "revaluation" and "relocation" to describe how Protestants and radicals brought medieval mystical teachings into new frameworks that rejected spiritual hierarchy.


1. No one comes to the living truth except through the way of his nothingness: Mysticism at the Margins of Christendom
2. I will choose what they ridicule: The Theme of Suffering in Martin Luther's First Theological Protests
3. To where should he who hopes in God come, unless into his own nothingness?: Mystical Concepts, Transformed Perception, and the Wittenberg Call to the Cross up to 1522
4. Bring about...that I may become to myself like a bitter boil: Self-Accusation and Sinking into the Divine Will in Karlstadt's Pamphlets, 1522-24
5. The Bitter Side of Faith: Suffering and Thomas Muntzer's Critique of the Wittenberg Solas, 1517-24
6. The Cross and the Impossibility of Faith: Suffering and Right Action in a Troubled World, 1524-25


Vincent Evener is Associate Professor of Reformation and Luther Studies at United Lutheran Seminary. He is the co-editor of Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe, and the author of numerous articles and book chapters on Reformation history, theology, and spirituality.