Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review of Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings edited by Timothy F. Lull and William R. Russell

Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings (Third Edition)
edited by Timothy F. Lull and William R. Russell
ISBN 978-0-8006-9883-6
Fortress Press
Reviewed by Clint Walker

For several years now, I have become more interested in what the Reformer Martin Luther had to say in his writings. The problem is, I have not had any idea where to start in Luther's writings to hear what he had to say in his own words. So, when it became possible for me to get a copy of the new edition of the reader Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, I jumped at the opportunity.

For ease of reading, this collection of Luther's writings is organized thematically. This allows readers to quickly study what Martin Luther said on a certain subject, without having to wade through the chronological development of his thoughts. The subjects covered includes Luther's contributions to the academic disciplines of biblical studies, ethics, and theology, as well as more detailed discussion of certain issues, such as the sacraments, reform, and the nature of the gospel.

As is the case with many of the high quality academic works that Fortress publishes, the "extras" in the book are especially well done, and make the text even better. I especially enjoyed the timeline of the works of Luther in the front of the book, as well as glossary in the back.

Many of the entries in this book are excerpts from larger works by Luther. Other chapters contain entire "pamphlets" teaching about something or pursuading someone to a certain position. Together, the selections chosen give a well rounded picture of Luther as a man, a leader, a churchman, and theologian.

I think this book would be helpful for a number of people. For pastors who are like me, and believe that a pastor should be a pastor/theologian, this book will be great for becoming more familiar with Luther and his thought. For teachers and students in search of a textbook on Luther, this would be a great resource as well.

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