A major new account of the most intensely creative years of Luther's career.
The Making of Martin Luther takes a provocative look at the intellectual emergence of one of the most original and influential minds of the sixteenth century. Richard Rex traces how, in a concentrated burst of creative energy in the few years surrounding his excommunication by Pope Leo X in 1521, this lecturer at an obscure German university developed a startling new interpretation of the Christian faith that brought to an end the dominance of the Catholic Church in Europe. Luther’s personal psychology and cultural context played their parts in the whirlwind of change he unleashed. But for the man himself, it was always about the ideas, the truth, and the Gospel.
Focusing on the most intensely important years of Luther’s career, Rex teases out the threads of his often paradoxical and counterintuitive ideas from the tangled thickets of his writings, explaining their significance, their interconnections, and the astonishing appeal they so rapidly developed. Yet Rex also sets these ideas firmly in the context of Luther’s personal life, the cultural landscape that shaped him, and the traditions of medieval Catholic thought from which his ideas burst forth.
Lucidly argued and elegantly written, The Making of Martin Luther is a splendid work of intellectual history that renders Luther’s earthshaking yet sometimes challenging ideas accessible to a new generation of readers.
Richard Rex is professor of Reformation history at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Queens’ College. His books include Tudors: The Illustrated History and Henry VIII and the English Reformation. He lives in Cambridge.
1 Wittenberg 1517 1
2 From Erfurt to Wittenberg 22
3 The Catholic Luther 45
4 The Quest for Certainty 69
5 Intimations of Antichrist 96
6 Luther and Eck 108
7 Rome and Wittenberg 135
8 Worms and the Wartburg 159
9 The Beginning and End of Reformation 184
10 The Meaning of Martin Luther 211