Biography Of James Kittelson 's ' Luther The Reformer '

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“Luther the Reformer”: A Review
James Kittelson’s “Luther the Reformer” was published in 1986 by Augsburg Publishing House. In his preface, he writes “The year 1983 [the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth] then brought with it an additional avalanche of exhibitions, commemorations, lectures, festivals, articles, and still more new books…such is the enduring importance of Luther the reformer.” This may be worth noting. Kittelson’s book is likely included in this avalanche! The assertion that Kittelson may have been swept up in a flurry of enthusiasm for Luther would not be unfounded, which may lead some to disregard this work as a mere product of a fad. I must propose that even if this were true, the book is unlike any other written in that time frame. Kittelson, regardless of his motivation for writing when he did, has explicitly stated his motivation for writing what he did: “The primary purpose of this book is to tell the story of Martin Luther to readers who are not specialists in the field of Luther studies…” Better still, he delivers.
Kittelson describes in his preface multiple issues with other biographers’, theologians’, and even psychologists’ attempts to write biographies of Luther. Biographers often ignore certain periods of Luther’s life altogether; theologians treat him as if he were a disembodied mind floating outside the world in which he lived; psychologists reduce Luther’s behavior to a byproduct of his psyche. Kittelson’s approach is different: he treats

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