Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death

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Harvard University Press, Jun 1, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 576 pages
6 Reviews

Few figures in history have defined their time as dramatically as Martin Luther. And few books have captured the spirit of such a figure as truly as this robust and eloquent life of Luther. A highly regarded historian and biographer and a gifted novelist and playwright, Richard Marius gives us a dazzling portrait of the German reformer--his inner compulsions, his struggle with himself and his God, the gestation of his theology, his relations with contemporaries, and his responses to opponents. Focusing in particular on the productive years 1516-1525, Marius' detailed account of Luther's writings yields a rich picture of the development of Luther's thought on the great questions that came to define the Reformation.

Marius follows Luther from his birth in Saxony in 1483, during the reign of Frederick III, through his schooling in Erfurt, his flight to an Augustinian monastery and ordination to the outbreak of his revolt against Rome in 1517, the Wittenberg years, his progress to Worms, his exile in the Wartburg, and his triumphant return to Wittenberg. Throughout, Marius pauses to acquaint us with pertinent issues: the question of authority in the church, the theology of penance, the timing of Luther's "Reformation breakthrough," the German peasantry in 1525, Muntzer's revolutionaries, the whys and hows of Luther's attack on Erasmus.

In this personal, occasionally irreverent, always humane reconstruction, Luther emerges as a skeptic who hated skepticism and whose titanic wrestling with the dilemma of the desire for faith and the omnipresence of doubt and fear became an augury for the development of the modern religious consciousness of the West. In all of this, he also represents tragedy, with the goodness of his works overmatched by their calamitous effects on religion and society.

 

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Review: Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death

User Review  - Marc - Goodreads

I was disappointed in this book, mostly because I was looking for a biography focused on Luther, the man and his times, and this was more a philosophical discussion of Luther's theology as it related ... Read full review

Review: Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death

User Review  - Keith Bowerman - Goodreads

Enjoyable mostly for the small but tangible undercurrent of disdain for the books own subject. Read full review

Contents

1 Luthers Europe
1
2 The Early Years
19
3 The Flight to the Monastery
43
4 Years of Silence
55
5 Rome and Wittenberg
79
6 The Lectures on the Psalms
88
7 The Lectures on Romans Galatians and Hebrews
105
8 The Controversy Over Indulgences
128
17 Exile in Patmos
299
18 Back to Wittenberg
317
19 Tribulation
336
20 The September Testament
347
21 The Authority of Princes
364
22 On the Jews
372
23 Worship and Ethics
381
24 Opposition and Divisions
393

9 Preparing for Battle
148
10 Beyond Heidelberg
156
11 The Leipzig Debate
168
12 The Discovery of the Gospel
190
13 The Plunge Into the Unknown
219
14 The Breaking Point
245
15 The Freedom of a Christian
265
16 The Progress to Worms
275
25 The Peasants Rebellion
414
26 Marriage
436
27 The Attack on Erasmus
442
28 Epilogue
469
Notes
489
index
533
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About the author (2009)

Richard Marius was a historian, novelist, playwright, and a member of the Harvard faculty.

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