Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 7, “Society and Politics in the German Reformation” pp. 245-289. Part 2, “Lutheran Social Philosophy” pp. 260-272.
What was the social outlook of the Lutheran Reformation? Ozment discusses a debate between Wilhelm Dilthey and Ernst Troeltsch “over whether the Reformation was still medieval in outlook or anticipated basic values of the modern world” (Ozment 1980, 260). Dilthey saw the Reformation as analogous to the Renaissance. Dilthey was followed by Max Weber, who identified a Protestant ethic, moving culture into modernity (Ozment 1980, 261). Troeltsch, on the other hand, viewed the conservative reforms of Luther as a nod to Medieval Christianity. Nevertheless, Troeltsch sees modernity in some cultural changes, such as a rejection of monasticism, changes in legal structure, and the priesthood of all believers (Ozment 1980, 263). Troeltsch and other modern philosophers have rejected Luther because of his view that we do well to hold to tradition. “Luther has not been treated with complete fairness on this issue, in large part because the historical context of his social philosophy has been ignored. Caution was the order of the day in the first decade of the Reformation” (Ozment 1980, 264) due to the hesitancy of political leaders to accept changes. Ozment illustrates this by citing the retention of the Mass in Wittenberg until 1525, three years after the successful Reformation there (Ozment 1980, 264). This care in making changes is typical to a Protestant view of duty to society (Ozment 1980, 265). Luther, however, “rejected the subjection of secular society to the standards of ideal Christian behavior” (Ozment 1980, 266. The culture as a whole was not the same as the church. Ozment points out the fact that Luther was concerned that the Church should influence society, but said that pastors and magistrates had fundamental differences in their roles (Ozment 1980, 268).