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July 2016 Vol. 53 No. 11

Fortress Press/Augsburg Fortress

The following review appeared in the July 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email


2015-21161 CIP
Luther, Martin. The annotated Luther: v.1: The roots of reform; v.2: Word and faith, ed. by Timothy J. Wengert and Kirsi I. Stjerna with Hans J. Hillerbrand. Fortress, 2015. 2v indexes afp (The annotated Luther, 1) ISBN 9781451462692, $39.00; ISBN 9781451462708, $39.00.

With the sixth centennial of Martin Luther's 95 Theses approaching in 2017, Fortress Press is releasing the six-volume set of The Annotated Luther; thus far, two volumes have appeared.  The first tracks Luther's path from 1517 to 1520, when the Reformer was developing his own distinctive theology and becoming alienated from Rome.  Among the texts included are Luther's account of the 1518 Diet of Augsburg, To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, and The Freedom of a Christian (the latter two both dated 1520).  The second volume includes texts concerning the word of God and justification by faith.  Among them is Luther's attack on the theologian Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, who wanted faster reform of worship.  This polemic shows fear of rash reforms and abuses Luther's opponent.  Also included is The Bondage of the Will (1525), part of Luther's dispute with the humanist Erasmus, who defended free will.  The political aspects of the Reformation appear in the 1538 Smalcald Articles, responding to the papal call for a reforming council.  An appendix provides brief biographies of the theologians who subscribed to the Articles.

The project is based on the Weimar Ausgabe of Luther's works, while updating translations from Luther's Works (1955–1986), also available on CD-ROM (CH, Jan'03, 40-2739).  The entire collection and each volume have introductions.  Each work is prefaced with indications of origins and diffusion.  Atop footnotes indicating sources and textual issues, the editors provide extensive marginal notes for each work, explaining its historical context and contents, making it easier to understand them.  Maps of Europe and Germany are provided, as are illustrations.  The individual volumes have indexes of biblical citations, names, works by Luther, and topics.  Volumes 3 and 4 are scheduled for release in 2016.

--T. M. Izbicki, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.