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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Luther and the West by Northwestern University

66 ratings
18 reviews

About the Course

In this course we will discuss the history of some ideas that have been hugely influential in the modern west and that were taken out to the rest of the world. The discussion centers on an extraordinary and historically important figure, a sixteenth century German man named Martin Luther. Luther is recognized today as the originator of many of the most significant ideas that continue to affect and shape who we as modern people are and how we see the world and ourselves for better and for worse. In the first section, we will explore why Luther thought the Bible was the most important volume for everyone to have and read. Included here will be a careful consideration of Luther's anti-Judaism, which contributed to western antisemitism and some of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century. In the second section, we will talk about the idea of freedom and how Luther's understanding of freedom in Christ affected the way modern thinkers understood what it means to be human in community. Important in this section is the consequential contradiction between freedom and slavery in western thought and their co-existence in western societies. The third section will be all about the many complicated relations between religion and politics. NOTE: Students wishing to sign up for free access to all instructional course content should click on the "Sign-In" button in the upper right hand corner. Those who wish to take the course and complete a certificate that requires payment, please click the Enroll button on the left side of this page....

Top reviews


Nov 03, 2017

This is a well-planned course that I learned a whole lot from. I was curious about Luther and church history to begin with, and this course satisfied that curiosity.


Mar 27, 2017

I really enjoyed the course, and think it is very well thought out and paced. I appreciate the access to additional reading materials.

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1 - 18 of 18 Reviews for Luther and the West

By Robert H

Jun 16, 2017

I was puzzled by the course at first: the 4-minute lectures, one question quizzes, and initial focus on Nazi use of Luther's antisemitism. But I soon caught the drift of the course's peripateticism: the various historical and doctrinal issues, links to Spinoza, Kant and King, the terrific Luther readings (now I see why the nuns in grammar school warned us against reading anything by Martin Luther) and the many excellent encyclopedia entries (skimmed)--all put Luther and the Reformation in historical and contemporary context. Good job. The 3 paragraph essay was also an excellent teaching device. You asked, 'Do you understand Luther's concept of freedom?' and I had to admit I was befuddled. So the essay and grading others' was spot on. Thanks. Bob Huberty (I met you at the CUNY conference. I was with David Lott, formerly of Fortress Press.)

By Ying X

Mar 27, 2017

very packed course....full of very dense information in the reading....the reading load is very heavy, especially for the first two's more like two months...... but the assignment is very moderate.....just one....


Jan 25, 2017

Fun and interesting course. I was exposed to info all new to me. Thanks.

By Julian M

Jul 26, 2017

I loved this class. I learned a lot, became a better person, and have cited it a couple times in other classes.

By Rafael M

May 27, 2017

The course is not only amazing, but also interesting, because of the matters it treats and the things it brings along.

By Tona M

Mar 20, 2018

This course is well organized and thought-provoking, with very short lectures (around 4 min. or so) and lots of supporting materials, much of them Luther's own writings! Dr. Helmer's analysis of Martin Luther in his own time and cultural context would be reason enough to take her course. What follows, from Melanchthon to Kant to Martin Luther King, Jr. and beyond brings the echoes of the hammer blows to the Wittenberg door into sharp focus as they resound today. Anyone who lives in the " Western World" should take this course as a foundation for considering religion, race relations, civil rights, political realities or philosophical constructs active today.

By Joy S

Nov 14, 2016

Very interesting class. Very well presented. Enjoyed it and got good information.

By Anne H

Sep 01, 2017

Quick, useful overview, even if you've read about this time in history before. The peer-graded writing assignment also helped me articulate what I learned from this course. Highly recommended for anyone, especially those living in the Western world.

By Hank S

Nov 03, 2017

This is a well-planned course that I learned a whole lot from. I was curious about Luther and church history to begin with, and this course satisfied that curiosity.

By Paula P E

Jul 05, 2017

This is an excellent course. Not only it is a very clear and complete introduction to Luther and his times, but also includes a couple of units on the reception of his thought, both in I. Kant and M. Luther King. I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Helmer's lessons and learnt a lot from them.

By William M

Aug 16, 2017

Very good and well-presented introduction to the works of Luther and to his impact.

By Vladislav L

Dec 22, 2016

Christine Helmer's classes opened me a whole new, rich and very useful world of Martin Luther. Great course. Thank you!

By Greg M

Mar 27, 2017

I really enjoyed the course, and think it is very well thought out and paced. I appreciate the access to additional reading materials.

By Linda H

Aug 13, 2019

An excellent course!

By Olaf D

Apr 01, 2017

I think this was a very interesting and informative course, although the lessons could have been a little bit longer! I do recommend this course strongly

By Vannan R

May 22, 2018

With looking up the different topics on YouTube, I found this class a great overview and basics. Very straight forward basic class touching the basics.

By Yolanda C L G

Dec 25, 2016

Se le da demasiado crédito a Lutero, quien si en algo sobresalió fue en su arrogancia, orgullo y terquedad. ¿Que en la Iglesia Católica había excesos? Sí, igual que los había en el tiempo de San Francisco de Asís, pero el Pobrecillo reforzó la unidad cristiana. Lutero en cambio provocó un cisma, contrariando así el deseo de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo de que todos seamos uno.

By Jp C

Nov 09, 2016

This course was not overly interesting, it felt more like listening to someone wanting to paint everything with a socialist brush. I had better things to do. This has not been a class where I learned much. Its structure of super short videos (~4mins) with easy "tests" was neither challenging nor useful to confirm the value of the content, in fact a number of tests quiz you on material not yet covered (usually in the next unit). Not the best class there is.