Monday, July 5, 2010

The Wit of Martin Luther by Eric Gritsch

Augsburg Fortress was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of The Wit of Martin Luther by Eric Gritsch. The book is short, a quick read, and overall it is excellent. The book explores Martin's Luther's use of humor in his theological and polemical writings and how Luther's wit influenced his theology. There are a couple of instances where the author's liberalism shines through. At one point he refers to the superstitious belief in the devil and at another he seems to be trying to subtly make the case that Martin Luther would have had no problem with theistic evolution. These types of statements do nothing to serve the author's overall argument and would have been better left unprinted but they do little damage to the book. In my opinion, the best thing in the book is the Martin Luther quotes and there are plenty. They are ample throughout and there is an appendix in the back with a list of others. The quotes show how human Luther was. He used lots of earthly language and wasn't above the use of potty language to make a point. Luther's language may sound shocking to the modern Christian who thinks politeness trumps the truth but perhaps the modern Christian should rethink his position. Luther was certainly not alone in his use of polemical humor. His opponents used it too. But Luther was the master of polemical humor. He also knew how to make use of humor to be a good pastor and husband. He took Jesus seriously but did not take himself too seriously.


Beth Lewis said...

Thanks for your review of Gritsch's book, The Wit of Martin Luther." I enjoy the plentiful Luther quotes in it, too! You may also be interested in reading our recently published biography of Martin Luther, "Out of the Storm" by Derek Wilson.

Beth Lewis, President & CEO, Augsburg Fortress

Martin Luther quotes said...

Some lovely quotes collection. Thanks for sharing!!