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Abstract of my Dissertation: Sword of the Spirit, Sword of Iron

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My dissertation is now available on Scholardarity at a 75% discount, that is, for $9.99 here.

Should you wish to purchase a copy of my dissertation from UMI Publishers, call (800-521-0600 x7044) for (UMI no. 3007735). An electronic or hard copy costs $38. (as of Dec. 3,2013) I myself have some large hardbound copies that I am selling for $35 plus postage and handling. If you leave a comment, I can get your e-mail address and we can work from there.

My dissertation, Sword of the Spirit, Sword of Iron, which has 422 pages, includes a handbook study-guide for Luther’s most often published pamphlets 1520-1525 and then argues that Luther did not only face a legalistic ethos, but two ecclesiastical court systems wielding the canon law. When Luther burned the canon law on Dec. 10, 1520, a legal revolution took place as part of the Reformation, the gravity of which is little studied. Today there is an analogy with Islam in some countries, where religious figures still wield power over secular rulers by means of the Sharia. The relationship of church legislation and proclamation of Luther’s time also needs more study.

In order to acquire a copy of my dissertation from Proquest, call 800-521-0600 x7044 or you can go to Proquest online and order UMI No. 3007735:

The cheapest way is to receive a digital copy is from the 75% off Scholardarity sale above.

The cheapest way from Proquest is to ask for a PDS download, which costs $38.00.

The second cheapest way is to ask them to send you an unbound hard copy: $39.00.

A  soft-bound edition, 6 inch by 9 inch, with 10 point font, costs $56.00 and as the hard bound copy costs $72.00. These were the prices December 3, 2013.

A micro-fiche edition can be acquired. The price was $43.00 in 2008. Now it must be higher.

Now it comes in the larger 8 1/2″ x 11″ size whether soft or hardbound only for the author.

PETER D. S. KREY, M.Div., Ph.D.





This dissertation is a pamphlet study dealing with Martin Luther’s ideology and theology of the Word. It studies Luther as a pamphlet writer, whose popular sermon pamphlets addressed the laity with affective, performative language. His “preaching in print” greatly extended the scope of his spontaneous reforming movement.

As a self-representation of Luther, this study is a prerequisite for his reception. By number of editions and language, this study ranks the popularity of almost 70 of Luther’s publications from 1517-1525.

This dissertation contains two parts, a handbook on his pamphlets and a thematic section containing the argument. Part One, containing detailed bibliographical research for 32 of these pamphlets, and for his longer works, Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and for Bondage of the Will, is a helpful handbook for their future study.

Part Two, the thematic section, deals with the interrelationship of the four themes from the title: Word of God, Scripture, Gospel, and Law, tracing these themes through the thirty most often published pamphlets. Four pamphlets from the year 1520 receive systematic analysis: “Sermon on the Ban,” i.e., about excommunication; On Good Works, and their spontaneity; “The New Testament, i.e., the Holy Mass;” and “Freedom of a Christian Person,” the popular version, which is mostly unknown among English readers.

I argue that Luther carved out an inward realm of Christian freedom that promoted a sense of self and a sense of social agency which stressed spontaneity and freedom against what Luther perceived to be a juridical ethos of the church of his day. [Let alone a juridical ethos, I discovered that he was up against two ecclesiastical courts under the canon law.]

Because of the ideological nature of propaganda pamphlets, this ethos could not be connected with the old archdeaconal and episcopal courts, the temporal jurisdiction of prince-bishops, and papal legislation being challenged by temporal authorities. But, surprisingly, since Luther’s term “spiritual law” meant “canon law,” his hostility can be seen to escalate through these pamphlets until he publicly burns the canon law on December 10th, 1520. He felt it excluded the laity from the spiritual estate, making them feel as if they were not even Christians. His pamphlets called for communion in both kinds, demanding an inclusive Christian estate for the priesthood of all believers. The central concern of this dissertation, however, is not the polemics of these pamphlets, but Luther’s awe-inspiring religious contribution.


Dissertation Coordinator: Prof. Christopher Ocker


Written by peterkrey

December 26, 2007 at 6:18 pm

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