The Personal Luther

Essays on the Reformer from a Cultural Historical Perspective

Overwhelmingly, Martin Luther has been treated as the generator of ideas concerning the relationship between God and humankind. The Personal Luther deliberately departs from that church-historiographic tradition. Luther was a voluble and irrepressible divine. Even though he had multiple ancillary interests, such as singing, playing the lute, appreciating the complexities of nature, and observing his children, his preoccupation was, as he quickly saw it, bringing the Word of God to the people.
This book is not about Luther’s theology except insofar as any ideational construct is itself an expression of the thinker who frames it. Luther frequently couched his affective utterances within a theological framework. Nor is it a biography; it does not portray a whole life. Rather, it concentrates on several heretofore neglected aspects of the Reformer’s existence and personality.

The subjects that appear in this book are meant to demonstrate what such core-taking on a range of mainly unexplored facets of the Reformer’s personality and experience can yield. It will open the way for other secular researchers to explore the seemingly endless interests of this complicated individual. It will also show that perspectives of cultural historians offer the broadest possible evidentiary base within which to analyze a figure of the past.

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Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Ph.D. (1961), Indiana University, is Director of the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies, and Regents’ Professor of History, at the University of Arizona. She is author/editor of eleven books and seventy articles/chapters.
“In the hands of Susan Karant-Nunn, a fascinating Martin Luther emerges in his vulnerability and arrogance, in his fleshiness and soulfulness, with his gifts to provoke and inspire. […] The chapters can serve well as enhancements in teaching, in upper level and doctoral classes. For peers in Luther research, this book is a thought-provoking conversation partner that inspires new research trajectories.”
Kirsi Sjterna, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley. In: Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2019), 269-71.


1 Luther’s Ego-documents: Cultural History and the Reconstruction of the Historical Self

2 Luther’s Conscience: A Template for the Modern West?

3 Luther’s Friendship with Frederick the Wise

4 Luther’s Relational God. Finding a Loving Heavenly Father

5 Fleshly Work. The Sex Act as Christian Liberty

6 The Masculinity of Martin Luther. Theory, Practicality, and Humor

7 The Tenderness of Daughters, the Waywardness of Sons. Martin Luther as a Father

8 Martin Luther’s Heart

9 Martin Luther’s Perfect Death

10 The Imprint of Personality upon the Reformation

Anyone interested in the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther’s state of mind as a major protagonist in this religious movement.