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4.3 out of 5 stars
26
Martin Luther : Selections From His Writings
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on November 10, 2017
As far as Luther is concerned, these are the highlights of his work. It includes his prefaces to Romans, the German NT, "On Christian Liberty", "The Babylonian Captivity of the Church", "Bondage of the Will", and The 95 Theses. I was helped spiritually by his work, especially "On Christian Liberty".

There are two reasons that I give this work one less than five stars. The first is the print quality. It is indeed readable enough, but it is nonetheless a little splotchy and at a 10-point (or smaller) font, which some readers may find difficult. Overall, this is not my main contention with the book. My main contention is that parts of "Bondage of the Will" were omitted by the editor. I will obviously be acquiring the whole work separately, but it would have been nice to have had it all in one place.

Nevertheless, this was perhaps the best $15 I ever spent, and is a collection I believe every Christian should have in their library and needs to read.
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on April 2, 2013
Dillenberger is a fine collection of classic earlier Luther texts with a few examples from his later career. One will find here the basics of Luther's teaching at a reasonable cost and in an agreeable format. The texts cover both Luther's theological views and his views of reform by for the princes of his day. The text also includes his two most famous sets of theses, The Ninety Five Theses and the Theses for the Hiedelberg Disputation.

Freedom of a Christian Man does a great job of explaining Luther's view of the benefit of the Gospel in the life of the Christian, as well as the life that results.

Some of the writings, such as Bondage of the Will are abridged.

Brief introductions are provided to the various works.

I would like to see the Theses on Scholastic Theology from 1517 included. The writings are uniformly theological, and so do not include some of Luther's sharp and controversial polemics.

I teach Luther courses regularly, and still use this book as it provides the best source based information for the price.

For further reading, I also recommend the Theodore Tappert Volume from the Library of Christian Classics, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, to go with this volume. One might also productively read Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther for a more systematized treatment of his theology.
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on January 4, 2016
Aside from John Dillenberger's overly verbose introduction (nearly unreadable to me), this is a well chosen selection of Luther's writings. Despite a tendency to keep beating a point already made, Luther was a clear and accessible writer. The world has much to thank him for.
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VINE VOICEon June 15, 2011
Martin Luther, Selections from His Writings
Edited by John Dillenberger
I've owned this book for quite some time, and find myself returning to it often if nothing else for its accessibility. I have many different versions of Many of Luther's works, including several in German and Latin, and in Electronic format the "Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings (w/ CD-ROM)" put out by Fortress and CPH. But this volume is just more convenient when I'm being lazy. I do think that for the English Speaking Lutheran Laity, there isn't anything better that I have seen. It's a good little volume that introduces a person to the more essential writings of Luther. Those writings that have been most influential, these include ""The Pagan Servitude of the Church" "Secular Authority: To what Extent It Should be Obeyed" "The Freedom of a Christian (absolutely essential reading for Lutherans) and "Two Kinds of Righteousness"
I would include here "The Bondage of the Will" except that it is truncated by a man who does not understand Luther, same for "A Commentary on St. Paul's epistle To the Galatians.' Concerning these two volumes it is better to pick up the more complete versions, even if translated by reformed translators, and read them in total, rather than allow them to be butchered by men who don't share Luther's theology, but actually reject it.
That is the weakness of this volume. The editor is reformed and lets his biases show. Perhaps he is just ignorant and not malicious when he doesn't see that the "The Heidleberg Disputation""On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology)" presents "Luther's theology of the cross" that was the heart of the his reformation activities forming it from beginning to end. But it does illustrate the problem, and makes one very suspicious, and rightfully so, of what he left out in his truncation of the Bondage of the Will. One who does not understand "The Heidleberg Disputation" will not begin to understand "The Bondage of the Will,", which Calvinists like only because they refuse to understand it, or take it with the seriousness it deserves.
I suspect that if a Lutheran had selected the writings for a book like this there would be some overlap, but perhaps there would be a little more concerning the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Perhaps they would even include the Luther's Small Catechism, with Explanation. Furthermore, probably needed in an accessible form for laity is Luther's Treatise "Christians Can Be Soldiers." But it is to the shame of Lutheran Publishers that they haven't put a reader like this together, at least not one that I have seen, which is as remotely accessible as this one.
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on February 2, 2017
An interesting look at Martin Luther. It gives some interesting insights.
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on February 17, 2011
An excellent introduction to Luther's thought - it includes the complete text of the 95 Thesis, and many of Luther's significant theological ideas and conflicts with the Catholic Church. Luther's language is at times scathing, referring to the office of the pope as the "Antichrist." Some basic biographical review is included in this text, as well as many tracts of Luther's writings. Although not a complete introduction to Luther's thoughts, surely it is a vital introductory source.
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on October 24, 2001
Dillenberger presents a selections of treatises, Biblical commentaries, and sermons sensibly arranged with a good introduction. Two missing works were the Small Catechism and his speech at the Diet of Worms ("Here I stand ... I cannot do otherwise"). In three key works from 1520 "An appeal to the ruling class of German Nationality", "The Pagan Servitude of the Church" and "The Freedom of a Christian", Luther develops (re-discovers?) the doctrine of justification by faith and emphasis on Scripture. Luther steers from a legalistic life of a Christian ("Beware lest you make Christ into a Moses"). He vigorously attacks the practice of indulgences, Papal Supremacy and the papal court: "At present there is a crawling mass of reptiles, all claiming to pay allegiance to the Pope, but Babylon never saw the life of these miscreants". At times he practices his own demagoguery; of St. James he does "not hold it to be of apostolic authorship".
Luther attempts to remove the differences between cleric and public classes by opening the Eucharist to everyone and his German Bible made Scripture available to German peasantry. Luther grants spiritual rights to the individual, and states importance of the Christian community, but he did not extend this politically, and should not be viewed as advocating political democracy. The "Appeal to the ruling class" was popular among the nobility because it provided justification for not sending money to Rome.
After reading St. Augustine's Confessions, it is interesting to see how this Augustinian monk extends the idea of grace. The works on free will were the most paradoxical for me. He seems to argue both that without grace man is incapable of free will, but also that "God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will".
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on January 19, 1999
What a wonderful introduction to Martin Luther! If you're thirsty for his writings, this is the book you should start with. Searching for books by him usually turns up many expensive volumes, meant for preachers, not laymen. That's why I'm so glad I found this book. It's laid out perfectly, to give you a wonderful idea of who Luther was, the Reformation, and, most importantly, his theology. Every Lutheran should be firmly introduced to Luther (no matter how obvious it seems, it doesn't happen enough), especially those fundamentalists of the Missouri Synod and Lutheran Brethren who have drifted so far from him and the Gospel of Christ. This is a wonderful book. Take it from an ELCA pastor. This book will show you. I'm seriously considering giving a copy to each of my confirmation students every year. Let Grace reign, not legalism and judgement.
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on January 11, 2016
Great book!
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on May 2, 2011
This book offers a peek into the life of a man who constantly questioned the decisions he made and truly tried to walk his talk. We may think that the times he lived in were harsh and he was treated unfairly for his views...yet this still happens today. A good book about a man who was great...despite those around him.
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