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Luther loves music

“Indeed I plainly judge, and do not hesitate to affirm, that except for theology there is no art that could be put on the same level with music, since except for theology, music alone produces what otherwise only theology can do, namely, a calm and joyful soul.”

~ Martin Luther (LW 49, 428.)


  1. Yes, but what type of music?

    Barth we can liken to Mozart for a number of obvious reasons, but there are some we might more easily liken to Slayer.

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  2. roger flyer wrote:


    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  3. roger flyer wrote:

    Mary says: Another round of micro-brews and we shall discuss music…after we discuss the joy of sex and indulgences…

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  4. roger flyer wrote:

    Oh Roger: Edit thyself. Marty (Luther, not Mary. Though it might be interesting to consider what Mary says.

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  5. Gene McCarraher wrote:

    Only music or theology can produce a “calm and joyful soul”? Not poetry? Or painting? Or dance?

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  6. Theophilus wrote:

    Of course not. The music we hear is the manifestation in sound of the God-ordained principles that govern the universe, as expressed in the movement of the planets and the proportions of the human body, and being so fundamental, musical sounds move the body’s animal spirits so as to achieve a right balance of the four humors. Poetry or painting, except insomuch as they are about God, do not have such a sublime subject.

    (I’m currently taking a course on German Baroque music and the influence of Lutheran theology on it.)

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  7. Deve wrote:

    clearly you have never finger painted a sunset while dancing nude in cadence with the poetry of Robert Service…

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  8. DEVE!

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  9. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    Ah, this all gets me thinking of Bach and Schutz and Hindemith’s “The Harmony of the World” inspired by the works of Kepler. It seems that music as an art could be considered an extension of a teleological argument in some of the German composers, more the Lutheran ones than others, perhaps, but even in a Catholic like Haydn the idea seems at least dormant in the work.

    Monday, March 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

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