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review 2017-08-06 20:06
The Legacy of Luther by Nichols, Sproul, etc.
The Legacy of Luther - Stephen J. Nichols,R.C. Sproul

With this year being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, everyone should be reading something about Martin Luther, and this particular book is a good choice for either beginner or dyed-in-the-wool Lutheran. Everything from Luther's life, his teaching, his interactions with other reformers, and the legacy he left behind is addressed here.

 

This book is divided into three sections that are each addressed through a series of essays written by an impressive team of theologians. While it is interesting to read the writing of various scholars and appreciate the way their essays support one another, it also inevitably creates some repetitiveness. My favorite section was the first: Luther's Life, which is a brief biography of Luther including how his beliefs were formed and evolved throughout his life.

 

The writers do not attempt to turn Luther into something he was not, and his faults are part of who he was. God used this temperamental and at times judgmental man. 'Because of the magnitude of the disorders, God gave this age a violent physician.' Luther was not passive and conciliatory, but he was who was needed to put the Reformation in motion.

 

The second section of the book covers Luther's Thought. This is a highly spiritual discussion of the tenets of faith that may be less familiar to those who are approaching this as a scholarly rather than a devotional work. Scripture Alone does not sound like a controversial stance to take now, but Luther shook the world with it. Each chapter covers the main issues that were written about by Luther and how they impacted the 16th century.

 

Finally, Luther's Legacy, the third section of the book, looks at the various roles Luther filled and what his impact was long after his death. It is here where we learn that Luther not only translated the Bible into German, but he helped form the German language into its modern form when he did so. He not only wrote hymns that involved his congregation in spiritual music, he was inspiration for future musicians such as Bach.

 

To this day, Wittenberg and the entire country of Germany celebrate Luther for the sacrificial work he performed that continues to have an important effect on us all centuries later. If you have ever wondered what all the fuss is about, this book is a good place to start.

 

I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

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text 2017-07-25 15:56
Was Queen Mary advised by a heretic?

You know I can't go too long without talking about Reginald Pole! Was he a heretic? Depends on who you ask.

 

Source: samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/07/was-queen-mary-advised-by-heretic.html
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url 2017-07-22 19:10
Arguing History #2: Did the Protestant Reformation have to happen?

My second Arguing History podcast is up! In it, I host historians Peter Marshall and Alec Ryrie in a discussion of the question, "Did the Protestant Reformation have to happen?" Enjoy!

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text 2017-07-12 01:46
Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 543 pages.
Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521 - Martin Brecht

This is proving to be a rich and dense book. I can already tell that I will be revisiting it in the future.

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review 2017-07-11 00:49
Heretics and Heroes (Hinges of History #6)
Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World - Thomas Cahill

One of the most pivotal periods of Western civilization occurred during the Renaissance and the Reformation, to culturally impactful events that overlapped one another across Europe.  Heretics and Heroes is the sixth book in Thomas Cahill’s series “The Hinges of History” highlighting the artists and the priests that changed how Europe viewed creativity and worshipped God.

 

Cahill begins this volume talking about philosophical struggle over the ages between Plato and Aristotle, through it is the fourth time he has discussed this millennia-long debate during the series it allows Cahill to refer back to it in the text and gives the reader a basis to understand its importance during this era.  Cahill continued setting up both the Renaissance and Reformation by highlighting moments during the Late Middle Ages, especially the effects of the Black Death, leading up to and allowed for these two important moments in Western history to occur.  The ‘discovery’ of the New World by Columbus and rise of the humanists begin the look at the titular heretics and heroes that will dominate the book, using both events Cahill shows the changing trends in Europe just before both the Renaissance and Reformation completely change it.  The Renaissance and it’s complete change of artistic creativity of the previous millennium is taken up first through the lives of Donatello, Leonardo, and Botticelli before focusing on its height and sudden stop as a result of the Counter-Reformation in the life of Michelangelo.  Then, save for a brief look at the art of Northern Europe, Cahill turns to the Reformation of Luther and the Catholic Counter-Reformation with brief looks at the Reformed movements and the development of Anglicanism.

 

The entire book is packed with information in a very conversational style of writing which has always been one of the strengths of Cahill’s writing.  As always with a popular history book, Cahill had to pick and choose what to focus the reader’s attention on while covering as much as possible about the subject he’s decided to write about.  While Cahill is pretty successful at hitting the high points and pointing readers looking for information to the appropriate place to look, his personal opinions at times overwhelm the history and themes he’s trying to bring to fore.  All history authors have their personal opinions influence their work; however Cahill’s armchair psychiatry and personal theological arguments that actually have nothing to do with the debate he’s writing about at that moment in the text.  While Cahill’s personal opinions have been in all of the previous books of the series, this volume it seems to not be subtle but almost blatant.

 

Overall Heretics and Heroes is a fine addition to the “Hinges of History” series written in a very readable style by Cahill.  However, unlike the previous books in which the reader was left with wanting more, the reader will be wishing less of Cahill’s opinion and more of actual facts.  Yet even with this drawback and forewarning a reader will find this book very informative.

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