Author(s): Lyndal Roper
When on 31 October 1517 an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to the church door in a small German university town, he set in motion a process that ushered in the modern age. His attempts to reform Christianity would split the Western Church, divide Europe and polarise people's beliefs, leading to religious persecution, social unrest and war; in the long run his ideas would help break the grip of religion on every sphere of life. Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts; a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language; a married ex-monk who liberated human sexuality from the stigma of sin; a religious fundamentalist, Jew-hater and political reactionary. An acclaimed historian and a brilliant biographer, Lyndal Roper reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.
The first historical biography, for many decades, of Martin Luther (1483-1546), whose rebellion against the authority of the Church helped to create the modern world.
Lyndal Roper holds the prestigious chair of Regius Professor of History at Oxford: she is one of the most respected historians at work in Britain today. An expert on early modern Germany, her previous books include a study of witchcraft, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany (Yale, 2004).