Reformation Bibliography #3:

  Martin Luther & the Reformation in Germany

 - New Testament
 - Early Christianity
 - Medieval Christianity
 - The Reformation
 - Spirituality & Mysticism
 - Sacraments
 - 20th-Century Theology




#1: Surveys, Intros
#2: Erasmus
#3: Martin Luther
#4: Martin Bucer
#5: Ulrich Zwingli
#6: John Calvin
#7: Ignatius of Loyola


 compiled by William Harmless, S.J.

Creighton University 


      1. Luther: Biography & Theology

      2. Luther: Texts & Translations

      3. Philip Melanchthon: Biography & Theology





Few ages have produced personalities as fascinating as those of the Reformation.  Perhaps the best way to begin a study of the period is by reading biographies.  And Luther, the man who sparked it all, is certainly the one to begin with.  There are many, varied interpretations of Luther.  This is a sampling of some of the best:


Martin Brecht, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation, 1483-1521; Martin Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521-1532; and Martin Luther: the Preservation of the Church, 1532-1546 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990-1994).  This massive 3-volume biography is the current standard.  An excellent synthesis of a vast world of scholarship.  Brecht brings both balance and precision and tells the story well.


Bernhard Lohse, Martin Lutherís Theology: Its History and Systematic Development, trans. Roy A. Harrisville (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999).  Luther was an unusually prolific writeróover 70 volumesóand his theological work is as wide-ranging and as impassioned as that of Augustine.  Lohse offers a valuable survey of Lutherís often paradoxical theology.  A good place to start.


Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, trans. Robert C. Schultz (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966).

David V.N. Bagchi, Lutherís Earliest Opponents: Catholic Controversialists, 1518-1525 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991).

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Biography of Martin Luther, Hendrickson Classic Biographies (1950: reprint: Hendrickson, 2009).  A classic.

Hans-Martin Barth, The Theology of Martin Luther: A Critical Assessment (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012).

Oswald Bayer, Martin Lutherís Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008).

Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther in Mid-Career, 1521-1530 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983).

Christopher Boyd Brown, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation, Harvard Historical Studies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

Gerhard Ebeling, Luther: An Introduction to His Thought, trans. R.A. Wilson (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972).

Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Luther and the False Brethren (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1975).  A valuable account of Lutherís debate with fellow evangelicals, those one-time allies whom Luther thought had gone over to the devil: Karlstadt, Muntzer, Zwingli, Oecolampadius, and Schwenckfeld.

Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Lutherís Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531-1546 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983).

Eric W. Gritsch, A History of Lutheranism, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010).

Johannes Heckel, Lex Charitatis: A Juristic Disquisition on Law in the Theology of Martin Luther (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010).

James M. Kittelson, Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career (reprint: Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993).

Robert Kolb, Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith, Theology in Context (New York: Oxford University, 2009).

William H. Lazareth, Christians in Society: Luther, the Bible, and Social Ethics (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001).

Walther von Loewenich, Lutherís Theology of the Cross (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1976).

Walther von Loewenich, Martin Luther: the Man and His Work (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1986).

Bernhard Lohse, Martin Luther: An Introduction to His Life and Thought, trans. Robert C. Schultz (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1986).

Tuomo Mannermaa, Christ Present in Faith: Lutherís View of Justification (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005).

Martin E. Marty, Martin Luther, Penguin Lives (New York: Viking, 2004).

Alister E. McGrath, Lutherís Theology of the Cross: Martin Lutherís Theological Breakthrough (reprint: Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990).

Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 2 volumes (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

Donald McKim, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, trans. Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart (1989; reprint: New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).

E. Gordon Rupp, Lutherís Progress to the Diet of Worms (New York: Harper & Row, 1964).

E. Gordon Rupp, The Righteousness of God: Luther Studies (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1953)

Bryan Spinks, Lutherís Liturgical Criteria and His Reform of the Canon of the Mass, Grover Liturgical Study 30 (Bramcott Notts: Grove Books, 1982).

David C. Steinmetz, Luther in Context, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2002).

David C. Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz: An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation (Durham: Duke University Press, 1980).

David C. Steinmetz, Misericordia Dei: The Theology of Johannes von Staupitz in its Late Medieval Setting, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1968).

Samuel Torvend, Luther and the Hungry Poor: Gathered Fragments (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008).

David M. Whitford, Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed, series: Guides for the Perplexed (New York: T&T Clark, 2011) paperback, $25.

Derek Wilson, Luther: Out of the Storm (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010).





Texts: The critical edition of the writings of Luther are found in the D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, ed. J.K.F. Knaake, et al. (Weimar, 1883)óusually referred to as the ďWeimar editionĒ and abbreviated WA.


Translations: A superb English translation of Lutherís writings is Lutherís Works, 55 volumes, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia / Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1955-1975)óusually referred to as ďthe American editionĒ and abbreviated LW.  This translation includes valuable notes.  See also:

Timothy Lull, editor, Martin Lutherís Basic Theological Writings, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005) (with CD-ROM).  Luther was a skilled popularist and had a gift for satire and for the well-turned phrase.  He is easy and enjoyable to read.  This is the most complete anthology of Lutherís works to date, and the translations are first-rate, drawn from the ďAmerican edition.Ē  Included: the 95 Theses, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, The Freedom of the Christian, Invocavit Sermons, Confession Concerning the Lordís Supper.


Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, ed., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000).

Martin Luther, Three Treatises, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990).  A helpful edition of the ďReformation TreatisesĒ (The Address to the Christian Nobility, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and The Freedom of the Christian.

E. Gordon Rupp, ed. Luther and Erasmus on Free Will, Library of Christian Classics (reprint: Nashville: Westminster John Knox, 1995).

Eric Lund, Documents from the History of Lutheranism, 1517-1750 (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002).






Sachiko Kusukawa, ed., Philip Melanchthon: Orations on Philosophy and Education, series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, trans. Christine Salazar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).


Karin Maag, ed., Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence Beyond Wittenberg, series: Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1999).

Gregory Graybill, Evangelical Free Will: Phillip Melanchthonís Doctrinal Journey on the Origins of Faith, Oxford Theological Monographs (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

H. Ashley Hall, Phillip Melanchthon and the Cappadocians: A Reception of Greek Patristic Sources in the Sixteenth Century (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013) hardcover, $116. NEW.

Clyde Leonard Manschreck, Melanchthon, the Quiet Reformer (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1975).

John Schofield, Philip Melanchthon and the English Reformation (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006).

Timothy Wengert, Human Freedom, Christian Righteousness: Philip Melanchthonís Exegetical Dispute with Erasmus of Rotterdam, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Timothy Wengert, Law and Gospel: Philip Melanchthonís Debate with John Agricola of Eisleben over Poenitentia, Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought 3 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997).

Timothy Wengert, Philip Melanchthon, Speaker of the Reformation, Variorum Collected Studies 963 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010).

Timothy Wengert, Defending Faith: Lutheran Responses to Andreas Osianderís Doctrine of Justification, 1551-1559 (TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012).



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Revised: July 16, 2014

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  William Harmless, SJ