The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a signal event in the history of Western civilization, will be marked on Oct. 31, 2017. A year-long commemoration began on Oct. 31, 2016, spawning more than 40 new and forthcoming books on Martin Luther and the Reformation.
The best place to start reading is with Luther’s own writings, and Fortress Press, the denominational publisher of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is publishing the Annotated Luther series (general editor Timothy Wengert), six volumes comprising 75 of Luther’s essential writings in updated translations, with new introductions, extensive annotations, maps, illustrations, and photographs. Volumes one through four are currently available; volume five publishes March 2017 and volume six later that year.
The Ninety-Five Theses and Other Writings by Martin Luther (Penguin Classics, Sept. 2017), translated, edited, and with an introduction and commentary by William R. Russell, is a wide-ranging collection, including Luther’s letters, sermons, and more.
Martin Luther in His Own Words by Jack D. Kilcrease and Erwin W. Lutzer (Baker Books, Apr. 2017) is an annotated collection of Martin Luther’s writings.
Biographies and Histories Abound
Luther the Reformer by James M. Kittelson and Hans H. Wiersma (Fortress, out now) is a new edition of a classic biography.
A Short Life of Martin Luther by Thomas Kaufmann (Eerdmans, out now) introduces the life and thought of the reformer.
Martin Luther by Heinz Schilling (Oxford Univ., Mar. 2017) is a doorstop-size biography of Luther that shows him to be a complex man who changed the world.
Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet by Lyndal Roper (Random House, Mar. 2017) plumbs Luther’s inner life and reveals a deeply flawed man, whose personality had a seismic effect, for good and ill.
Martin Luther: A Late Medieval Life (Baker Academic, Oct. 2017), by Volker Leppin, a German historian, is a short, accessible biography that portrays Luther as a man of his time.
Katharina and Martin Luther by Michelle DeRusha (Baker Books, Jan. 2017) is an intimate portrait of the then-scandalous marriage between Martin and Katharina Luther.
October 31: 1517 by Martin E. Marty (Paraclete, Apr.), foreword by James Martin, offers the renowned historian’s take on the impact and implications of the Reformation. Includes Luther’s 95 Theses.
A Brief Introduction to the Reformation by Glenn S. Sunshine (Westminster John Knox, Feb. 2017) is a short history of the Reformation that introduces key people and ideas.
Calvinism: A Very Short Introduction by Jon Balserak (Oxford Univ., Feb. 2017) presents the origins, ideas, and practices of Calvinism and their influence on modern society.
Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation by Peter H. Marshall (Yale Univ., June 2017) tells and reinterprets the story of the English Reformation.
Martin Luther and the Seven Sacraments by Brian C. Brewer (Baker Academic, Oct. 2017) walks readers through Protestant church life and illuminates Luther’s rationale for retaining or eliminating each sacrament.
The Whole Church Sings: Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg by Robin A. Leaver (Eerdmans, Apr. 2017) corrects the view that congregational singing was not established in Lutheran worship until well after the start of the Reformation; new research shows that it was practiced at the start of the Wittenberg reforms in worship.
Prayers of the Reformers by the editors of Paraclete Press (Apr. 2017) collects the prayers of Martin Luther and other well-known Reformers, including John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Knox, and Charles Wesley.
New Analyses and Critiques
The End of Protestantism by Peter Leithart (Brazos, out now) decries the proliferation of competing denominations in America that resulted from the Reformation’s fragmentation of the church, creating Protestant tribalism.
Why I Am Not Roman Catholic by Jerry Walls and Kenneth Collins (Baker Academic, Oct. 2017) counters recent narratives written by evangelicals who have converted to Roman Catholicism.
Luther and the Jews: Putting Right the Dark Side of Luther’s Legacy by Richard Harvey (Monarch, July 2017) examines what Luther said about the Jews and the impact of his words, offering ideas about what Catholics, Protestants, and Jews can do to heal the divisions he fostered.
Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins by Alberto García and John Nunes (Eerdmans, Apr. 2017), with a foreword by Martin E. Marty, recasts central themes of the Reformation from modern black, Hispanic, and other perspectives long at the margins of Catholic-evangelical communities.
Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin W. Lutzer (Baker Books, out now) tells the story of the Protestant Reformation and its effects on Christians then and now.
A Rebel in the Ranks: Why Martin Luther and the Reformation Still Matter by Brad S. Gregory (HarperOne, out now) explores the unintended legacies of Martin Luther and the Reformation in light of the way both Luther and the Reformation still affect society, politics, religion, and culture.
Reformation 500: How the Greatest Revival Since Pentecost Continues to Shape the World Today (B&H, Mar. 2017), edited by Ray Van Neste and J. Michael Garrett, casts the Reformation as a great revival of the church.
Theologians and Biblical Scholars Weigh In
Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God by theologian Robert Kolb (Baker Academic, Nov.) examines the school of biblical interpretation Luther inspired.
Saving Calvinism: Expanding the Reformed Tradition by Oliver Crisp (IVP, Dec.) explores some of the most difficult Reformed theology, arguing that Calvinism is more diverse and flexible than commonly thought.
Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty by Mark Mattes (Baker Academic, Aug. 2017) locates Luther’s thought in late-medieval Scholasticism and nominalist philosophy.
Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary by Matthew Barrett (Crossway, Mar. 2017) gathers theologians and historians who argue that Reformation theology is still relevant and essential today.
Encounters with Luther: New Directions for Critical Studies (Westminster John Knox, Aug.), edited by Kirsi I. Stjerna and Brooks Schramm, collects articles by Lutheran scholars that focus on contemporary issues such as violence, gender and sexuality, and politics.
A Brief Introduction to Martin Luther by Steven Paulson (Westminster John Knox, Jan. 2017) is a concise introduction to Luther’s life and the major themes in his theology.
A Brief Introduction to John Calvin by Christopher Elwood (Westminster John Knox, Feb. 2017) is an accessible overview of John Calvin’s theology.
The People’s Book: The Reformation and the Bible (IVP, Apr. 2017), edited by Jennifer Powell McNutt and David Lauber, is a collection of essays showing that Luther viewed his translation of the Bible into German as his major achievement because it made the Bible accessible to ordinary people.
Biblical Authority after Babel by Kevin Vanhoozer (Brazos, out now) argues against scholars who claim that the Protestant Reformation created anarchy in biblical interpretation, asserting that retrieving the Reformation’s core principles offers an answer to those critics.
Romans 9–16, Reformation Commentary on Scripture (IVP, Nov.), edited by Philip D.W. Krey and Peter D.S. Krey, is the latest in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series; this volume looks at the diversity of Reformation-era biblical commentary on Romans 9–16.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know...
Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions (Baker Academic, Aug. 2017), edited by Timothy J. Wengert, collects articles by Protestant theologians and church historians.
Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation (Rowman & Littlefield, July 2017), edited by Mark Lamport, is a two-volume reference covering the life and work of Martin Luther and the movements that followed him.
Reformation Anglicanism: A Vision for Today’s Global Communion (Crossway, Feb. 2017), edited by Ashley Null and John W. Yates III, is the first in the six-volume Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library that surveys the state of the Anglican Communion.
Traveling to Lutherland
Here I Walk by Andrew Wilson (Brazos, Dec.) recounts how, in 2010, Andrew Wilson and his wife, Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, recreated Luther’s pre-Reformation pilgrimage, walking a thousand miles in 70 days from Erfurt to Rome.
Martin Luther’s Travel Guide: 500 Years of the 95 Theses: On the Trail of the Reformation in Germany by Cornelia Dömer (Berlinica, Nov.) tours the German locations where the Reformation took place and contains travel tips, hotel recommendations, and more.
And for the Children...
The Life of Martin Luther: A Pop-Up Book by Agostino Traini (Sparkhouse Family, Jan. 2017) retells the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation for children ages five to eight.