Luther: Man Between God And The Devil: Book Analysis

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Oberman takes an unusual and unconventional approach in the structure of Luther: Man Between God and the Devil. Unlike most biographies, the book does not follow a clear chronological order of Luther’s life from birth to death. For example, the Prologue begins with Luther on his deathbed, uttering his final words. Often, Oberman’s formatting and order of events may seem random; however, this keeps the reader engaged in the book. Instead of a chronological approach to Luther’s life, Oberman decided to divide his book down into three different section, with a total of eleven chapters. Each section covers an aspect of the Reformation and include, The Longed-for Reformation, The Unexpected Reformation and The Reformation in Peril. Part One of …show more content…
The large number and variety allows for a more thorough and diverse examination of Luther. For example, in the Notes section of the book, Oberman includes all of the documents and sources he used in creating this book. The list of sources begins on page 331 and ends on page 354. The sources are broken down by chapter, so it is easier to locate where Oberman uses the particular source. Furthermore, most sources Oberman uses are German books written during the 1900s that include numerous primary sources, explanations, and quotes from documents written during the 1500s. Also, Oberman utilizes primary documents such as a letter from Jan Hus (Oberman, 1989, p. 333) and a rhyme Luther mentions (Oberman, 1989, p. 338). In addition to the citation of sources used, Oberman includes a list in the front of the book of the illustrations he used. Many of the illustrations used highlight significant events and people during Luther’s time. For example, Oberman includes a drawing from 1530 of a clergyman trying to sell indulgences to a commoner, as well as portraits from 1526 of Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina Luther. Through the use of various written and illustrated sources, Oberman is able to achieve his goal of providing a thorough overview of Luther’s …show more content…
However, Oberman tended to be wordy at points and a bit repetitive. Furthermore, Chapter I was a complicated chapter to comprehend, even though it did set forth the political background for the era of Luther. The chapter was overwhelming as it mentioned numerous names, dates, and events that the reader may have no previous information on. However, the remainder of the book became easier to read and understand as it chronicled Luther’s life and sought to explain how his childhood and past experiences effected his actions and theology. Personally, as I began reading the book I was not interested or intrigued in the life of Luther. I thought the book was too complicated and dense, especially for someone vaguely unfamiliar with Luther and the Reformation. However, as I continued to read on, I began to appreciate the way Oberman illustrated Luther in his humanity. Luther became not just another figure who affected history, but he became a real person with unique personality traits and thoughts, as well as many flaws. In conclusion, I approached Luther with low expectations and ended up with an appreciation and deeper understanding of who Martin Luther truly

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