37 minutes | Jun 4, 2021

Christopher Ocker, "Luther, Conflict, and Christendom: Reformation Europe and Christianity in the West" (Cambridge UP, 2018)

Martin Luther - monk, priest, intellectual, or revolutionary - has been a controversial figure since the sixteenth century. Most studies of Luther stress his personality, his ideas, and his ambitions as a church reformer. In Luther, Conflict, and Christendom: Reformation Europe and Christianity in the West (Cambridge UP, 2018), Christopher Ocker brings a new perspective to this topic, arguing that the different ways people thought about Luther mattered far more than who he really was. Providing an accessible, highly contextual, and non-partisan introduction, Ocker says that religious conflict itself served as the engine of religious change. He shows that the Luther affair had a complex political anatomy which extended far beyond the borders of Germany, making the debate an international one from the very start. His study links the Reformation to pluralism within western religion and to the coexistence of religions and secularism in today's world.

Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.

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