Skip to main content

Nemo iudex in causa sua as the Basis of Law, Justice, and Justification in Luther's Thought

  • Piotr J. Malysz (a1)

In the wake of the investiture struggle and against the background of burgeoning humanist thought, Martin Luther's affirmation of the secular realm as a discrete area of divine activity may be lauded as a judicious recovery of the thought of Augustine and perhaps of Gelasius I. In light of subsequent developments in sociopolitical theory, however, this progressive aspect of the reformer's thought appears to be immediately undercut by its seemingly unbending social conservatism. Instituted by God (Rom 13; 1 Pet 2:13–14), the “law of [the] temporal sword has existed from the beginning of the world,” Luther writes. And while he asserts that “God cannot and will not permit anyone but himself to rule over the soul,” he does, nevertheless, forbid Christians to resort to violence to defend their cause: “For the governing authority must not be resisted by force, but only by confession of the truth. If it is influenced by this, well and good; if not, you are excused, you suffer wrong for God's sake.”

Hide All
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Harvard Theological Review
  • ISSN: 0017-8160
  • EISSN: 1475-4517
  • URL: /core/journals/harvard-theological-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 123 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.