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 6, “The Mental World of Martin Luther” pp. 223-244. Part 3, “Luther and Mysticism” pp. 239-244.
Ozment turns his attention briefly to the question of whether mysticism was a substantial source of Luther’s theology. “During the important formative years 1516-18, he had only the highest praise for the German mystical tradition” (Ozment 1980, 239). He especially complimented the sermons and the theological writings of Johannes Tauler. “There is no question that Luther had a genuine and well-informed interest in both German and Latin mysticism. But those features that most attracted him, while prominent in mystical writings, were not distinctively mystical at all, and peculiarly mystical teachings actually elicited his consistent criticism” (Ozment 1980, 239). The mystical idea of soul power and enthusiasm was rejected, but the ideas of “passivity, suffering, and self-denial” (Ozment 1980, 240) were central to his understanding of Scripture. “Despite his high praise for the German mystics, Luther consistently showed no noteworthy interest in either their speculation on man’s divine powers or their view of man’s union with God as a deification” (Ozment 1980, 241). For Luther, the “basic question was not whether one was inwardly and outwardly righteous, but whether God was truthful in his judgment of human nature and destiny” (Ozment 1980, 243). This question combines internal and external questions, leaving one free to consider both the subjective life of faith and the objective acts of God.