Luther/Reformation Book Recommendations


I am interested in reading a good book about Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Now, I AM Catholic, so I would prefer reading something written by a Catholic author, but it must treat the subject matter fairly. IOW, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the Lutheran view and 10 being the Catholic view, I’d like something in the 5-6 range if possible. :slight_smile:

If any Lutherans feel that a Catholic author has been especially fair and objective, I will make special note of your suggestions.

Oh, one more thing…no multi-volume works. Who has time for that? :rolleyes:

It’s well-known, relatively short,non-technical and supposedly fair both to Catholics and Lutherans.

Hope that helps. :smiley:

How The Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc

Got that one. Thanks.

Just ordered. Thanks.

you may want to read – The facts about Luther-- by msgr. Patrick f. O’Hare, LL.D
then compare notes.

The audio tape “Reformation or Revolt” is AMAZING, though on your scale it earns like a 15.

The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch. (5)

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by Stephen J. Nichols (0 - Reformed perspective :)).


The Catholic Reformation by Michael Mullett (8)

I understand that Fr. Jared Wicks is even handed in his writings about Luther.

Such that, he was invited to speak at the LCMS’s Concordia Seminary.

Unlike Fr. O’Hare. :bigyikes: :smiley:


Yeah, I picked up on Fr. O’Hare’s “objectivity”. :rolleyes:

Yet we can go further than decrying the Reformation as unnecessary. In his ground-breaking work, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Louis Bouyer argued that the Catholic Church herself is necessary for the full flowering of the Reformation principles. In other words, you need Catholicism to make Protestantism work–for Protestantism’s principles fully to develop. Thus, the Reformation was not only unnecessary; it was impossible. What the Reformers sought, argues Bouyer, could not be achieved without the Catholic Church.

O’Hare’s book isn’t helpful today. It was written in an era when actual “Know-Nothings” still held reins of power in the USA and catholics were routinely treated as second class citizens. It was a “Hit 'em back and don’t take no cra…, um crud” sort of approach that simply isn’t needed today if it ever was.

Besides being downright rude in it’s approach, O’Hare’s book also wasn’t interested in footnotes or documentation so even some of his factual claims can’t easily be verified (and some are so outlandishly bold that they really NEED substantiation).

Reading it will just embarrass you someday. Been there!

Loved Belloc’s book though it arguably is also affected by the mood of anti-Catholicism in the English speaking world of the day and the ‘fight back’ effect it produced among catholics. At least he documents his factual claims and constructs good arguments for his theories.

This is one of the titles that I usually recommend, for someone who wants a taste of Belloc. His CHARACTERS OF THE REFORMATION, likewise. But as to documenting, I dunno. Few footnotes, no bibliography. Maybe I’m forgetting something.


Good article, thanks for sharing!

:thumbsup: Good indeed.

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