A World Ablaze
October 2017 marks five hundred years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg and launched the Protestant Reformation. At least, that's what the legend says. But with a figure like Martin Luther, who looms so large in the historical imagination, it's hard to separate the legend from the life, or even sometimes to separate assorted legends from each other. Over the centuries, Luther the man has given way to Luther the icon, a polished bronze figure on a pedestal.In A World Ablaze, Craig Harline introduces us to the flesh-and-blood Martin Luther. Harline tells the riveting story of the first crucial years of the accidental crusade that would make Luther a legendary figure. He didn't start out that way; Luther was a sometimes-cranky friar and professor who worried endlessly about the fate of his eternal soul. He sought answers in the Bible and the Church fathers, and what he found distressed him even more -- the way many in the Church had come to understand salvation was profoundly wrong, thought Luther, putting millions of souls, not least his own, at risk of damnation. His ideas would pit him against numerous scholars, priests, bishops, princes, and the Pope, even as others adopted or adapted his cause, ultimately dividing the Church against itself. A World Ablaze is a tale not just of religious debate but of political intrigue, of shifting alliances and daring escapes, with Luther often narrowly avoiding capture, which might have led to execution. The conflict would eventually encompass the whole of Christendom and served as the crucible in which a new world was forged.The Luther we find in these pages is not a statue to be admired but a complex figure -- brilliant and volatile, fretful and self-righteous, curious and stubborn. Harline brings out the immediacy, uncertainty, and drama of his story, giving readers a sense of what it felt like in the moment, when the ending was still very much in doubt. The result is a masterful recreation of a momentous turning point in the history of the world.

A World Ablaze Details

TitleA World Ablaze
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN-139780190275181
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Religion, Reference

A World Ablaze Review

  • BHodges
    January 1, 1970
    Craig Harline is more than a great historian. He's a fantastic storyteller. His new book about Martin Luther is a real page-turner. I didn't expect to be using adjectives like gripping, heart-pounding, and funny, but here I am. It's a perfect introduction to "Brother Martin" for beginners, but I imagine even longtime specialists on the Reformation will genuinely enjoy and benefit from this freshly-told narrative. That's hard to do, and Harline seems to pull it off with ease. Highly recommended! Craig Harline is more than a great historian. He's a fantastic storyteller. His new book about Martin Luther is a real page-turner. I didn't expect to be using adjectives like gripping, heart-pounding, and funny, but here I am. It's a perfect introduction to "Brother Martin" for beginners, but I imagine even longtime specialists on the Reformation will genuinely enjoy and benefit from this freshly-told narrative. That's hard to do, and Harline seems to pull it off with ease. Highly recommended!
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  • Rick Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    This is an incredibly detailed and sometimes too detailed account of the rise of Martin Luther. There were times I thought that I did not need to know who was there, the roads taken or the clothing worn. However, that aside, this is a very readable history of one of the great peaceful revolutions of western history. I was not aware that Luther wrote so much. So much, in fact, that a historian like Mr. Harline could write in such detail about the events, characters and theology.Mr. Harline's writ This is an incredibly detailed and sometimes too detailed account of the rise of Martin Luther. There were times I thought that I did not need to know who was there, the roads taken or the clothing worn. However, that aside, this is a very readable history of one of the great peaceful revolutions of western history. I was not aware that Luther wrote so much. So much, in fact, that a historian like Mr. Harline could write in such detail about the events, characters and theology.Mr. Harline's writing had a certain light touch. This allowed the theological to be as readable and comprehensible as the historical account. One learns that there was far more to Luther's "heresy: than just the 95 theses tacked on a church door. He was the root of "Lutheranism" and the "Protestant" religions. He was also very human although a part of him may have wanted to have his blood shed as a saintly martyr. Equally captivating as his life is the incredible corruption of the ruling class in and out of the church during the "Dark Ages".This is a fine history recommended for anyone with an interest in church history and the Middle Ages.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "A World Ablaze" focused on Martin Luther's life between Oct. 31, 1517 (when his 95 theses were posted on the church door in Wittenberg) to the Diet of Worms, his "exile" at Wartburg, and his return to Wittenberg in the spring of 1522. There was also a chapter summarizing Luther's life before this time and a chapter summarizing what happened afterward (until his death).The author summarized the gist of what Luther wrote and believed during this period, but the focus was equally on the political "A World Ablaze" focused on Martin Luther's life between Oct. 31, 1517 (when his 95 theses were posted on the church door in Wittenberg) to the Diet of Worms, his "exile" at Wartburg, and his return to Wittenberg in the spring of 1522. There was also a chapter summarizing Luther's life before this time and a chapter summarizing what happened afterward (until his death).The author summarized the gist of what Luther wrote and believed during this period, but the focus was equally on the political situation surrounding Luther. We got details about the various meetings that Luther went to and short biographies about the major players, like Frederick the Wise and the Pope. The book wasn't really about the theological issues (why Luther believed what he believed) but rather the impact those ideas had. The author wrote for the average person, and he tried to inject humor into the subject. Unfortunately, that humor usually had me rolling my eyes rather than laughing, but it may appeal to other people. Overall, I enjoyed this book.I received an ARC review copy of this book from the publisher through Amazon Vine.
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