Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LUTHER - MAN BETWEEN GOD AND THE DEVIL by Heiko A. Oberman

In the conviction of adding to my knowledge of Luther and the Reformation, I embarked on a reading of Heiko Oberman's book Luther - Man Between God and the Devil (1982).  As I had intended in previous years, the book was started around the Reformation this past Fall (I often wanted to read something about Luther and the Reformation each Fall around the time of the Festival of the Reformation.)  With 330 pages to work through, it took me longer than expected to finish (Which was complicated by the lure of other books read and reviewed while I worked on this one.)  That is not to say that it was heavy or overly technical.  The truth is, this book was a joy to read.  It provided a wealth of insights into Martin Luther, and having now completed the book I realize I'll need to reread it again to truly absorb many of the author's points.  Given that this was a translation from the original German, I was impressed that the text did not read in a wooden way, but felt fresh from beginning to end.  Oberman tells the story of Luther, as the subtitle indicates, from the theme of conflict with the devil.  This does not become as evident in the early part of the book, but once in, the theme is brought to the fore again and again.  Aside from this, Oberman also notes that the sense that Luther lived in the last days also dominated this thinking.  Oberman, while trying to bring Luther alive to a modern audience, was also careful to describe him in the context of his own time.  From my vantage point he succeeded.  Some books you read and leave.  Some you return to in the hope of gleaning material passed on the first time. This book fits the latter case.
Postscript: I have actually owned this book for many years.  Only now does it seem that I am making some effort to find lost treasures in the mass of books I have accumulated.  I am glad that I was able to finally finish this book just as the year is ending. Now on to another book!

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