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Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
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Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,393 ratings  ·  128 reviews
"Here is an outstanding modern contribution to religious literature--a vivid portrait of the man who, because of his unshakable faith in his God, helped bring about the Protestant Reformation."
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Published February 1st 1955 by Signet (first published 1950)
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Jul 24, 2009 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: monks and sinners - no diff actually
Recommended to Wayne by: a unit on Reformation History
As a young Catholic monk, I and several other students were sent off to Adelaide University.I chose English and History.
And the first unit of History was the Reformation.
When I came to read about Martin Luther, (I can recall the book, the library, the sunlight AND the dawning that I totally agreed with him), my own Reformation had already begun but now I found I had allies I never expected.
And later when I heard my new mate labelled as "a Wolf in Sheep's clothing" by one of our priests(my forme...more
After reading The Unquenchable Flame, I had to re-read this biography of Luther. This is regarded as the classic biography on the life of Martin Luther and it certainly holds up to this standard. I appreciate Bainton's effort to be honest about Luther's strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses only help us see better the greatness of the God Luther served instead of glorifying the man. On the other hand stands Luthers prodigious life work which among other things includes a translation of the Sc...more
Jack Neary
As a staunch and long-standing RC, I, of course, knew absolutely nothing about Martin Luther beyond the notion that he messed up everything for us back in the 1500's and made way for all those churches where you could still believe in Jesus and not have to get up for Mass on Sunday. I experienced Bainton's book via the Audible route, as I am wont to do these days for a lot of non-fiction, and though the minutiae of a good deal of ML's idiosyncratic takes on religion became, at times, more whelmi...more
Nathan Moore
Briskly paced, exciting read. The scope of Luther's life is staggering. Should he not be considered the most influential figure of the last two millennia? I find it truly fantastic that God used a single man to up-end the religious, economic, social, and even artistic, climates of Europe. What remained untouched?

This is a good read. Though the first Lutheran biography I've read, I'm a little surprised at how highly this work is praised. Many other biographies that I've read are styled and narrat...more
Valerie Kyriosity
Simply wonderful. This missing fifth star is an indictment of me, not of Bainton or Luther. The chapters on politics and economics were just brutally dull to my dull mind, and my interest was lost for months on end. As for the rest, I love Luther and I love this recounting of his life and influence. I wish I had better reading habits, especially that of keeping a pen handy to mark and underline, because this volume was replete with gems. We owe so much to Brother Martin, and I was grateful for t...more
This is my third reading of this book. Roland Bainton was a Lutheran historian, and this is probably the definitive biography of Luther in English. For obvious reasons this book will hold more appeal for Protestants than Catholics; nevertheless, Bainton does not whitewash Luther's faults, particularly towards the end of his life. It is a very good history of the Reformation; each time I read it, I learn or remember something new about that tumultuous period of time. Bainton also explains extreme...more
had to read with a dictionary on hand and learn a lot of catholic terms and just general new terms. It was slow and somewhat confusing for me at parts, this book is not a really easy read, but very interesting and great at understanding Luther and his thought. A lot of interesting relations with others explained.
This book is more than fifty years old but still accessible and full of insight into Martin Luther’s life and times. Early on, it is evident Bainton admires Luther very much – maybe a bit too much to take an honest and well-rounded approach to Luther, the man, in toto. My first significant exposure to Martin Luther was in Will Durant’s volume, “The Reformation”, (From his magnum opus, “The Story of Civilization”) a comprehensive look into the religious and secular conflicts that occurred during...more
Bainton masterfully weaves together gigantic life of Luther.

"If a German is asked whether a passage of Luther's Bible is not remarkable, he may answer that this is precisely the way in which any German would speak. But the reason is simply that every German has been reared on Luther's version. The influence of the man on is people was deepest in the home. In fact the home was the only sphere of life which the Reformation profoundly affected. Economics went the way of capitalism and politics the...more
This is a nice beginning biography of one of the world's most remarkable men. It is an older book that hails from the early 1950's. It is a really good overview of Luther's life and his encounters with the outside world, especially up till about 1525. It seems aimed at a believing Christian readership. That is, Mr. Bainton, the author, seems to be a believer who appreciates very much Luther's lifetime spiritual struggle and his scriptural resolution of it in the doctrine of justification by fait...more
Mike E.
Wow. This is a worthy read about the one of the most influential and controversial leaders in church history. I found Bainton fair in his treatement. By no means is this a critical biography, but Luther's weaknesses are brought out with his strengths emphasized.

I wrestle with giving this 5 stars.

Bainton's text is fluid and reads like a novel. Although full of documentation (Bainton is a serious scholar), the notes are all at the end by page number. The book is a joy to read without the interrupt...more
Though sometimes long in the tooth, this was quite an enjoyable read---if you're interested in the Luther or the Reformation that is.
It contains many quotes from Luther and his contemporaries which help to give the book a sense of relevance. It is packed with useful information, but of course that it is important to remember, that Bainton, like all authors/historians had an agenda.
While he claims to want to show the man behind the myth, he cannot help but perpetuate the myth in his writing. For...more
Jennifer Cunningham
This book is well-written and very informative. I wish the print had been a bit easier to read; I don't like when the format interferes with the reading experience. I learned so much about Luther as a German and have a better idea of the progression of his thought, as well as the timeline leading up to the Diet at Worms. I also appreciate the abundance of references to direct sources, especially Luther himself.
Cheryl Gatling
I read this book as a young person, and as a young person, the story of Martin Luther's cloister conversion to the belief that the just are saved by faith, was thrilling. The belief that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, but that it is a free gift of God, remains a comfort. But this time I was struck by how Martin Luther, as a hero of conscience, can be an inspiration to all people, Lutheran and non-Lutheran, believing and non-believing. He was given the option of just following...more
Kathleen Dixon
Everybody knows that it was Martin Luther who caused the split from the Catholic Church in the early 1500s and the rapid rise of the Protestant churches (protesting against the un-Christian practices of indulgences, and the corruption endemic in the Church of the time). Well, maybe not everybody knows - the unchurching of Western society has meant that much has been relegated to "church history" and no longer seen as relevant. The thing is, though, that religious and political history were one a...more
This was a terrific book. I think it does a great job meeting all the requirements of a good biography: creating a good context by which we can understand the times when the biographee lived (and how it differs from our world today), an honest look at the person's character, both the good and bad, and a consideration of how their lives and actions affected the world around them. Bainton obviously admires Luther, but manages to stay objective and honest about Luther's significant flaws. I believe...more
Una delle piu' acclamate e apprezzate biografie di Lutero scritta da un profondo conoscitore dela Riforma.
Il mio giudizio puo' essere diviso in due parti che poi rappresentano due aspetti fondamentali della vita di ogni uomo.
La ricostruzione dell'evoluzione del pensiero del grande riformatore e' assolutamente profonda, chiara anche per gli aspetti piu' complessi e di difficile comprensione per uomini dei nostri tempi. Purtroppo lo stesso non si puo' dire della narrazione della vita dell' uomo L...more
John Lowery
I normally do not like biographies but this was wonderful.
This book is more than fifty years old but still accessible and full of insight into Martin Luther’s life and times. Early on, it is evident Bainton admires Luther very much – maybe a bit too much to take an honest and well-rounded approach to Luther, the man, in toto. My first significant exposure to Martin Luther was in Will Durant’s volume, “The Reformation”, (From his magnum opus, “The Story of Civilization”) a comprehensive look into the religious and secular conflicts that occurred during...more
A brilliant treatment of Luther that doesn't settle for simple caricature, but examines the complexities of this famous man from childhood to death.

What makes this biography stand out is Bainton's dependence on primary source material, as well as his consideration for *context*. We see Luther as a man of medieval, not modern, times. His years long struggle to find peace with God, and then open the door for others to walk through. We see the anxieties of Luther, who lived for years as an exile in...more
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, by Roland Bainton, © 1977.

Reading Roland Bainton’s biography of Martin Luther was like going on a journey into another world during a hurricane and emerging with a feeling of having come out of the rainstorm to a new light of a new day. He invites us into Luther’s tremendous story of personal crisis which became catalysts for Luther’s big transformations.

At first, the reading of Bainton was kind of rough to read, because I had no understanding of the Ca...more
This biography focuses mainly on the development of Luther's theology, which is what I wanted to read about in the first place. It was cool to see how God used his personality to effect change. At first, Luther was just looking for an argument--he hated the rampant selling of indulgences, and Rome had little to say. If Rome had said it was okay, Luther might have stayed quiet. As time progressed and his understanding increased, Luther became more and more emphatic for truth. I laughed and cringe...more
"Hier stehe ich, und kann nicht anders." With these words Martin Luther, a German priest, set in motion the greatest change that Europe had seen since the final sack of Rome by the Vandals a thousand years before. Luther's '95 Theses', which, in the style of the day, he nailed to the door of the nearest castle church, demanded that the Papacy behave in a manner befitting of its position. What followed was decades of war as northern Europe broke away from Catholicism, while Mediterranean Europe s...more
Petra Xtra Crunchy
Its funny to think that the Protestant religion - today, at least, a moderate and forward-looking religion - is based on the writings of this man, one of the evilest human beings that ever lived. He was also the acknowledged inspiration for the Nazi party which should tell you plenty of his sentiments on race and the value of life. Not only did he advocate violence against Jews but was behind the Peasants' War where thousands died, and all because he felt that men should not ape their betters no...more
Jun 22, 2007 Klasko rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Klasko by: Pastor Loesch
Shelves: religious, biography
This is supposed to be the definitive biography of Martin Luther. I read this book before I joined the Lutheran Church in order to see what the man was about. I came away with a better understanding of the man behind the reformation in Germany, and the reformation in General. It filled a gap that was seriously lacking in my education. It is a dry read, but very comprehensive. It is a book that I think any Lutheran should read at least once and anyone else interested in reformation history. (Here...more
This book was a very helpful overview of the live and times of Martin Luther. With the many long and meaty quotes from Luther and his contemporaries, it also serves as a good primer on Luther's work and perspectives. I thought Bainton did a good job of not refusing to discuss the controversial things written by Luther, and was willing to critique his perspectives where it was helpful to do so. Bainton does dismiss some of the criticisms against Luther, and provides good context around why Luther...more
I grew up in a good Lutheran household, so Luther has always been a figure that I'd had some degree of admiration towards. However, I admit I was somewhat nervous that this book might simply be a propaganda track on Luther's great accomplishments without much critical analysis.

Thankfully, as far as I can tell, Bainton took an evenhanded approach to Luther's life, and didn't shy away from pointing out Luther's hypocrisy or other faults. It's a short book, but one that I read over a long period of...more
I loved this book. Every person, Christian and non-Christian alike, should educate themselves about the world that they live in and read about the life of Martin Luther. Luther is inspiring, and though he was far from perfect, he transformed the world, attacked the phony wisdom of man, and brought the Scriptures back to their proper place. For Luther, the conscience had the primary place in religion - which is the place it has in the Bible - which is why he was able to unlock its great secret: t...more
Great account of his early life and break with Rome (excellent job explaining the reasons why and the conditions at the time). Pays too little attention to the last 15 years of his life or so.
Todd Miles
Fantastic book. Bainton's narrative style is easy to follow and a delight to read. Particularly in the first half of the book, he skilfully weaves Luther's theology into the narrative flow. Bainton also sets the historical context well. The author is also not afraid to speculate (in an informed manner) on the emotional and psychological state of Luther throughout his life. The latter half focuses more on Luther's theology, preaching, leadership, etc., so the flow of the biographical story is mor...more
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“Christianity, said Erasmus, has been made to consist not in loving one’s neighbor but in abstaining from butter and cheese during Lent.” 0 likes
“I call upon you to renounce your diabolical blasphemy...if you will not, we shall all hold your seat as possessed and oppressed by Satan, the damned seat of Antichrist, in the name of Jesus Christ, whom you persecute."
"And as they excommunicated me for the sacrilege of heresy, so I excommunicate them in the name of the sacred truth of God. Christ will judge whose excommunication will stand. Amen”
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