"Luther at the Wartburg"



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 49, #1, 1982 - Erwin Weber


Following the verdict at the Diet of Worms in April 1521, which placed Luther not only under the papal ban but also the imperial ban, which made Luther public enemy No. 1, an attack was staged on Luther and he was brought in protective custody to the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach. There he grew a beard and dressed as a knight and changed his name to Junker Jörg (Knight George). Lucas Cranach painted a likeness of him in December 1521, when Luther secretly came to Wittenberg from his stay at the Wartburg Castle.

This article concentrates on Luther's stay at the castle with his description of going on a hunt in the picturesque Thurinigian Forest with its deep ravines, sunlit paths, magnificent trees, colorful birds, wild animals and flowers. Luther loved nature but not the killing of animals. The article also shows Cranach's and Dürer's love of nature in their paintings, sketches and woodcuts. Many are a beautiful blend of the natural, the supernatural and the divine.

During his stay at the Wartburg Castle, Luther wrote numerous letters, religious tracts, and sermons. His major preoccupation was the translation of the New Testament into German and the writing of the "Church Postil" which would give the ministers the homiletical material to expose the Gospel. Thus the common people could be encouraged to read the Gospel by themselves, and the clergy were given the means to their pulpits.

 The cover photograph (by Klaus G. Beyer, Weimar) shows the Wartburg Castle during the winter.