Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts – Martin Luther – A Spiritual Biography (Herman Selderhuis)

Selderhuis, German - Martin Luther


Title: Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography
Author: Herman Selderhuis
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography / Religion
First published: to be published 31 October 2017 by Crossway Books
Edition: ARC e-book, courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Despite the fact that religion itself has no real place in my own day to day life, theology has always been a subject that fascinates me. Why do people believe what they do? And how?

In university I did a bit of work on the reformation in England and again, the subject matter just grabbed me. Religion has shaped countries, it still does.

So I jumped at the opportunity to read this book on Martin Luther, a figurehead of the reformation across Europe. A reluctant figurehead at first, as I discovered reading this book, and not always a pleasant man.

The author  takes the reader on a very matter-a-fact journey through Martin Luther’s life. He shows Luther as a committed monk, a passionate and stubborn reformer, a respected theologist, a loving father, but also touches on his difficult character and his flaws, his anti-semitism and his self-righteousness.

The biographical parts are interspersed with quotes and letters from Martin Luther himself. The author speculates little, preferring to lean on fact, and although it can sometimes make the text a little dry, it also gives it integrity. Sometimes it does jump around in time and it is not always clear why the author has chosen to write this biography that way.

Overall, having read this biography I feel I have gained an understanding of a turbulent time I did not quite have before. I am certainly a little wiser.

5 out of 7 stars

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