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Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther Paperback – Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; Reprint edition (Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426754434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426754432
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,446,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

A biography of the German monk, whose protest against some of the doctrines of the Catholic Church led to the Protestant Reformation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this as a medical student dabbling in Theology for my degree many years ago. I found it enormously readable, intertwining Luther's theology and writings with the exciting events of his life. A great read and definitely the book I enjoyed reading the most studying the Reformation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 1 April 2005
Format: Paperback
I am reviewing the 1950, Mentor Books Fifteenth Printing.

This book is well laid out. Much of the material is in lecture form. There are twenty-two content headings, 12 page Bibliography, References, Source of Illustrations, and comprehensive Index. The illustrations are just that monochrome sketches.

Roland H. Bainton received an A.B. degree from Whitman College, and B.D. and Ph.D. degrees form Yale University and form Oberlin College, Dr. Theological Seminary and from Oberlin College. He is a Specialist in Reformation history.

There are many biography and reference books on Martin Luther, each with its own strength s and weaknesses. This one by Roland H. Bainton is pretty comprehensive and goes into more depth than most. Do not get out your highlighter or you will highlight every page.

This is the story of a religious leader who is well known for leading the Protestant Reformation. "I cannot...I will not...Recant! Here I Stand."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This biography depicts the charmed life that Martin Luther lived. He was the exception who broke with Rome and lived to tell the tale. And what a tale. And what a legacy. And that he eventually married and was father to some seven children. This publication is a must for anyone interested in the origins and spread of Protestantism. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 39 reviews
70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
COMPREHENSIVE YET CONCISE 1 Jun. 2000
By STEPHEN MATTOX - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Martin Luther is a monumental figure who lived during complex, tumultuous times, but Bainton delivers a biography that portrays his subject in a clear and concise manner.
The first part of this book deals with Luther's days as a monk, his crisis of faith, and the development of his theology that ultimately led to his break from Rome, spearheading the Reformation. The central portion of the book deals with the conflict with Rome, appropriate emphasis being given to the Diet of Worms. The greatest strength of this book is that the events of Luther's life, his words, and his work are always presented within their greater context. Not only is the Lutheran movement followed, but also much attention is given to the state of the Catholic Church during Luther's lifetime. Also given their proper attention are competing Protestant movements, humanism (particularly as pertaining to Erasmus), Anabaptism, the Peasant Revolt, and German nationalism.
Much of the book is of course spent discussing the theological issues that were at stake. As I read these passages a mental picture of a triangle emerged, with the three points being God, Man, and Church. Bainton does a good job of explaining how Luther, Rome, and other parties differed in their views as to the nature of each of these three entities, and more importantly how they differed in their views as to how these points of the triangle properly related to one another - God to Man, Man to Church, and Church to God (the three sides of the triangle if you will). My one complaint is that occasionally when discussing the finer theological points, Bainton will inject his opinion in such a way that it is difficult to tell if that opinion is shared by Luther. In those sections the book reads more like the transcript of a sermon than a biography.
The latter stages of the book get away from the conflict with Rome, and explore the contributions Luther made to the building of the new Protestant traditions. I enjoyed this section thoroughly because, after all, simply tearing down the old is no big trick; it's the creation of something new, something better that is the real test. Luther's contributions in translating the Bible to German, his writings, his musical compositions and other endeavors are all well covered by Bainton.
One note about Abingdon Classics: these are small paperbacks with very fine print. So if you have difficulty with small print, get the other paperback version or the hardback.
One final note: The bit about the triangle is purely my own invention; Bainton's discussion is not nearly so hackneyed. It's just how I got a handle on the issues, and how I could best discuss the theological passages of the book.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This Review Is For This Edition Only 1 Feb. 2013
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roland H. Bainton's biography of Martin Luther is considered by many to be the quintessential work on Luther's life, but this edition by Abingdon Press is frankly awful. Measuring roughly 6 and 7/8 inches by 4 and 1/8 inches and printed on REALLY cheap paper, the text is tiny to the point of being virtually unreadable; even reading glasses render the text only marginally acquirable. The book appears to have a grudge against the reader and seems determined to surrender its content only under protest, and after the reader's most determined efforts. Bainton's classic work deserves much better treatment than this.

My advice: Put out a few extra bucks and find an edition of this work which is actually readable.
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Good biography of a great man 31 July 2001
By Carl A. Redman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Time magazine labeled this book "the most readable Luther biography in English." This description isn't exactly flattering, but nonetheless, I did find this biography of Martin Luther "readable." In fact, I very much enjoyed this book.
Martin Luther is truly an amazing man. For those that know little or nothing about Luther, I would highly recommend this book. The book traces the life of Luther, from his 95 theses criticizing the Catholic church and the papacy to the Leipzig debate to the Diet of Worms. Along the way, Bainton outlines in detail the players and ideas of the Reformation. All angles of the movement are considered, including the different sects that break off from Luther's movement and also the ideas of Erasmus.
The parts of the biography that I most enjoyed were about Luther's personal life. Luther had a wonderful family and home that he led, and it was very interesting to read about his relationship with his wife and children. The chapter about Luther's struggle for faith and his bouts with depression was also very intriguing. The theme and title of the book is "Here I Stand," and by reading this book one becomes fully aware of how hard it was for Luther to stand up for what he believed, but also that what he stood up for is truly amazing and unbreakable.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
must read 16 July 2012
By sherri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I quote the advertising review: "Here is an outstanding modern contribution to religious literature - a vivid portrait of the man who, because of his unshakable faith in his God, helped to bring about the Protestant Reformation."
And not that I think that the Protestant Reformation was the be all, end all - by any stretch, or that Luther was right. However his strength and commitment (and those who chose to stand with him) broke the power of the catholic church over the western world and paved the way for people to be christians as the bible alone teaches. Without him, who knows where the world would be now.
A superb work on an amazing and inspiring man.
(A little hard going at first as it is written by an academic - but you get into the swing of it after a couple of chapters.) It's worth the perseverance IMO.

Near the top of my top ten christian books list.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant but flawed man 27 April 2014
By William - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is more than fifty years old but still accessible and full of insight into Martin Luther’s life and times. Early on, it is evident Bainton admires Luther very much – maybe a bit too much to take an honest and well-rounded approach to Luther, the man, in toto. My first significant exposure to Martin Luther was in Will Durant’s volume, “The Reformation”, (From his magnum opus, “The Story of Civilization”) a comprehensive look into the religious and secular conflicts that occurred during Luther’s time as well as before and after. From about 1376, when John Wycliffe – The so-called ‘Morningstar of the Reformation’ – posited his 18 theses urging the church to renounce temporal dominion: Rigid control of doctrinal issues, as dictated by the Pope and his bishops, over the populace to the point of absurdity. Wycliffe went on to translate the Vulgate Bible into English. All this was happening even as the Roman Catholic Church had two popes; one in Rome and one (antipope) in Avignon (The Western Schism, 1378-1418). As in Luther’s time, Wycliffe’s complaints led to a peasant’s revolt which Wycliffe strongly opposed. This all happened more than 130 years before Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. Wycliffe died before he could be tried and convicted but the Roman church fathers were not happy with his work; he and his body of work were eventually condemned by the church, post-mortem. While Wycliffe was a scholar, Luther was just a smart and stubborn monk. Beginning about 1402 – nearly 20 years after Wycliffe’s death, John Hus, a Czech clergyman, began to denounce church abuses and hubris. Unlike Wycliffe, Hus was tried, convicted and burned at the stake in 1415. His followers continued the fight by way of the Hussite wars and by the time Martin Luther came onto the scene, more than one hundred years later, up to 90% of the Czech populace were already de facto Protestants. October 31, 1517 is a popular starting point for many protestant Christians as the beginning of the Reformation. Wycliffe was, arguably, the first serious threat to Roman Catholic supremacy in Europe; although the Cathars began to break away from Catholic rule in the 12th century. The Roman Catholic Church annihilated the Cathars. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of men, women and children were slaughtered by French troops at the direction of the Vatican. The Cathars weren’t really Protestants, per se, they were more of a breakaway church tending to a more Manichean-style dualist sect.
Bainton does a fair job of describing Luther and his trials but he leaves a lot out – or he downplays Luther’s negatives. To be completely honest, Martin Luther hated the Jews. He despised them with such fervor that, in 1543, he wrote a book, “The Jews and Their Lies”, excoriating ALL Jews and strongly suggesting they all be deported from greater Germany and that their homes and properties be burned or otherwise destroyed – not a very forgiving kind of sentiment: “They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and these ‘poisonous envenomed worms’ should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. He also seems to advocate their murder, writing ‘[w]e are at fault in not slaying them’.
A key Renaissance figure, Desiderius Erasmus (a Dutch Humanist), was an on-again, off-again admirer of Luther but the two of them argued – primarily by way of correspondence – incessantly. Their arguments led Luther to come to despise Reason. His diatribes against Reason are shocking to 21st century thinkers: “Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason”. In another statement, Luther is unintentionally ironic: “This fool [Copernicus] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth”. So, Martin Luther, the great reformer, was also a foremost denier of science – not atypical of churchmen in his time. His blind adherence to literal interpretation of scripture completely clouded his innate ability to cogitate and evaluate secular ideas and theories. He was an unflinchingly hidebound theologian. Only John Calvin, who murdered more than two dozen people during his reign in Geneva, was more brutally rigid.
Most of the bios of Martin Luther (the ones I have read) seem to skip over Luther’s powerful prejudices and adherence to faith to the exclusion of anything and everything else. I think this is intentional; most of these books are written by theologians or Christian authors for Christian audiences. Yes, Luther stuck his neck out – he truly expected he would be killed by the Roman church (they didn’t do the actual killing, they farmed it out to the local authorities). He changed our world, no doubt. Any damage done by his hatred of Jews or science very likely had little impact on his world. Whether his writings impacted Nazi Germany, as Julius Streicher claimed, is arguable. And yet he was what he was. I think it’s only fair that Luther and Calvin be shown for what they are, warts and all. I don’t think it will have a deleterious effect on the faith of the Christian masses or seminarians.
I rated this book 3 of 5 possible stars. The takeaways were: Too much focus on doctrinal issues and arguments and not enough focus on Luther, the man, as a loving husband and father as well as a bigoted and intolerant cleric. I am reminded of a song by “The Who”, “Won’t get fooled again”. The lyric goes like this:
“Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss”
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