In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Martin Luther

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Historiography
  • Journals
  • Editions of Luther’s Works
  • Biographies
  • The Later Luther
  • Luther Behind the Iron Curtain
  • Luther Today

Renaissance and Reformation Martin Luther
Hans Hillerbrand, Wladyslaw Roczniak
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 May 2010
  • LAST MODIFIED: 10 May 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0057


There is no arguing the centrality of Martin Luther (b. 1483–d. 1546) to the story of the Reformation. Though other reformers both preceded and followed this Wittenberg monk and theologian, Luther’s personal stamp on the course of events left indelible marks that have been the province of spiritual and intellectual pursuit and research since the time of his death. At first a servant of the Catholic Church, then its most unflinching challenger, Luther’s stand became a watershed event that defined an era and still defies easy interpretation. Loved for his vision, originality, and courage, hated for his deference to princes and seeming intolerance, exalted and condemned alike, his life a parable or a parody of one individual’s unyielding stand against authority, the story of Luther, illuminated by his vivid experiences and provocative theological insights, has provided substance for a thorough and ongoing analysis by both historians and theologians. As one of the great historical personages of any era, Luther towers over the course of the Reformation.


A number of bibliographic tools are available for Luther researchers and scholars, ranging from straight bibliographies to more advanced research tools that approach the Wittenberg reformer’s works from varying methodological perspectives. For an example of the former, see Aland 1996. As for the latter, Danz and Leonhardt 2008 offers a listing of publications analyzing the reception of Luther’s thought from the 18th to the 20th century. This reception is also the subject of Beutel 2005. For a listing of major themes in Luther’s output, look to Beutel 2006 and McKim 2003.

  • Aland, Kurt. Hilfsbuch zum Lutherstudium. Bielefeld, Germany: Luther-Verlag, 1996.

    A comprehensive listing of all of Luther’s writings arranged chronologically with indication of editions.

  • Beutel, Albrecht, ed. Luther Handbuch. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.

    An introduction to current scholarly emphases on Luther’s life and thought. Discusses the historiography of Luther’s reception throughout the years, as well as particular questions relating to his life and work: his thoughts on Jews, women, Turks, institutions, and fellow reformers.

  • Beutel, Albrecht. Martin Luther: Eine Einführung in Leben, Werk und Wirkung. Leipzig, Germany: Evang. Verlags-Anstalt, 2006.

    A general introduction to the biographical, religious, and theological aspects of Luther and his literary production.

  • Danz, Christian, and Rochus Leonhardt, eds. Erinnerte Reformation: Studien zur Luther-Rezeption von der Aufklärung bis zum 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008.

    An analysis of the reception of Luther’s writings from the time of the Enlightenment to the 20th century.

  • McKim, Donald K., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther. Cambridge Companions to Religion. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    Historians and theologians present Luther’s major themes and the ways in which his ideas spread and continue to be important.

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