Martin Luther Book Summary - Martin Luther Book explained in key points
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Martin Luther summary

Heinz Schilling

Rebel in an Age of Upheaval

4.5 (62 ratings)
31 mins

Brief summary

Martin Luther by Heinz Schilling is a comprehensive biography of the influential religious reformer. The book offers insights into Luther's beliefs, practices, and impact on the world.

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    Martin Luther
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    Martin Luther was born at the end of the Middle Ages, a time of great societal turmoil.

    When looking at the modern world, it may seem that things have never changed at such a great speed as they are doing today. In reality, though, something quite similar was taking place some 500 years ago; the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were characterized by radical societal, geopolitical and economic upheaval.

    Europe was threatened from the east by the constant specter of Ottoman invasion. Meanwhile, to the west, Spanish and Portuguese vessels had taken to the seas and were in the process of "discovering" the New World.

    European contact with the Americas was soon followed by the establishment of colonial trading routes. These brought an unprecedented influx of gold and silver from American mines to Europe, and these newfound riches laid the foundations for a new capital-oriented society in Europe.

    In turn, a new and wealthy middle class of merchants began to emerge, and they were all too willing to challenge the old aristocratic order.

    While all this was going on, the population of Europe was booming. It’s estimated that Europe’s population increased from 82 to 107 million over the course of the fifteenth century.

    In the midst of all this change and upheaval, on November 10, 1483, Martin Luder – or Martin Luther as he would come to be known – was born to Hans, a mining entrepreneur, and Margarete in Eisleben, Germany. It was a comfortable household with domestic servants, but the family still lived modestly and avoided luxuries.

    Luther, as his family’s first-born child, was expected to safeguard the family’s middle-class status and was thus sent to study law. Then, as now, a legal career was seen as a secure choice.

    But, as we now know, Luther didn’t follow his designated course – and his change of heart would affect not just his own life, but the course of history itself.

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    What is Martin Luther about?

    Martin Luther (2017) details the life and times of one of the most important figures in European history. Five hundred years ago, the German priest Martin Luther sparked the Reformation, which would eventually bring the Protestant Church into existence and thereby create a permanent schism between the Protestant and the Roman Catholic Church. This book presents a fresh interpretation of Luther’s life, investigating what his actions – and the Reformation in general – tell us about the modern world.

    Martin Luther Review

    Martin Luther (2017) by Heinz Schilling delves into the life and impact of the influential theologian. This book is definitely worth reading because:

    • It offers an in-depth exploration of the historical context in which Martin Luther's ideas and actions took place, providing valuable insights into the Reformation period.
    • By analyzing Luther's writings and their impact on society, the book sheds light on the profound changes he brought about in religion, politics, and culture during his time.
    • With its rich detail and vivid storytelling, this book brings Martin Luther's story to life, making it an engaging and captivating read for anyone interested in history or religion.

    Who should read Martin Luther?

    • People skeptical as to the power religion can hold over people
    • History junkies who want to learn more about how modern Europe emerged
    • Anyone curious about one of the most famous historical figures of all time

    About the Author

    Heinz Schilling is Professor Emeritus of History at Humboldt University in Berlin. Schilling’s work focuses on the history of religion, and he has published numerous academic works and award-winning popular histories. His book Martin Luther: Rebel in an Age of Upheaval is considered the gold standard of Luther biographies.

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    Martin Luther FAQs 

    What is the main message of Martin Luther?

    The main message of Martin Luther is the impact of Martin Luther's actions on the Reformation and his efforts to challenge the authority of the Catholic Church.

    How long does it take to read Martin Luther?

    The reading time for Martin Luther varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is Martin Luther a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Martin Luther is an insightful read that sheds light on an influential historical figure. It provides a deeper understanding of the Reformation and its significance.

    Who is the author of Martin Luther?

    Heinz Schilling is the author of Martin Luther.

    What to read after Martin Luther?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Martin Luther, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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