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Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction

Oxford University Press / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses (reputedly nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), he unwittingly launched a movement dramatically altered the course of human history. Martin Luther: A Very Short Introduction, by leading Luther and Reformation scholar Paul Hendrix presents the truculant German as historians have now come to understand him.

Instead of singling him out as a social, political, or religious hero, Hendrix's project emphasizes the context in which Luther worked, the colleagues who supported him, and the opponents who adamantly opposed his agenda for change, change they deemed radical. Mostly this includes Luther's religious reforms and his importance without ignoring the external political and cultural forces, such as provincial politics, economic disparity, and Islam's increasing pressure on 16th Century Europe--all of which led and enabled the reformation down paths Luther could neither foresee nor influence.

While Hendrix pays tribute to Luther's genius, he also recognizes the firey combativeness that alienated many of Luther's contemporaries. Additionally, Hendrix addresses the causes underlying Luther's anti-Jewish writings, which have become especially hard to comprehend in light of the Holocaust.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 6.78 X 4.38 (inches)
ISBN: 0199574332
ISBN-13: 9780199574339
Availability: In Stock
Series: Very Short Introductions

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Publisher's Description

When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses (reputedly nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), he unwittingly launch a movement that would dramatically change the course of European history. This superb short introduction to Martin Luther, written by a leading authority on Luther and the Reformation, presents this pivotal figure as historians now see him. Instead of singling him out as a modern hero, historian Scott Hendrix emphasizes the context in which Luther worked, the colleagues who supported him, and the opponents who adamantly opposed his agenda for change. The author explains the religious reformation and Luther's importance without ignoring the political and cultural forces, like princely power and Islam, which led the reformation down paths Luther could neither foresee nor influence. The book pays tribute to Luther's genius but also recognizes the self-righteous attitude that alienated contemporaries. The author offers a unique explanation for that attitude and for Luther's anti-Jewish writings, which are especially hard to comprehend after the Holocaust.

Author Bio


Scott H. Hendrix is Professor Emeritus of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a past president of the Society for Reformation Research.

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