This first volume in Martin Brecht’s three-volume biography recounts Luther’s youth and young adulthood up to the period of the Diet of Worms. Brecht, in a clear, eloquent translation by James Schaaf, discusses Luther’s education at the University of Erfurt, his monastic life, his canonical trial in 1519, the Leipzig debate, and his earliest contributions to the beginning of the Reformation. Illustrations enrich the text.
“Christ has exchanged places with the sinner. This sounds in fact as if Luther had already broken through to the joyful certainty of justification. But then the letter again drives it home, ‘Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one. For Christ dwells only in sinners.’” (Page 157)
“Far more radically than did his teachers, he stated that theology had a logic different indeed from that of Aristotle. Nonetheless, Luther owed the precision and methodological training of his intellectual power to his study in Erfurt. A portion of his later weapons came from this old arsenal.” (Page 38)
“The rock is not any particular church, but the invincible church is wherever the Word of God is heard and believed” (Page 308)
“During the period of the lectures on Galatians and Hebrews it pushed ever more into the foreground: ‘Christ is God’s grace, mercy, righteousness, truth, wisdom, strength, comfort, and blessedness, given us by God without any merit,’ and indeed in such a way that Christ himself is in us.19 Faith in Christ unites us with him and he does the same for all; likewise he is the turning away from trusting in our own abilities. Justification consists in the communication of Christ with his wisdom, righteousness, and power.” (Page 228)
“After the masters examination, Luther must have occupied himself more seriously with the Bible for the first time, for until now in his studies at the university he had never had a Bible in his hands: ‘When I was a young master in Erfurt, I continually wandered about sadly because of the Anfechtung of sorrows, so I devoted myself to much reading of the Bible.’” (Page 47)