Timothy J. Wengert skillfully provides a clear understanding of the historical context from which the treatise The Freedom of a Christian and his accompanying Letter to Pope Leo X arose. As controvery concerning his writings grew, Luther was instructed to write a reconciliation-minded letter to Pope Leo X (1475-1521). To this letter he appended a nonpolemical tract describing the heart of his beliefs, The Freedom of a Christian. Luther’s Latin version added an introduction and a lengthy appendix not found in the German edition. The two editions arose out of the different audiences for them: the one addressed to theologians, clerics, and church leaders (for whom Latin was the common language), and one addressed to the German-speaking public, which included the nobility, townsfolk, many from the lesser clergy, and others who could read (or have Luther’s writings read to them).
This volume is excerpted from The Annotated Luther series, Volume 1. Each volume in the series contains new introductions, annotations, illustrations, and notes to help shed light on Luther’s context and to interpret his writings for today. The translations of Luther’s writings include updates of Luther’s Works, American Edition, or new translations of Luther’s German or Latin writings.