Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Martin Luther a blogger?

The following segment is from a Spiegel interview with the founder of Craiglist, Craig Newmark.
Newmark: You can let people vote. You can give people a voice for saying what they have to say. Blogging technologies give everyone a printing press. There are people who have good opinions and are very eloquent, and who can sometimes have great influence. I understand there was a very good blogger in Germany 500 or 600 years ago called Martin Luther, and he was very influential -- using an earlier version of the Internet.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Church doors?

Newmark: Yes. Some years later, John Locke in Britain spoke out, using blogging in the sense of publishing his own opinion, and helped create and justify the Glorious Revolution in Britain -- which led to a greater distribution of power. The same goes for Thomas Paine in the US later on. The Internet is just fostering that sort of thing today. It's already happening.
Well, Martin Luther was an early self-publisher, yes. And the rise of printing changed (among many other things) the political and religious landscape forever. But to call him a blogger? Is the difference between a pamphlet publisher or a tractarian of a previous era and today's bloggers one of just degree (say, the frequency and ease of publishing) or of kind (for instance, what if Martin Luther really could have blogged?) Hmm.

Well, the Internet is largely value neutral, I'd say. Human nature, it's nobler side, or, its depraved side, will continue to use it, like anything else.

1 comment:

Paul T. McCain said...

I think Martin Luther would have been a fascinating blogger. He did such a bang-up job with his many publications, three of the key ones:

Small Catechism
Large Catechism
Smalcald Articles

Can all be found in the Book of Concord.