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Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther

Author: 
Timothy F. Lull (Author) Derek R. Nelson (Author)
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Description

Some would argue that there is no need for yet another biography of Martin Luther. The story has been told many times, and very well at that! And yet, interest in Luther’s life and thought remains high, and each generation brings its own set of questions to the task.
 
This biography, begun by Timothy F. Lull prior to his death and capably finished by Derek R. Nelson, is marked for its fresh, winsome, and invigorating style--one undoubtedly shaped by the years that each author spent in undergraduate and seminary classrooms.
 
In this telling, Luther is an energetic, resilient actor, driven by very human strengths and failings, always wishing to do right by his understanding of God and the witness of the Scriptures. Luther is portrayed here more as a loud tenor in a Reformation chorale than as a solo voice of dissent against church and empire, as he and his work are closely linked with his many collaborators. At times humorous, always realistic, and appropriately critical when necessary, Lull and Nelson tell the story of an amazing, unforgettable life, one that impacted our world in countless ways.

ISBN: 
9781451494150
Price: 
$44.00
Release date: 
July 1, 2015
Pages: 
411
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Endorsements

“The work of establishing a credible ‘historical Luther’ is important, if only to assure that we encounter the real thing rather than someone’s hero or villain. Lull and Nelson do this hard work. Their book is rooted in scads of research, both in the primary sources (especially the letter correspondence) as well as the vast secondary literature. ​But they do not leave Luther in the 16th century. The point of their genuinely critical inquiry is to sift the historical Luther honestly in terms of acknowledged contemporary concerns.  That produces an account that is genuinely significant, with an acute treatment of painful issues like Luther and the Jews but also endearing glimpses at Luther as a family man. In this way the book in a unique way blends the story of Luther's traumatic life in with a fresh interpretation of his thought. This makes this substantial book of flowing prose a pleasure to read.”  
—Paul R. Hinlicky
Roanoke College

“Luther is alive on the pages of this intellectual biography that is both well researched and an engaging read. Dr. Derek Nelson has brought to a commendable conclusion the original work of the late Dr. Timothy Lull. A biography like this, focusing on the theological drama while presenting the very human Luther, and his associates, fills a vacuum. Students and teachers alike will be happy to use this labor of love!”
—Kirsi Stjerna
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

"Among the flurry of biographies and other Luther studies inspired by the coming Luther jubilee of 2017, this book will surely appeal to one of the widest audiences.  Resilient Reformer is the product of a remarkable collaboration among the late Tim Lull (d. 2003) his colleagues and friends, and notably Derek R. Nelson, who took up and completed Lull’s unfinished manuscript.  The result is a deeply sympathetic study of Luther’s life, the best, perhaps, since Roland H. Bainton’s famous biography Here I Stand: A Life Martin Luther, published in 1950 and still in print.

Two things recommend Resilient Reformer to readers interested in Luther as a powerful religious figure and not just the creator of a confessional theology.  First, at the heart of Resilient Reformer stands a 'flawed thinker and leader' who might have passed into oblivion, had the political times been different.  Second, this Luther rose again and again to new challenges, always surrounded by 'a talented group of coworkers.'  Here is a portrayal of Luther not as a super-human intellectual, a hero for all ages; here is a Luther who belonged first and last to the world of the common man.  The book’s authors declare that they write as theologians first and historians second.  We keep coming back to Luther because we continue to find in him fresh material for theological reflection in our time.”  This resilient Luther has by no means all the answers, the authors confess, but he can speak to all Christians who wonder how an ancient faith can have current capability.

The writers of Resilient Reformer make a good case for seeing the reformer as both a powerful speaker to his own age and a pastor to ours.  The book is well researched, free of ideology and polemics, and deeply sympathetic to those who knew Luther in his own time."
—Thomas A. Brady, Jr.
University of California, Berkley 

Reviews

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Review on Zwinglius Redivivus​