How Did Luther Criticize Aristotle's Argument Against Scholastic Theology

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Luther, in his Disputation against Scholastic Theology denounces Aristotle’s ethics, claiming that “man cannot become a theologian unless he becomes one without Aristotle” (Luther 172). Luther criticizes Aristotle for teaching that man can become virtuous by doing virtuous acts. To Luther, we may only be made virtuous by the divine grace of god. Luther is highly critical of scholastic theology and the divine synthesis of Aristotle and the Christian faith in scholastic theology (G. Thorne). I will suggest that it is because of the amalgamation of Aristotle in Christian writings, and the corruption of the papacy that Luther writes his doctrine. Luther thinks the belief that there is something Christians can do to get to the divine is so deleterious that it actually prevents Christians from ever reaching God. He insists that humans can not do good things by their own ways, but rather only when we are saved by god. First we must understand the key points of Aristotle’s philosophy that Luther did not agree with. Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, asserts that moral virtue comes as a result of habit. Virtue, as he decides, is one’s state of character concerned with the choices one makes. As Leslie Stevenson puts it, “Aristotle holds that virtue and vice are formed by ‘habituation’; that is, one’s character is a result of one’s past actions, so…show more content…
As Stevenson points out, “the kind of thought attributed to the Aristotelean god is intellectual contemplation, not any sort of care about human affairs” (Stevenson 98). Whereas Luther’s god was a god of love, for each individual Christian. While Aristotle embraces the four classical, or cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice, Luther completely rejects them and advocates solely for grace—the unmerited blessings of God. He writes:

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