A rigorous, knowledgeable portrait of Luther which offers more context and less drama than the Fosdick biography in the Landmark series and is therefore better suited to the more mature student. The first chapter is a somewhat demanding because far-reaching examination of the state of affairs in Germany and in the Church, of earlier reformers and the religious revival, and of the concurrent intellectual revival, the Renaissance, concluding with a few remarks on Erasmus and why the Renaissance became the Reformation in the north. The events and, more important, the spiritual crisis in Luther's life which led to his grasp of ""justification by faith alone"" are clearly and soberly presented. So is the criticism of indulgences and pilgrimages (the ""Ninety-five Theses""), the debate with Eck which forced Luther to name Scripture as the only authority, the writings that, printed and widely distributed, brought papal condemnation. The rest, truly, is history, and through much of the conflict and consolidation that follows Luther is overshadowed by events. But not before he has reined in the radicals and railed at the Peasant Revolt, and not while he composes the catechisms and the hymns, marries a runaway nun and keeps an open-hearted house. Altogether an effective introduction to the man, his beliefs, and his influence by a specialist in the period.