Luther on History as Example

“The renowned Roman Varro says that the very best way to teach is to add an example or illustration to the word, for they help one both to understand more clearly and to remember more easily.  Otherwise, if the discourse is heard without an example, no matter how suitable and excellent it may be, it does not move the heart so much, and is also not so clear and easily retained.  Histories are, therefore, a very precious thing.  For what the philosophers, wise men, and all men of reason can teach or devise which can be useful for an honorable life, that the histories present powerfully with examples and happenings making them visually so real, as though one were there and saw everything happen that the word had previously conveyed to the ears by mere teaching.” Martin Luther, “Preface to Galeatius Capella’s History,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 34, p. 275.


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