More New Luther/Reformation Titles

MLuther-Selderhuis-2017Recently, a few more new Martin Luther and Reformation titles have crossed my desk and screen, and today I call your attention to them.

The first is another major biography on Luther. This one, which arrived in the mail yesterday as a review copy from the publisher, is Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography (Crossway, 2017; 347 pp. with indices and timeline, hardcover). The author is noted Reformed teacher Herman Selderhuis, professor of church history at the Theological University Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and director of Refo500.  He has also penned a significant biography of Calvin, titled John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life  (IVP Academic, 2009).

The publisher gives this information on the book:

Famous for setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther is often lifted high as a hero or condemned as a rebel. But underneath it all, he was a man of flesh and blood, with a deep longing to live for God.

This biography by respected Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis captures Luther in his original context and follows him on his spiritual journey, from childhood through the Reformation to his influential later years. Combining Luther’s own words with engaging narrative designed to draw the reader into Luther’s world, this spiritual biography brings to life the complex and dynamic personality that forever changed the history of the church.

The contents of the book covers all the basics of Luther’s life and labors:

Table of Contents

1. Child (1483–1500)

2. Student (1501–1505)

3. Monk (1505–1511)

4. Exegete (1511–1517)

5. Theologian (1517–1519)

6. Architect (1520–1521)

7. Reformer (1521–1525)

8. Father (1525–1530)

9. Professor (1530–1537)

10. Prophet (1537–1546)

I am looking forward to browsing this title for now – until a reviewer claims it.

heralds-ref-hannula-2017Another new title I recently purchased – in digital form (for .99!) and in print form for the Seminary library is Richard M. Hannula’s Heralds of the Reformation: Thirty Biographies of Sheer Grace (Canon Press, 2016; 286 pp., paperback). This author has taught history in the Pacific NW for many years, and now serves as principal at Covenant High School in Tacoma, WA.

About this title the publisher states:

The sixteenth century in Europe was a tumultuous time. Monumental inventions like the printing press rocked society as huge philosophical shifts caused by Copernicus split the scientific world. But just as important was the seismic upheaval within Christendom herself, as the Church of Rome responded to internal rebuke with oppression. In thirty short biographies, Heralds of the Reformation tells the important story of the struggle between the theological authorities and the men and women who refused to keep quiet about the sheer grace of the Gospel.

As you might guess, this book is an easier read, serving well for both the young adult and the adult, with shorter sketches of the key figures involved in the various branches of the Reformation. Hannula divides his book into five main parts, covering the “Forerunners of the Reformation,” “The Reformation in Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands,” “The Reformation in France, Switzerland, and Italy,” “The Reformation in England,” and “The Reformation in Scotland.” You will learn all the basics about the key figures God used before and during the Reformation. And, as the author states, “It is my hope that the reader – boy or girl, man or woman – will be inspired by the grace of God, to follow in their steps as they followed in Christ’s.”

Katherina-Zell-2017Finally, we point you to this recent notice on the Really Good Reads blog (tied to Reformed Perspective magazine), about a new biography by noteworthy children’s author Christine Farenhorst. The book is Katharina, Katharina; The Story of Katharina Shutz Zell (Sola Scriptura Ministries International, 2017).

The publisher provides this description:

Katharina Schutz is a young woman growing up in sixteenth-century Strasbourg. Immersed in the mystique and works-righteousness of medieval Catholicism, Katharina’s life is one of curiosity, mischief, sorrow, fear of purgatory, indulgences and all the struggles of a regular teen in a busy home, full of siblings and daily challenges.

Living at the time of Martin Luther, the great Reformer, the currents of change and gospel light begin to cast their glow into Katharina’s life. Eventually, hungry for a true knowledge of God and a living relationship with him, Katharina finds that God has mercy on those who seek him.

Jon Dykstra, the reviewer of this book on Really Good Reads, states,

We follow the title character from childhood up until her mid-twenties. Though Katharina Schutz is a real person, this is historical fiction– all the big events are true, but the day-to-day details of Katharina’s life have been made up. This is why, even as a background character, Luther still dominates the story. Katharina’s life is fascinating reading but because much of it is speculative, it serves as the foundation while what we learn about Luther here is his real, actual history.

He adds concerning those for whom the book is intended,

This is a teen to young adult book, but like any good children’s book, adults interested in their church history will find it fascinating. However, as a third of all children at that time died before they hit age 5, there are some parts to Katharina’s story that would be bawl-inducing to anyone under, say, 10.

The somewhat slow beginning – it took until chapter 4 to really grab me – also makes it better suited for readers with a little maturity to them.

That’s it for now! But I am sure I will be back with more Reformation 500 titles for 2017!