Martin Luther -- A Life by Martin Marty, Penguin '08 paperback, $14, 199 pages, ISBN #0143114301. For further reading, no index or source notes, b&w maps.
Bill Moyers calls Martin Marty "the most influential interpreter of American religion." Now, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago and author of 50 books tackles the life of the man who brought us the Protestant Reformation.
Marty sees Luther as "a man of conscience and courage who risked death to ignite historic reformation of the Church" and argues that his 95 theses changed the shape of Christianity and "gave rise to new freedoms in church and state." In exploring records of Luther's conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire, he finds "a man engaged in a lifelong passionate search for not only the grace of God but also for the assurance that it was directed toward each individual."
Marty divides his narrative into four sections: The Hunger for Certainty, 1483-1519; Defining the Life of Faith, 1520-1525; Living the Faith, 1525-1530; and The Heart Grown Cold, The Faith More Certain, 1530-1546.