Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career

Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career

Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career

Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career

Synopsis

Engaging and authoritative, Kittleson's important and popular biography is here represented with a new cover and new preface by the author. His single-volume biography has become a standard resource for those who wish to delve into the depths of the Reformer without drowning in a sea of scholarly concerns.

Excerpt

“In most big libraries, books by and about Martin Luther occupy more shelf room than those concerned with any other human being except Jesus of Nazareth.” These words appeared in print in 1982, one year before the 500th anniversary of Luther's birth. The year 1983 then brought with it an additional avalanche of exhibitions, commemorations, lectures, festivals, articles, and still more new books. In the self-consciously Marxist state of the German Democratic Republic, the observation of Luther's birth even overwhelmed the 100th anniversary celebration of Karl Marx's death. Such is the enduring importance of Luther the reformer.

This extraordinary interest in an extraordinary man reaches back almost half a millennium. Even in his own time, Luther was a “media personality,” the first such in three thousand years of western history. “We have become a spectacle,” he once remarked of himself and his colleagues. He and his followers have been termed “obedient rebels.” Others called him a seven-headed devil. At least one of his closest colleagues insisted that he was a prophet—perhaps even Elijah—sent by God himself. He was a subject of controversy then just as he is now.

People still find themselves taking sides on the question of Luther. No matter what he himself really said or did, the sheer bulk of his writings (more than 100 quarto volumes in its modern edition) contains plenty of grist for everyone's mill. Consequently a bewildering variety . . .

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