Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death,

Richard Marius, Author Belknap Press $37.5 (576p) ISBN 978-0-674-55090-2
Marius, a retired Harvard professor, provides a thoroughly challenging and scholarly biography that brings theological giant Martin Luther into human scale. He traces Luther's life from his birth in 1483 to his ordination and on to the tumultuous years of Luther's reformation of the Church, from 1517 until the end of his life. Through a close reading of Luther's many writings, Marius narrates Luther's development as a theologian and as a cultural figure. Marius characterizes Luther as a ""catastrophe in Western civilization,"" a judgment stemming from Luther's struggle with death as the cosmic enemy, a struggle that could be overcome only by faith. Most intriguing is Luther's confrontation with the humanist Erasmus. Marius contends that Luther discounted Erasmus's perspective, thus dismissing the possibility of a peaceful reform of the Church through reason. Laid at Luther's doorstep, then, is the tragedy of a 16th-century Western civilization torn by religious intolerance and violence. Marius's biography is bound to be an influential and, for some, definitive study of Luther's life and work. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 576 pages - 978-0-674-04061-8
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-674-00387-3
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