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The Freedom of a Christian [Paperback]

Martin Luther , Mark D. Tranvik

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Book Description

1 Aug 2008
Perhaps no work of Martin Luther's so captures the revolutionary zeal and theological boldness of his vision as The Freedom of a Christian. Yet, it is not easily accessible today. Mark Tranvik's new translation of Luther's treatise brings alive the social, historical, and ecclesial context of Luther's treatise. Key Features: An informative Introduction that lays out the context of Luther's writing A modern, student-friendly translation of the text of Luther's Letter to Pope Leo X and The Freedom of a Christian Frequent headings to guide the student's reading and comprehension Student-oriented notes to explain theological controversies and terms A glossary of key theological and ecclesial terms A map of Reformation Europe in the 16th Century Ten black and white illustrations A short "For Further Reading" list This is the first of a set of student guides to key Reformation treatises by Martin Luther, concentrating on those most widely used in college settings.

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"This translation is a real service to the profession: fine and clear, accurate and faithful to Luthers tone without being stiff. The notes are just right: not too many or too long. Ideal for students." -- Andrew Gow, University of Alberta "With a few key primary sources, [Helfferich] introduces the Reformation in all its complexity. While emphasizing the centrality of religion and belief in the Reformation movementincluding key theological concepts of Luther and the mainstream Reformation, of Catholic theologians, and of Muntzer and the more radical elements in the Reformationthe texts collected in this volume also introduce readers to its social, cultural, and economic aspects, topics of so much of the recent scholarship on the Reformation. "The work includes an excellent general Introduction that, in a lucid and systematic manner, presents the reader with those key aspects of the period's Christian thought and practice against which Luther would react in On the Freedom of a Christian. And although individually brief, the cumulative effect of the various introductions [to each related text] is to provide the reader with a broad range of information about the Reformation in general. Robert J. Christman, Luther College "The translations are accurate and clear, and the introductory essay does a wonderful job of distilling complicated theological controversies into terms that are comprehensible by an undergraduate audience. The edition's greatest asset, though, is the range of texts that it includes. By including works by Luther's Catholic opponents and his erstwhile allies, this edition demonstrates that On the Freedom of a Christian represented not only a high point in Luther's thought, but also a starting point in a debate that spanned Christendom and had massive social and political implications." Philip Haberkern, Boston University "A highly readable translation, with excellent contextualization and annotation." Joel F. Harrington, Vanderbilt University --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author

John Frymire is Assistant Professor of History, University of Missouri. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Luther accessible to a whole new generation! 7 July 2009
By Shaun Tabatt - Published on Amazon.com
An unfortunate circumstance in our age of media and information overload is that students are more informed on modern trends and popular culture than they are of history. This lack of exposure to history can be a real handicap to students as they labor through the writings of theological giants like Calvin, Luther, and others. In order to bridge this gap, publishers are producing many reader's and study editions of important works in order to make these writings accessible to a whole new generation. Hats off to Fortress Press for doing just that, with this updated edition of Martin Luther's The Freedom of a Christian: Luther Study Edition.

Mark D. Tranvik puts twenty plus years of teaching Martin Luther's The Freedom of a Christian to work in bringing us this most excellent Luther study edition. This volume offers an updated translation as well as very thorough footnotes and commentary. With these helps as their guide, readers with minimal exposure to Luther's writings and their historical context will be able to follow along with relative ease. I particularly enjoyed the introductory chapter titled Martin Luther's Road to Freedom. It gives the reader a good idea of the extent to which the fear of death and the devil dominated the culture of the sixteenth century. This chapter also offers a brief biographical sketch of the life of Martin Luther and as the title of the chapter suggests, his road to freedom.

The remainder of the book is comprised of two parts. First is Luther's letter to Pope Leo X in which he notes that he has dedicated his short essay on the entire Christian life (i.e. The Freedom of a Christian) to Pope Leo. Second is Luther's essay titled The Freedom of a Christian. Here Luther explains his course of history altering understanding of the justification of sinners by faith and the good works that follow. Readers will also want to make use of the short glossary at the end of the book, which defines some of the important people, places, and concepts relevant to the essay.

All things considered, I must give this new edition of The Freedom of a Christian a rating of five stars. This updated edition will be useful for both a classroom setting and personal study. Those long acquainted with Luther and those discovering Luther for the first time will both benefit greatly from this new volume. Readers who enjoy this work will also want to consider Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, 2nd Edition (Fortress Press, 2005).

Mark D. Tranvik is Associate Professor of Religion at Augsburg Fortress College, Minneapolis, and director of the Lilly Endowment Program on vocation there.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Martin Luther 11 May 2009
By Jill Meilahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is billed as the most important of Luther's writings, next to his Small Catechism. It was written before he was excommunicated from the Catholic church and also contains his letter to Pope Leo. This book was enlightening, even to a life long Lutheran, and stimulated much discussion about our beliefs and their basis in our book club. The translation is quite readable (some of our group were worried about reading something written in the 16th century). I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know the basis of the Lutheran Church, written in the words of Luther himself.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 23 April 2009
By By God's Grace - Published on Amazon.com
A great distinction of the biblical dichotomies of master and servant, of freedom and bondage, and of the inner person (what a person in Christ Jesus is constructed of) and the outer person (what a person in Christ Jesus is constructed for). About 45 pages and includes editorial footnotes. Written in 1520 and continues to be quite applicable.

The book also includes 12 pages containing a letter from Martin Luther to Pope Leo X, written in the year 1520.

(Written in 1520; this publication and binding was in 2008)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 23 May 2011
By Mark A. Wuebben - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first part includes an amazing letter Luther sent to the Pope. It quickly reveals the extensive familiarity of Luther with scripture - he knew it inside-out and could weave and connect Old Testament passages with those in the New and apply them with clarity and frankness. His insight makes it appear as if God himself explained the Word to Luther. Don't miss the context - imagine yourself writing to the most powerful spiritual leader of today and questioning and exhorting him (at a time when the pope was bowed down to and treated as a god). There are some statements in the letter that must have made the pope squirm. I kept imagining the pope's facial expressions as he read the letter - oh to be a fly on the wall at that time. Luther is refreshingly direct and candid. His explanations make even deep material understandable. Luther is a master at explaining and discussing faith in real terms. "Faith" was not a catch word or cliche' with Luther. All to often today, this huge and mysterious concept of faith is treated too casually. This is a work that not only edifies and teaches, it inspires. Luther did not blindly accept what he was told by authorities. He went to the source - God and the Word. He trusted God always over man but not in an arrogant or rebellious way. The Bible exhorts us to "test" the spirits and messages we hear. 1 John 4. Finally, it is not often that in reading spiritual treatises I find myself smiling or laughing but, Luther is so enjoyable and frank, its a natural response. Read, enjoy and learn. It is wonderful to have scholars who accurately and faithfully bring us translations of master works.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting the classics 26 April 2011
By Aquestrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Our book club is reading the classic works that are the foundation for modern thought and philosophy. This book, less often read than his 95 theses, is a bit more "enlightening" about how he and others of his time thought.
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