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Selections from His Writings (Anchor Library of Religion) Paperback – 31 Aug 1988

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Martin Luther wishes the sincere reader salvation! Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction to Luther 3 Feb 2004
By FJC - Published on
Format: Paperback
I think this is just about the best introduction to Luther's writing around. It covers a pretty broad range of his writing, and seems to give a pretty good introduction to his theology and thought. Incidentally, "Freedom of a Christian" is worth the purchase price alone. It is simply the best discussion of faith and works that I have ever read. It is immenseley clarifying. I would recommend this highly, particularly since it is so inexpensive.
43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
One of the best Lutheran books I've ever run across! 19 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderful introduction to Martin Luther! If you're thirsty for his writings, this is the book you should start with. Searching for books by him usually turns up many expensive volumes, meant for preachers, not laymen. That's why I'm so glad I found this book. It's laid out perfectly, to give you a wonderful idea of who Luther was, the Reformation, and, most importantly, his theology. Every Lutheran should be firmly introduced to Luther (no matter how obvious it seems, it doesn't happen enough), especially those fundamentalists of the Missouri Synod and Lutheran Brethren who have drifted so far from him and the Gospel of Christ. This is a wonderful book. Take it from an ELCA pastor. This book will show you. I'm seriously considering giving a copy to each of my confirmation students every year. Let Grace reign, not legalism and judgement.
21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Denying Papal Bull 25 Oct 2001
By Gary Sprandel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dillenberger presents a selections of treatises, Biblical commentaries, and sermons sensibly arranged with a good introduction. Two missing works were the Small Catechism and his speech at the Diet of Worms ("Here I stand ... I cannot do otherwise"). In three key works from 1520 "An appeal to the ruling class of German Nationality", "The Pagan Servitude of the Church" and "The Freedom of a Christian", Luther develops (re-discovers?) the doctrine of justification by faith and emphasis on Scripture. Luther steers from a legalistic life of a Christian ("Beware lest you make Christ into a Moses"). He vigorously attacks the practice of indulgences, Papal Supremacy and the papal court: "At present there is a crawling mass of reptiles, all claiming to pay allegiance to the Pope, but Babylon never saw the life of these miscreants". At times he practices his own demagoguery; of St. James he does "not hold it to be of apostolic authorship".
Luther attempts to remove the differences between cleric and public classes by opening the Eucharist to everyone and his German Bible made Scripture available to German peasantry. Luther grants spiritual rights to the individual, and states importance of the Christian community, but he did not extend this politically, and should not be viewed as advocating political democracy. The "Appeal to the ruling class" was popular among the nobility because it provided justification for not sending money to Rome.
After reading St. Augustine's Confessions, it is interesting to see how this Augustinian monk extends the idea of grace. The works on free will were the most paradoxical for me. He seems to argue both that without grace man is incapable of free will, but also that "God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Essential and Accessible Volume 16 Jun 2011
By Bror Erickson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Martin Luther, Selections from His Writings
Edited by John Dillenberger
I've owned this book for quite some time, and find myself returning to it often if nothing else for its accessibility. I have many different versions of Many of Luther's works, including several in German and Latin, and in Electronic format the "Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings (w/ CD-ROM)" put out by Fortress and CPH. But this volume is just more convenient when I'm being lazy. I do think that for the English Speaking Lutheran Laity, there isn't anything better that I have seen. It's a good little volume that introduces a person to the more essential writings of Luther. Those writings that have been most influential, these include ""The Pagan Servitude of the Church" "Secular Authority: To what Extent It Should be Obeyed" "The Freedom of a Christian (absolutely essential reading for Lutherans) and "Two Kinds of Righteousness"
I would include here "The Bondage of the Will" except that it is truncated by a man who does not understand Luther, same for "A Commentary on St. Paul's epistle To the Galatians.' Concerning these two volumes it is better to pick up the more complete versions, even if translated by reformed translators, and read them in total, rather than allow them to be butchered by men who don't share Luther's theology, but actually reject it.
That is the weakness of this volume. The editor is reformed and lets his biases show. Perhaps he is just ignorant and not malicious when he doesn't see that the "The Heidleberg Disputation""On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology)" presents "Luther's theology of the cross" that was the heart of the his reformation activities forming it from beginning to end. But it does illustrate the problem, and makes one very suspicious, and rightfully so, of what he left out in his truncation of the Bondage of the Will. One who does not understand "The Heidleberg Disputation" will not begin to understand "The Bondage of the Will,", which Calvinists like only because they refuse to understand it, or take it with the seriousness it deserves.
I suspect that if a Lutheran had selected the writings for a book like this there would be some overlap, but perhaps there would be a little more concerning the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Perhaps they would even include the Luther's Small Catechism, with Explanation. Furthermore, probably needed in an accessible form for laity is Luther's Treatise "Christians Can Be Soldiers." But it is to the shame of Lutheran Publishers that they haven't put a reader like this together, at least not one that I have seen, which is as remotely accessible as this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Classic Luther Texts--Mostly From His Earlier Career 2 April 2013
By Timothy P. Dost - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dillenberger is a fine collection of classic earlier Luther texts with a few examples from his later career. One will find here the basics of Luther's teaching at a reasonable cost and in an agreeable format. The texts cover both Luther's theological views and his views of reform by for the princes of his day. The text also includes his two most famous sets of theses, The Ninety Five Theses and the Theses for the Hiedelberg Disputation.

Freedom of a Christian Man does a great job of explaining Luther's view of the benefit of the Gospel in the life of the Christian, as well as the life that results.

Some of the writings, such as Bondage of the Will are abridged.

Brief introductions are provided to the various works.

I would like to see the Theses on Scholastic Theology from 1517 included. The writings are uniformly theological, and so do not include some of Luther's sharp and controversial polemics.

I teach Luther courses regularly, and still use this book as it provides the best source based information for the price.

For further reading, I also recommend the Theodore Tappert Volume from the Library of Christian Classics, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, to go with this volume. One might also productively read Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther for a more systematized treatment of his theology.
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