For nearly thirty years, James M. Kittelson’s Luther the Reformer has been the standard biography of Martin Luther. Like Roland Bainton’s biography of the generation before, Kittelson’s volume is the one known by thousands of students, pastors, and interested readers as the biography that gave them the details of this dramatic man and his history. The accolades were well deserved. Fair, insightful, and detailed without being overwhelming, Kittelson was able to negotiate a “middle way” between the many directions of historical research and present a more complete chronological picture of Luther than many had yet portrayed. For this revised edition, Hans H. Wiersma has made an outstanding text even better. The research is updated, and the text is revised throughout, with an emphasis on retaining the tone and pace of the original. Additionally, the volume has an entirely new map and image program, updated bibliographies, improved timelines, and other features to enhance the reading experience. It’s a great volume, greatly improved.
On the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, this book attempts to appropriate, situate, and to some degree reinterpret Luther‘s five principles-sola gratia, sola fides, sola Scriptura, solus Christus, and ecclesia semper reformanda - which come to mean that God must always come first. It also attempts to consider how grace reaches out to freedom, faith to reason, Scripture to church tradition, Christ to ministry, church to mediation. God‘s being and action always come first, yet God‘s first gift, creation, and the mediations that derive from it are not undone or rendered irrelevant.
Afresh account of the life of Martin Luther"
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.
No story has been more foundational to triumphalist accounts of Western modernity than that of Martin Luther, the heroic individual, standing before the tribunes of medieval authoritarianism to proclaim his religious and intellectual freedom, "Here I stand!" How Luther Became the Reformer returns to the birthplace of this origin myth, Germany in the late nineteenth century, and traces its development from the end of World War I through the rise of National Socialism. Why were German intellectuals--especially Protestant scholars of religion, culture, and theology--in this turbulent period so committed to this version of Luther's story? Luther was touted as the mythological figure to promote the cultural unity of Germany as a modern nation; in the myth's many retellings, from the time of the Weimar Republic forward, Luther attained world-historical status. Helmer finds in this construction of Luther the Reformer a lens through which to examine modernity's deformations, among them anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Catholicism. Offering a new interpretation of Luther, and by extension of modernity itself, from an ecumenical perspective, How Luther Became the Reformer provides resources for understanding and contesting contemporary assaults on democracy. In this way, the book holds the promise for resistance and hope in dark times.