Martin Luther: Faith And Truth

martin-luther Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

‘Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.’

Faith alone..fulfills the Law‘  he wrote, and it is through Faith that Grace descends, the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. [The idea is not original to Luther, nor did he claim it as so. It can be traced back to the days before St. Augustin and St. Paul.]

Protestantism broke from its Mother Tradition in a call to a return to Unknowing. To a life lived in ‘Unmediated Faith‘. A surrender to Divine indulgence, to Unconditional Grace. One long-lost, Dr. Luther charged, by the Roman-Orthodoxy in auctioned ritual and bartered rule.

‘Truth’, in delightful irony is a chameleon of a word. It derives from the Old-English Treiewo, itself from the ProtoGerman Treuwaz. Etymological descendant of the Sanskrit Dre and Dhr [as in Dharma], it originally meant ‘Firm, Immovable’.

Around the 14th Century it began a descent in meaning to Fidelity, to a conformance’ [to the situation] and in time to simply as ‘Faith’. Truth in its deepest meaning had something to do with an ‘Unshook Trust’. [Note Zen’s: ‘Immovable Wisdom’; Aristotle’s: ‘Unmoved Mover’, and so on.]

As late as the 19th Century Academic philosophers were coming up with ‘Theories of Truth’ which by that very fact vitiates its end. The Consistency Theory of Truth; the Coherence Theory of Truth; the Correspondence Theory of Truth and so on. Plato would have gulped.

If you look up modern dictionary definitions you will find explanations in keeping with the times: ‘Actuality, Certainty, Conformance with Facts, Accord with Reality’ and so on although each of these terms [‘Fact’] would itself require a lengthy elaboration.

Martin Luther [1483-1546] and Nicolaus Copernicus [1473-1543] were contemporaries and neighbors. [We’ll, almost. Wittenberg to Frombork is 700 km.] And Luther’s allies from Germany worked to help publish Copernicus ‘very dangerous opus’. It is part of the drama that brought the modern Age of Science to birth.