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Publisher's Summary

On October 31, 1517, an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to a church door in a small university town and set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe, and polarized people's beliefs. Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts, a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language yet whose attacks on his opponents were vicious and foul mouthed. Perhaps surprisingly, the man who helped create the modern world was not modern himself: for him the devil was not a figure of speech but a real, physical presence. Acclaimed historian Lyndal Roper explains how Luther's impact can be understood only against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure, reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward, and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.
©2017 Lyndal Roper (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By LionsCalling09 on 01-25-18

The purpose of this book is not to be a biography

This book was very tedious to make it through. Overall, I view it as a very poor biography of Luther. However, I am not sure the author really meant this to be a great biography of Luther.

He states at the beginning of this book and the end that his purpose is to dive into the psychology of Luther and help the reader understand how he came to his conclusions and the reasons behind his actions. As a result, the major actions of Luther get glossed over in favor of ideas from Luther.

The people that would love this book are those that are already familiar with the life of Luther and have read a true biography of the man. I was only vaguely familiar with the major happenings in Luther’s life and even those did not get many pages dedicated to them.

As a major example that puts in perspective my review on this book, there is an entire chapter on just Karlstadt with rare mentions of Luther. This would never have been included in a true biography but for the purpose of this book, to really let the reader know a driving force behind Luther, a chapter on the most important man in Luther’s life is fitting. It just doesn’t fit with a true biography.

Overall my disappointment in not in the book which I do believe is extremely well researched and written. My disappointment is with how the publishers chose to market this book. It’s not a biography. It’s a book for someone who is very familiar with the life of Luther to dive deeper into his philosophy and psychology of the man.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By John G. Sharp on 08-26-17

Luther for Today

Would you consider the audio edition of Martin Luther to be better than the print version?

The narration is superb Michael Page does a wonderful job with the multitude of German names. His pronunciation is good for the Latin phrases and titles as well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Wow, Luther ! Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther Prophet and Renegade; is a superb study of an extraordinary remarkable and complex man whose actions in 1517 sundered the unity of the Catholic Church and set in motion a religious revolution. After his death in 1546, Luther's chief disciple, Phillip Melanchthon, summed up Luther's theology simply as, quote sola gratia justificamus et sola fide justificamur or ;only scripture and only grace. Luther's stubborn insistence that ordinary men and women could and should read the Bible and must look to God for their salvation, and not the Church; changed Western history.

Have you listened to any of Michael Page’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Luther has been called "the last medieval man and the first modern one.” Similarly in her powerful summation, Roper states "Luther is a difficult hero.' She acknowledges many of Luther's s writing are full of hatred and he has predilection for scatological rhetoric and crude humor, not to our modern taste, She emphases his antisemitism was far more visceral than many of his contemporaries Catholic, Lutheran or Evangelical and find this animus toward Jews intrinsic to his religiosity .... Yet she concludes quote, only someone [such as Luther ] with utter inability to see anyone else s point of view can have had the courage to take on the papacy, to act like a "blinkered horse looking neither right no left but treading relentlessly onward regardless of the consequences.

Any additional comments?

After listening to the wonderful Michael Paige audio edition of Martin Luther Prophet and Renegade; I wanted to know more and bought the book in hardcover to read at my leisure,
which is my highest complement.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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