Maybe 4.25 Metaxas is excellent as a biographer He makes the story come to life and turns it into a page turner His witty, joking style is enjoyable, but you can also see what an intelligent man he is I have loved every biography he has written.I grew up Lutheran and heard much about Martin Luther and his 95 theses Reformation day was like a holiday in our school and I even remember having a cake made in the shape of the Luther s coat of arms one year I was surprised to hear many of the things we learned about Luther were incorrect Metaxas clears up most of what is legend and presents what the actual facts about Luther are I enjoyed how much he quoted personal letters and documents from Luther s life What I found most interesting was seeing what the church was like at the time of the Reformation No one read the Bible or even knew what it said even the church leaders , church services were in a language most people could not understand It seems like God s Word was veiled for hundreds of years how did God allow it to be like that for so long Although Luther definitely had his flaws, he mostly is a likable character who reminds me of many of my blunt German Lutheran extended family members He unknowingly started something that changed the trajectory of the church and religious freedom forever What he accomplished in short years is unbelievable He definitely is one of the most impactful people of history A few questions I had when he is hiding out in Wartburg, afraid for his life, he comes back to Wittenberg and all is fine Why were there no attempts on his life then I could not handle what the weddings were like of his day What the heck How was that considered okay I also thought Frederick s dream in the appendix was interesting I wanted to know about where it came from or if it was reliable at all But all in all, a great and interesting read published right in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. One of the most difficult seriously written biographical books on a serious topic I ve had the misfortune of plodding through I read that some readers found the author s style engaging and witty I only found his writing style simplistic, pompous, and cringe worthy In almost every other line, Metaxes writes with excessive superlatives and gross exaggerations He butchers the beauty of simple writing by filling his sentences with needless hyperbole and fillers, such as truly, very, great, and honestly Take this sentence Luther honestly wanted to cause reform to happen What other way is there but to want something in honesty Amazingly, this man is a bestselling author of scholarly works I ll need to find a readable book on the life of Luther Preferably, one that is written cleanly and simply I gave two stars because the book has a credible outline TOC and does provide a decent biographical sketch of Luther s life. From New York Times Bestselling Author Eric Metaxas Comes A Brilliant And Inspiring Biography Of The Most Influential Man In Modern History, Martin Luther, In Time For The Th Anniversary Of The ReformationOn All Hallow S Eve In , A Young Monk Named Martin Luther Posted A Document He Hoped Would Spark An Academic Debate, But That Instead Ignited A Conflagration That Would Forever Destroy The World He Knew Five Hundred Years After Luther S Now Famous Ninety Five Theses Appeared, Eric Metaxas, Acclaimed Biographer Of The Bestselling Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy And Amazing Grace William Wilberforce And The Heroic Campaign To End Slavery, Paints A Startling Portrait Of The Wild Figure Whose Adamantine Faith Cracked The Edifice Of Western Christendom And Dragged Medieval Europe Into The Future Written In Riveting Prose And Impeccably Researched, Martin Luther Tells The Searing Tale Of A Humble Man Who, By Bringing Ugly Truths To The Highest Seats Of Power, Caused The Explosion Whose Sound Is Still Ringing In Our Ears Luther S Monumental Faith And Courage Gave Birth To The Ideals Of Liberty, Equality, And Individualism That Today Lie At The Heart Of All Modern Life This is one of my favorite books this year Not only does Metaxis tell a lively and entertaining story of Luther s life, he explains how world changing his stand for the truth really was This is truly when the modern world began For better and for worse The ideas that we take for granted in our pluralistic society freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, and the notion that might doesn t make right were birthed in Wittenberg exactly 500 years ago. Meh at best as a pop bio from a conservative evangelical POV worse than that otherwisePer the first half of my header, that s the only reason I rated this book with two stars rather than one Even though Metaxas discusses Luther s differences with the Reformed on the Eucharist, and a lesser degree on other things, and even tries to take a look at both the philosophy and theology behind this while failing as much as succeeding , Metaxas still tries to paint Luther as a modern American conservative Evangelical rather than as a German Evangelical, ie, Lutheran.The epilogue, trying to pretend Luther was some sort of forerunner of modern Western democracy, only made this worse and laughable at the same time Again, though, the fact that it s being tried, and will probably be tried by others from now through maybe 2030, with the 500th anniversary events, gets it that second star rather than 1.That said, there s other errors, mainly errors of fact, though a few others of interpretation, like those above.I actually was originally going to rate it three stars, despite the above, but two errors late in the book got it knocked down to two stars, and almost to one, in spite of me wanting to hold it up as an example.OK, let s dive into those errors.First, after debunking several Luther myths in the introduction, Metaxas perpetuates two BIGGIES himself.In reality, the consensus of good historians is that Luther did NOT nail, paste, or otherwise affix a sheet or two of 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on Oct 31, 1517.A similar consensus says that Luther did NOT say Here I stand at the Diet of Worms.OK, next Erasmus did NOT restore first century Greek to his edition of the New Testament Instead, his textus receptus was similar to that in the Orthodox world of this time Erasmus didn t have Sinaiticus, Vaticanus or other older codices, nor did he have the treasure of modern papyri finds Also, Erasmus had no detailed methodology of textual criticism.Tonsuring It s Christian martyrological legend that emperors inflicted it upon apostles or later generations of Christians That said, per the likes of Candida Moss, the severity and broadness of Roman Imperial persecution of Christians has itself been mythologized Finally, although in these cases it involves shaving the head entirely, not just in spots, tonsuring like practices are known to other world religions.The idea that Luther didn t have a modern idea of consciousness Well, Metaxas sets up a straw man by claiming that what he calls the modern idea of consciousness is modern Less than a century after Luther, Shakespeare has Polonius in Hamlet say To thine own self be true And, a full 2,000 years earlier, the oracle at Delphi said Know thyself And, from that, Socrates said, The unexamined life is not worth living Of course, Metaxas is here ultimately setting up a bank shot for how Luther was different from today, but yet, was a lead in to Merika or something.After Erasmus, Metaxas trips on his Greek New Testament again While the verb synago is in the New Testament in various forms, including as a participle for gathering together for worship, including gathering for the Eucharist, the noun synaxis is not It is used in post NT writings, I believe beginning as early as the Didache, but the noun is not in the NT.Now, the two biggies, which give the game up.On page 391, Metaxas claims that Suleiman the Magnificent, as part of expanding the Ottoman Empire, was trying to expand sharia law.Tosh and rot The Turks, and their Central Asian Turkic cousins, have been known for their generally moderate interpretation of Islam And the Ottoman Empire was known for its millet system, which gave a relatively high degree of freedom to its Christian and Jewish residents Given that Metaxas, if not a full blown right winger, hangs out with a lot of conservative politicos and is a talking head for a major right wing radio network, I can only consider this to be rank pandering.Page 417 follows in its train Metaxas claims that Luther, in his anti Jewish diatribes, was influenced by Victory over the Godless Hebrews, which he claims contain things which we now know to be untrue Among this, he lists Jewish blasphemies against Jesus and Mary, and claims by Jews that Jesus did his miracles by kabbalistic magic.Deleting the kabbalistic, as it didn t exist 2,000 years ago, and actually, these things ARE true.Metaxas is either ignorant of some things written in the Talmud, and even in the Toledoth Yeshu, or he s heard about such things and refuses to investigate, or thirdly, he fully knows about them and covers them up This does NOT mean, though, that the Talmud contains blood libels against Christianity or anything close But, yes, the above materials do claim that Jesus was a mamzer and a magician.In any case, I suspect political leanings not just of general conservativism, but specifically neoconservativism, are now in play.And, with that, I decided that this book could be held up as an example of wrongness AND get one star instead of two as well. A definitely well written and thoroughly researched book portraying life and vision of a man who did change the world of religion I recommend it to anyone interested in Martin Luther It takes some time to read the book but the effort is worthwhile. This is not a good book It is entertaining, but horribly biased I can deal with that and stupidly inaccurate For example, Salve Regina does NOT mean Save us, Mary in Latin So, using that as moment to riff on how medieval Christians depended on saints to save them wrong, wrong and wrong.I could go on, but as I shared these little tidbits with a friend who is a respected Reformation historian at a Lutheran college, he said, Why are you reading something that stupid and suggested Luther by Lyndal Roper So, I switched to something respectable. Good read overall Not to be controversial, but I thought the prologue and epilogue alone were enough to get a good feel for the impact of Luther s life If you don t have time to read the whole book Overall, this was a good picture of how God used a deeply flawed man who was willing to stand up to systematic oppression, and changed the course of history in the process. First sentence There is no beginning to the story of Martin Luther.I have read a good many biographies of Martin Luther in recent years Some have been short Some have been long Some have focused on the historical Some have focused solely on the theological Some have been compelling Some have been boring.I ll be honest Concise isn t always better There is such a thing as keeping Luther s life story so basic, so simple, so compact that it becomes dull, dry, BORING The problem isn t that Luther led a dull life with hardly anything ever happening Far from it The problem is that putting Martin Luther into context historically, spiritually, theologically takes a lot of words and details Rob a biography of good, substantive, meaty details, and it becomes dull Metaxas biography thrives on details Readers need details not just about Martin Luther himself but about everything Luther cannot be understood apart from his times, apart from his contemporaries, apart from his writings Can Luther be understood fully Can any man or woman be understood fully Any biographer who thinks they have grasped everything there is to grasp and know everything there is to know, and can explain the inner workings of Luther s heart and mind from birth to death aren t to be trusted Luther is not simple His biography shouldn t be simple either.I would definitely recommend this one I found it a compelling read, though not a quick one The bad news Metaxas chapters are super long This almost forces you to slow down your reading to take time with the text That s also the good news There is something to be said for going slow and steady through a book Martin Luther is worth spending time with, worth engaging And you just don t get that when you rush through a book.In a world in which we nearly always associate the Bible with churches and churches with the Bible it is difficult to imagine a time when the two had almost no connection That this changed so dramatically is yet another measure of Luther s immense impact on history 52 By the time Luther entered the monastic life, the one book that novices were allowed to read was in fact the Bible We know that immediately upon entering the monastery, Luther was lent one that was bound in red leather, for he recollected this often in his later years It seems that Luther did not receive the book lightly, for he not only read it but almost devoured it 53 Strangely enough, once a novice became a monk, he was no longer allowed to keep his Bible At that point, he must limit himself to only reading scholarly books, and those while in his cell It seems that only in Luther s private time in the library of the monastery did he have access to the Bible after his novitiate Staupitz saw that for Luther the Bible was not a book like Aristotle s Ethics or like a volume of Livy or Cicero It was the living Word of God and therefore could not be read like any other book It was inspired by God, and when one read it, one must do so in such a way with such closeness and intimacy that one fully intended to feel and smell the breezes of heaven If one missed this aspect, one missed the whole point For Staupitz, to read any other book like this was to be a fool, but to read the Bible in any other way than this was to be twice the fool 68 Therefore, one must not merely see what the devil could see, which is to say the words on a page, but see what only God could see and would reveal to those who desired it, which was in the words and around them too 77 The difference between Luther and many other Christians in this is that he is not afraid to make explicit what is clearly implicitly understood The idea that all Bible verses are technically equal by dint of being part of the Word of God should not prohibit us from saying that some verses are important than others Some would say that we can somehow find the Gospel in every jot and tittle of Scripture, because it is alive and should not be read the way we read other books, but even if this is the case, we will look much harder in some verses than in others, where it is on the very surface for everyone to see 293 If ever there was a moment where it can be said the modern world was born, and where the future itself was born, surely it was in that room on April 18 at Worms The teachings and actions of Martin Luther are arguably some of the most important in all of history Whether you agree with his teachings or not, what Martin Luther did shaped so much of history And much like Martin Luther s life, this biography is so important It s an important read for those wanting to better grasp the Protestant faith or just to better grasp modern history Eric Metaxas does a great job giving an unbiased recount of one of the world s most influential people, while backing it up with a ton of research I learned so much from this book Highly recommend
In a decidedly eclectic career, Eric Metaxas has written for VeggieTales, Chuck Colson, Rabbit Ears Productions and the New York Times, four things not ordinarily in the same sentence He is a best selling author whose biographies, children s books, and works of popular apologetics have been translated into than 25 languages.
- 480 pages
- Martin Luther
- Eric Metaxas
- 01 October 2018 Eric Metaxas