Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography
“Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography offers a new and fascinating approach to Luthers life. In this book, political and theological contexts are paid attention to, but priority is given to the story of Luthers religious life, from childhood to old age. The account is based on an extensive use of primary sourcesnot least Luthers letters and Table Talkand the reformers own words are frequently quoted. At the same time, the interpretation of Luthers texts is closely related to specific places and concrete situations in his life. In this way, the reader is brought closer to Luthers person than what is often the case in other biographies.”See All
professor of general church history and research director, University of Oslo; editor, Teologisk Tidsskrift
“This richly illustrated and succinctly written book, based on anything but superficial knowledge, is very much a life of Luther for everyone. While announcing itself as a spiritual biography, it actually presents Luther in body and soul in his day-to-day contexts. Selderhuis catches very well Luther as a reformer stumbling daily from one unconcealed existential crisis to another, often beset with spiritual, mental, religious, family, political, physical, and personality problems. Here we have the real Lutherpotent prophet of God, astonishing theologian, prolific writer, and phenomenal communicator indeed, but also a flawed genius whose attributes included buffoonery, vulgarity, vindictiveness, and downright rudeness. While many have viewed the reformer as a Hercules of the faith and the thirteenth apostle, this book reminds us that Luther was also no saint and that he had no pretensions to be one.”See All
W. Ian P. Hazlett
honorary professorial research fellow, University of Glasgow; editor in chief, Reformation and Renaissance Review; author, The Reformation in Britain and Ireland; coauthor, A Useable Past
“What makes this Luther biography distinct is its explicit attention to Martin Luthers spiritual journey as a sixteenth-century person haunted by his demons and driven by his passions, and the way it presents Luthers own voice and reflection throughout, paired with a restrained but poignant analysis that invites the reader to dig deeper. Luther is introduced as a problem in his church context with evolving roles in which he is shaped by his relationships. He is assessed as a unique phenomenon on the one hand, while as a flesh-and-blood human being with a temperament, strong emotions, and tragic ailments on the other. Selderhuiss clearly written and immediately engaging narrative, with wit, offers an abundance of detail and apparatus for the reader to understand one of the most fascinating personalities in Christian history and the complexities of his Reformation hermeneutics.”See All
First Lutheran, Los Angeles / Southwest Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary; author, Women and the Reformation
“Among the many new biographies of Martin Luther, this one stands out for its fresh engagement with Luthers own assessment of his life and work. Well researched and engagingly presented.”See All
founding dean, Beeson Divinity School; general editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
“There have been more books written about Martin Luther than any other figure in the last millennium of church history. With such a Luther-glutted market, what more could possibly be said about him? Well, this latest volume from the hand of the gifted Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis does indeed give us a fresh perspective on the German reformer. With his own translations of Luthers writings and his comprehensive knowledge of Luthers world, both theological and social, this new biography is both deeply instructive about the things that mattered most to Luther and a delight to read. This is how biography should be written!”See All
Michael A. G. Haykin
professor of church history and biblical spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The complexity of Luther is staggering, but Herman Selderhuis has given us a detailed portrait of the reformer that captures both his blemishes and the beauty of his faith in Christ. This book is a fascinating read about one of the most significant figures of history. Both students of Christian history and admirers of Reformation theology will find it helpful.”See All
president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“With a keen eye for the details that make Luther come alive for twenty-first-century readers, and with an ear for those often-false rumors spread by other scholars about the man, Selderhuis guides us through the life of the Wittenberg professor, depicting his genius and his temperament within the context of his time and its challenges. This well-balanced journey at the reformers side provides readers with insights into the development of his thought and his path toward prominence and influence that shaped the last quarter century of his life. The often-slighted later years, in which his writings and personality created a sphere of influence equaled by few in any age, are here given due attention, with helpful explanations of the setting in which Luthers reform movement matured.”See All
international research emeritus professor, Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Seminary; author, Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith; coauthor, The Genius of Luthers Theology
“Herman Selderhuis gives a well-organized, source-based short account of Luthers life, putting him into his context. Written by one of the most respected international scholars in Reformation history, this book may be fruitfully used as an introduction to Luthers life.”See All
theologian and professor of church history, Eberhard Karls University of Tbingen; president, Interdisciplinary Medieval Association
Famous for setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther is often lifted high as a hero or condemned as a rebel. But underneath it all, he was a man of flesh and blood, with a deep longing to live for God.
This biography by respected Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis captures Luther in his original context and follows him on his spiritual journey, from childhood through the Reformation to his influential later years. Combining Luther’s own words with engaging narrative designed to draw the reader into Luther’s world, this spiritual biography brings to life the complex and dynamic personality that forever changed the history of the church.
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