Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton is a biography of the life and times of theologian Martin Luther, an influential figure in European Christian history. Bainton is very articulate as he explains the 16th century settings, happenings, and people surrounding Luther. Beginning with the life of a young Luther, the book is a chronicle of the events that explicates Luther’s contributions to the Protestant Reformation.
Rarely can a researcher explain a classic subject that is translated from one language into another that has a readable style as Bainton did within the book. Bainton used primary sources-- summaries of Luther's writings-- and observed an exceptional culture ...view middle of the document...
” Also, he took pleasure in sexual matters and, “Some historians have therefore asserted that he must have been a very great sinner and that in all likelihood his sins had to do with sex, where offenses are the least capable of any rectification.”
Why is Martin Luther important for what we are studying in the course?
At one point, facts concerning Luther and the Lutheran Reformation were doubted. Bainton’s book changed Luther’s perception to the world. As the Titus Street Professor of ecclesiastical history at Yale, Bainton, transformed modern day Catholics view of Luther. As a Protestant, Luther believed that a person’s experience with God was personal. Along with other Protestant, he professed that, “Inevitably the Protestant emphasized the individual and the individual religious experience; inevitably the details of the believer's inner life were of as much interest as the details of his acts. As a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he.’”
Bainton’s book answers the questions of who, when, how and what motivated Luther over the course of his life to challenge the Catholic Church?
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther is important to the study of the religious literature because it conveys the importance of Luther’s abhorrence of Catholic dogma. Bainton explains Luther’s dislike of opulence and lavishness during the 16th century and was never supremely concerned with any of the blessing and nuisances of this mortal life. Bainton captures Luther’s love for his God and explains how his unwavering faith was a major contribution to the Protestant Reformation.
What were the catalysts that convinced Martin Luther to rebel against the Roman Catholic Church? Luther grew tired of the indulgences that the church promised to people. In the Roman Catholic Church, “An indulgence is the pardon of temporal punishment due for sin. It is to be distinguished from absolution and the forgiveness of guilt.” Luther believed that the custom of granting indulgences as a merit for a performed penance encouraged moral laxity.
Because of Luther’s objection to the exploitation of indulgences, he eventually rejected Roman Catholic teachings altogether.
Analysis of why the book is important for the study of history
Bainton describes the historical events that facilitated Luther's philosophy prior, during, and following the Reformation which dates back to the 14th century culture. “Culture’ is defined as the realm of the spontaneous, including ‘social intercourse, technologies, arts, literatures and sciences.” Some scholars may refer to cultural changes as a crisis, depending on their perspective; however, the fact of the matter is transformations occur with time. Western civilization can be organized into three powers: the state, religion, and culture and their reciprocal interactions. The cultural and social factors that contributed to the 14th century crisis of western civilization were agricultural changes and famine, heavy taxation that caused a silver...