The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be officially celebrated this year on Oct. 31, the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517. His revolutionary ideas challenged the Catholic Church and ignited religious and social changes that are still evident today.
Publishers have been increasing the number of books on Luther and the Reformation since October 2016, when the official year-long commemoration began. This year, another spate of new titles is hitting the market as the quincentennial nears.
A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation by Craig Harline (Oxford University Press, Oct.) provides an in-depth look at a complex, brilliant, cantankerous academic at odds with the powerful Catholic Church.
Martin Luther: A Late Medieval Life by Volker Leppin, translated by Rhys Bezzant (Baker Academic, Oct.) explores the medieval background of Luther’s life and debunks myths that surround him and his ministry.
Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography by Herman Selderhuis (Crossway, Oct.) follows Luther on his spiritual journey from childhood to reformer and into his later years.
Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas (Viking, Oct.) delves into Luther’s life, faith, mind, and courage.
The Making of Martin Luther by Richard Rex (Princeton Univ. Press, Oct.) examines the creative burst of energy after his excommunication that helped Luther develop a new interpretation of faith.
95 Theses and Other Writings by Martin Luther, translated by William R. Russell (Penguin Classics, Sept.) is a collection of Luther’s writings—sermons, letters, academic treatises, confessions of faith, and more—translated for 21st-century readers.
Martin Luther’s Basic Exegetical Writings by Martin Luther, ed. Carl L. Beckwith (Concordia, Sept.) analyzes Luther’s sermons and lectures on portions of the Bible.
History and Social Change
A Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions, gen. ed. Timothy J. Wengert (Baker Academic, Aug.). Experts in church history collect nearly 600 articles to provide an overview of Luther’s life and thoughts as well as key historical figures and traditions in the Lutheran movement.
The Reformation 500 Years Later: 12 Things You Need to Know by Benjamin Wiker (Regnery, Aug.). Theologian Wiker aims to dispel misconceptions and untruths about the Reformation that stem from Catholic, Protestant, Marxist, Freudian, and secular retellings.
Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World by Brad S. Gregory (HarperOne, Sept.) sheds light on the changes and conflicts wrought by Luther and his 95 theses, including the fracturing of the Holy Roman Empire.
1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation by Peter Marshall (Oxford University Press, Oct.). Reformation historian Marshall argues that Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church likely did not happen and examines how the “non-event” came to dominate modern imaginings of the Protestant Reformation.
Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal by Mark C. Mattes (Baker Academic, Aug.) studies Luther’s theological principles when it comes to beauty in music, art, and the contemplative life.
Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine is Not Unbiblical by Matthew Levering (Zondervan, Sept.) explores key issues of the Reformation from a Catholic perspective.
Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation by Robert Kolb and Carl R. Trueman (Baker Academic, Oct.). Two scholars examine the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions in order to encourage discussion within the divided Protestant family.
Martin Luther and the Seven Sacraments: A Contemporary Protestant Reappraisal by Brian C. Brewer (Baker Academic, Oct.) explores medieval understandings of the seven sacraments, and Luther’s rationale for keeping or eliminating each one.
Martin Luther’s Legacy: Reforming Reformation Theology for the 21st Century by Mark Ellingsen (Palgrave Macmillan, Oct.) introduces an interpretation of Luther’s theological approach that could change modern ways of thinking about the Bible.
The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture by Iain Provan (Baylor University Press, Oct.). Provan aims to restore confidence that literal interpretations of the Bible are central to the Christian faith.
Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation by David Teems (Abingdon, Oct.) is a 365-day devotional that combines Luther’s writings with those of other reformers such as William Tyndall and John Calvin.
Gift and Children’s Books
The Life and Times of Martin Luther by Meike Roth-Beck (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Sept.) uses illustrations and text to explain Luther and his work to young readers (ages 7-11).
Renegade: Martin Luther, The Graphic Biography by Andrea Grosso Ciponte and Dacia Palmerino (Plough Publishing, Oct.) presents Luther’s biography in graphic novel format.
The Reformation by Cameron MacKenzie (Concordia, Oct.) is an illustrated overview of the Reformation in coffee table-book format.