Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Short Life of Martin Luther

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Short Life of Martin Luther

Article excerpt

BRIEF NOTICE Kaufmann, Thomas. A Short Life of Martin Luther. Translated by Peter D. S. Krey and James D. Bratt. [Reformation Resources, 1517-2017.] (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2016. Pp. xi, 146. $18.00 paperback. ISBN 978-0-8028-7153.)

This brief introduction to Luther's life and thought is a translation of Kaufmann's Martin Luther, published in German in 2006 and now in its fifth edition. In just over 100 pages, Kaufmann manages to cover in surprising depth Luther's biography, theology, self-understanding, and subsequent influence on history. While some details and nuance are lost in this truncated genre, Kaufmann presents both a coherent picture of Luther and a thoughtful consideration of the ways in which he remains enigmatic.

The first two chapters focus on the varied history of Luther interpretation and Luther's life and times, respectively. The third chapter, the longest by far, covers his theological endeavors. Kaufmann frames Luther's theology not in loci, but instead within his context and vocations: his biblical translation and publishing, his work as a professor and a preacher, his worldview and concerns, his roles as father and citizen, and his views of the church. …

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