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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pieper & Walther on... Luther's tautologies (Part 4)

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for previous portions.
Now Pieper and Walther turn to Luther's repetitiveness:
Some have complained about "tautologies" in Luthers writings.  Yes, Luther himself says repeatedly and in different, even crude expressions that he believes himself too voluble.  Walther cites in his essay concerning Luthers "tautologies" the following words of Rambach: "It is true, when Luther arrived at an important point, he cannot content himself with the fact that he presents the same again, but he cares more often to repeat and inculcate one after the other. But just in this his mastery insists that he knows how to express the same things always with other words, so that one can hold his repetitions by no means for empty and superfluous tautologies, but rather they must be compared to the often repeated blows of a hammer, thereby the nail is driven deeper into the wall.”  Walther himself says in his paper:  “The supposed tautologies [of Luther] are deliberate means to make the truth clear to the reader and to drive right into the heart.”
In the last blog (Part 3), the analogies were to big axes and sharp saws... this time to hammer blows.  All these tools were spiritual tools to build and defend Christian faith.

These blog posts are in a sense "repetitiveness" in the sense that I am repeating what Pieper repeated from Walther... why?  Because the subject is so important.

Pieper and Walther go on to praise Luther's letters saying:
More beautiful letters have not been written.
But then the subject of "misuse" of quotations from Luther comes up -- see Part 5 next.

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