I recently asked for help to find the origins of this quote.  I asked copilot and claude.ai.  Here is the result of claude.ai.

Prompt given:

Can you find the original source of this statement by Luther: Luther described printing as: "God’s highest and extremist act of grace, whereby the business of the Gospel is driven forward"


Unfortunately, I could not find the original source document or text where Martin Luther made that exact statement describing printing as "God's highest and extremest act of grace, whereby the business of the Gospel is driven forward."

This quote is widely attributed to Luther and appears in many secondary sources discussing his views on printing and its role in spreading the Protestant Reformation. However, the earliest primary source I could trace it back to is a 1920 book titled "Luther and the Reformation" by Joseph Stump, where he cites it as a paraphrased translation of Luther's thoughts rather than a verbatim quote.

Many scholars believe Luther did view the advent of the printing press very favorably and as a means to widely disseminate his writings and biblical translations to further the Protestant cause. But the precise wording of that quote does not seem to come from any of Luther's own published works or documented speeches that have been preserved.

So in summary, while the sentiment expressed matches Luther's known views, I could not verify the original source text containing that specific quote after searching his major works and writings compiled over his lifetime. It appears to be a paraphrased distillation of his perspectives rather than his exact words.

Last modified: Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 12:54 AM