Deux conceptions du rôle des autorités civiles en 1523 : Martin Luther et Martin Bucer

After hearing Martin Luther at the Heidelberg Disputation (1518), Martin Bucer came to be heavily influenced by him and joined the ranks of his followers. Nevertheless, his 1523 programmatic work That No One Should Live for Himself but for Others… is reflective not only of the influence of Luther, but also of accents proper to his own theology. From the “great Reformation works” of 1520—i.e., To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation and On the Freedom of a Christian—Bucer appropriated the notions of lay vocation and works of love of neighbour flowing from salvation by faith. However, contrary to the position Luther outlined in his Temporal Authority (1523), Bucer did not restrict the task of the political authorities to the maintenance of peace, but also gave them the task of “inciting souls to the glory of God.” The two works, both composed in 1523, therefore reveal something of the diversity of the Reformation in its earliest phase, even before the eucharistic controversy had broken out.