When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses (reputedly nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), he unwittingly launched a movement that would dramatically change the course of European history. This short introduction to Martin Luther, written by a leading authority on Luther and the Reformation, presents this pivotal figure as historians now see him. Instead of singling him out as a modern hero, historian Scott Hendrix emphasizes the context in which Luther worked, the colleagues who supported him, and the opponents who adamantly opposed his agenda for change. The author explains the religious reformation and Luther's importance without ignoring the political and cultural forces, like princely power and Islam, which led the reformation down paths Luther could neither foresee nor influence. The book pays tribute to Luther's genius but also recognizes the self-righteous attitude that alienated contemporaries. The author offers a unique explanation for that attitude and for Luther's anti-Jewish writings, which are especially hard to comprehend after the Holocaust.
Oxford's Very Short Introductions offer concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides balanced discussions of the central issues. Every Very Short Introduction demonstrates how its topic has developed and influenced society. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove a valuable introduction.
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