One of the most welcome of all the books to have appeared in connection with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's birth is this present volume. Extremely well received in Germany, where it is now in its second edition, Martin Brecht's biography of the young Luther is now offered to the Englishspeaking public. It is intended to take the place of Heinrich Boehmer's biography, originally published in 1925 and translated by John W. Doberstein and Theodore G. Tappert and published by Muhlenberg "Fortress" Press in 1946 under the title of Road to Reformation: Martin Luther to the Year 1521.
This work also takes Luther only to 1521. As the author explains in his preface, he deliberately chose that as a terminus ad quern because a recent work by the late Heinrich Bornkamm begins there. Fortress Press published Bornkamm's Luther in Mid-Career, 1521–1530, translated by E. Theodore Bachmann, in 1983. A German work containing contributions by numerous authors, Leben und Werk Martin Luthers von 1526 bis 1546: Festgabe zu seinem 500. Geburtstag, edited by Helmar Junghans, 2 vols. (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1983), covers the later period of Luthers life. Nevertheless, a thorough, scholarly presentation by one author, written on the basis of the original sources and taking into account the wealth of recent Luther scholarship, is greatly to be desired. This volume is the foretaste of what promises to be such a work; Luther scholars and nonspecialists alike will welcome it and its sequels.
Martin Brecht, born in 1932 in Nagold in the Black Forest, studied theology in Tübingen and Heidelberg from 1952 to 1956. In 1964 he became "Inspector" and in 1970 "Ephorus" of the Evangelisches Stift in Tübingen, Württemberg's premier institution for the training of pastors for its Lutheran Church. In 1965 he joined the Tübingen faculty as privatdozent for church history. Since 1975 he has been professor for Beformation and modern church history on the faculty of Protestant theology at the University of Münster in Westphalia. He has a well-deserved reputation as a leading Luther scholar and a student of the history of Pietism.
For the benefit of the English reader, the translator has supplemented the author's notes by supplying references to the location of English versions of Luther's writings included in Luthers Works, 56 vols. (St. Louis: Concordia