Updated 12/23/10 (10:00 PM)
This is a continuation of my discussion with Scott Windsor on Luther and the immaculate conception. As stated previously, whether Luther did or did not hold to a lifelong belief in the immaculate conception really doesn't matter to me. Rather, this exercise is a demonstration of the method of historical inquires. How does one approach history? How are sources utilized, cited, and interpreted? Roman Catholics and Protestants both appeal to the testimony of history, yet often arrive at different conclusions. With Luther's Mariology, it's often the case that the image of Luther created by both Protestants and Roman Catholics after such an historical inquiry is ... quite different! Why is that? I think one of the reasons has to do with research methods.
II. Sources Revisited
Previously I documented the sources Mr. Windsor used for his historical inquiry into this matter. It appears initially that I was one his primary sources. That is, Mr. Windsor used the evidence from my blog entries and papers to form his historical conclusions. I've pointed out to Scott that typically those from his perspective don't actually read Luther in context. Scott considers such a comment as condescending. He says for this current discussion on Luther and the immaculate conception, he's read Luther in context.
Well has he? Has he read Luther's sermons on the quotes in question? They aren't long. Has he read Luther's 1527 sermon on the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God? Has he read The Explanation of the 95 Theses from LW 31? Has he read the Defense and explanation of all the Articles from LW 32? Did he read Luther's short sermon from 1538 which he cited as "Martin Luther, D.Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Abteilung Werke 45:51 quoted in Martin Luther, What Luther Says, Vol. I, 152"? Did he read LW 7?
These are documents he cited in his response to me. Did he actually read any of them? Or, Did he simply rely on what I posted? How does Mr. Windsor know if I cited Luther correctly? How does he know the next line in any of these sources doesn't say, "I Martin Luther will believe in the Immaculate Conception till the day I die"? It appears to me, Mr. Windsor hasn't actually read any of these documents. I can understand not reading the entire contexts from LW 31 and 32, but Luther's sermons are short reads, and typically play a crucial role in determining one's view on this issue. If Scott hasn't read any of the sermons, he hasn't read the contexts.
Mr. Windsor states:
One frustration I have had with James in the IC series is that he has, more than once, referred to "online sources" but does not provide a link, as if he wants me to "work" at it. This could, however, be perceived as him not wishing to share these sources because perhaps I (or others) will find things in these sources which may not be in James' favor and he's deliberately not sharing sources for that reason. Whatever the reason - I've found sufficient sources and cited them as I go.
I've been in countless discussions with people disagreeing with me or challenging me that want me to do all the grunt work for them of looking up sources and extracting quotes. My blog has two search engines, and each will provide a lot of the material in question. My Reformation research / hobby goes beyond the Internet. I purchase sources when I need to. If someone wants to challenge me, they shouldn't expect me to hand over the materials I've paid for so they can be used to challenge my position. They should simply go buy them, read them, then challenge my position. I simply refuse to do work for someone else.
As to not wanting to share sources so as not to have information exposed that will deliberately contradict my opinions, nonsense. I look forward to any quotes from Luther or the Reformers Roman Catholics can pull out from his writings. But, as is often the case, those from Scott's perspective don't read Luther in context. Or, Luther is only read if a web page is available. That's not the way I do things. In fact, I typically buy more Roman Catholic books than Protestant. If I'm going to challenge some aspect of Romanism, I invest time and money.
My only real complaint would be when you mention something and don't quote or cite the source (like Luther removing from later documents - that was a vague reference which did not show us the same document minus IC references in later publications). If you're going to make claims, all I ask is that they be validly documented claims; undocumented assertions may be (and typically will be) dismissed.
As to my "vague reference" about Luther removing the ending of the 1527 sermon, I'm sure I've already recently linked Scott to my extensive blog article on this. If he's chosen not to read it, that's not my problem. He also now has Grisar's Luther IV, and he mentions the same thing, providing a reference for Scott to look up. In fact, on Scott's recent entry he states: "This quote actually comes from a sermon preached by Luther ("On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527) and was published with his permission, but prior to the end of his life it is not found in published editions of his works." I took Grisar's reference, and looked it up. He was right. I then read Luther's revised sermon, it wasn't there and had the ending re-written where the IC quote in question would've been.
Scott also points out that it is my responsibility to document my assertions. Which ones? Scott needs to let me know which of my assertions lack documentation. Recently I cited LW 58 and LW 7, and I also provided links to other entries in which I tediously document certain things. In a recent comment response Mr. Windsor, I cited a lengthy excerpt from LW 7. If he thinks I've taken Luther out of context, I would say, it's his responsibility to track down LW 7. How much more does Scott want? Am I supposed to send him the entirety of these treatises so he can evaluate them? I don't recall any Roman Catholic ever sending me a primary source so I could formulate a response to them.
I would like Mr. Windsor to explain to me exactly how he's conducting his research on this. I can explain how I've done mine: I've sought out the primary sources, read them, and formulated my view. It appears to me Scott is avoiding the work of reading Luther in context. Why? I can only speculate. It could be he's too busy to track down Luther's sermons. It could be he doesn't want to purchase the sources when they're not available on-line.
Mr. Windsor has been doing apologetics for a long time. If I'm correct, and he hasn't actually read Luther in context by consulting the primary sources, why should we assume he reads the church fathers in context? Why should we assume his articles on say, Augustine, are the result of actually reading Augustine?
Mr Windsor and I appear to "do" history very differently. I allow a historical figure to simply say everything he said, wherever it leads, by actually looking up the contexts and reading them. This interaction with Mr. Windsor shows once again that Roman Catholics do not really go deep into history.
Scott Windsor provided some responses to the thrust of this blog entry. Scott states:
The fact of the matter is though that your initial challenge to me on this subject was indeed that you believed Luther did NOT hold to a lifelong belief in the IC. You're changing your tune and moving the focus from a discussion of Luther to an attack on methodology. This second topic may be of interest to you, but it is not what you initially challenged me with. As for the initial challenge, it has been quite sufficiently answered.
No, I haven't changed any tunes. In my initial response to Scott Windsor I began by looking at the sources he utilized. I do this with many of my Luther-related blog posts. I want to know why Mr. Windsor arrived at the position he did. I arrived at my position by reading the quotes in question in context and doing some historical background studies. Scott appears to have simply read the quotes I cited and determined an interpretive way of making them say what he wanted them to, based on a section of a sermon Luther deleted and then revised.
Responding to my comment, "It appears initially that I was one his primary sources" Scott states:
I do not consider your work to be a "primary source" - however you do have many "primary sources" within your work. If I quote from your research I cite the actual primary source AND credit you for the work provided - linking back to where the quote came from. Does this displease you?
As for the rest of your challenges here, I'm not interested in getting into a testosterone battle with you and try to show who's library is bigger or who's spent more money buying the other's primary sources. In this discussion alone I purchased one of Grisar's volumes - I'm not afraid to spend a little myself, but why does this really matter in the long run? The more important aspect here is the BOTTOM LINE and that is that the TRUTH BE KNOWN. As for me, I don't care if you have purchased every volume there is on Luther - or if the Luther Fairy descended upon you and bestowed upon you all the resources you'll ever need. What does it REALLY matter if someone has paid for a primary source or if he's found it online for free? Does that change the validity of the primary source? You should move from this "me vs. you" approach and simply go for what is TRUTH. This goes for the condescending comment too, maybe you're not even aware of how condescending you are. You seem to be constantly puffing up yourself and your work and your library that you've spent money on... I've tried very hard NOT to make this about you or me, but about what LUTHER said. On the other hand, you are constantly trying to make this about me and/or my methods as if "to heck with the truth" - if you can make your OPPONENT appear to be lacking then you somehow "win" something, but truth may or may not "win" at all.
1. The content of Scott's remarks aside, such a comment speaks volumes about the difficulty of written discourse. I read such statements as slightly hostile or agitated. Scott reads some of my comments as condescending or insulting. The simple fact of the matter is however wonderful some may think written dialogs are, this is one of their weaknesses. I think if Scott and I were to discuss the content of this blog post at the local coffee shop, the result would be quite different.
2. From Scott's statement above, I think it's fair to conclude he hasn't read any of the contexts of the statements from Luther in question. I can't stress enough how important it is to read Luther's entire sermon when formulating an opinion. Basing one's opinion merely on a paragraph or a line or two from a sermon isn't a proper way to do historical studies. In a future response to Scott, I'll be going more into the contexts of some of the quotes in question. I wish Scott would join me in this aspect of research and discussion, but it appears it's a one way street. I do the work, then Scott comments on my findings.
3. Scott thinks that I believe a free resource on-line isn't as good as buying a book. I never said this. My point is that certain sources are not available on the Internet. When formulating one's view on a historical subject, it is necessary to do what's needed to strive for accuracy. If this means buying a book that's not yet free on the Internet, that's part of striving for truth.
4. Scott appears to be describing his research method as determining truth without context and primary sources. That is, complete contexts and primary sources aren't necessary for determining historical truth. If that's the case, then I say he's wrong on Luther and I'm right. Who cares what the contexts say?
Scott also states:
Back to James, he claims to have read later copies of this sermon which have the part which explicitly mentions the IC removed, but he does not quote us that sermon nor does he cite a source of that sermon or provide a link to that alleged version of the sermon. I'm not saying it doesn't exist and/or that James is making this up - but such an unsupported statement coming from me would be utterly rejected, and thus the objective reader here must also reject James' unscholarly approach here. He claims he doesn't want to do all my work for me - but HE is the one who asserts the existence of this later publication of the sermon so it is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to adequately and validly document his claim or withdraw it from consideration. He should not expect us to do his homework for him. (And yes, I do not diminish the fact that he has already done a lot of work here - but in regard to THIS assertion his work, thus far, is deficient).
I'm trying to be a charitable as possible over this. I did indeed provide Scott with a link to this material in my initial response to him. I also provided the same link for him in this blog entry. I also provided the same link on his blog in his comment box. I think I also left him the same link on another one of my blog entries. I'm not posting it any more for him. It appears he's not reading my entries carefully.