Tuesday, January 30, 2018

If You Can't Get Enough of the Reformation 500

On the last day of 2017, we took a long drive on winter roads to meet friends for church and ring in the new year. As we spun over roads which were surprisingly grand and clear for our midwest winters, I polished off the last two books I had planned for my 2017 reading challenge. One of them was particularly important because I wanted to finish it in the calendar year for the Reformation 500.

The book came to me from a good friend, a birthday gift that she tucked into my hands just as we were saying goodbye. I had heard of it months earlier when I was at a radio show recording about the Reformation, an interview between Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Erwin Lutzer. In that talk, Erwin Lutzer referenced a book about the famous marriage of the fiery Wittenberg monk.

It was Michelle DeRusha's Katharina and Martin Luther.

Books have a winding way of coming to us, and an even more winding way of being read. A story that surrounds the story.

This book is definitely one worth reading.

via Goodreads
The interesting thing about Katie Luther's life is just how much accepted facts might be actually folklore. Did she escape in herring barrels? Was it from her window? We don't really know. Why did she go to the convent? How did she hear of Luther's works? Did she actually read any of them before she escaped? All of these points are subject to conjecture, and while it's hard not to know for sure, it was also interesting to trace through DeRusha's work what's fact and what's conjecture. She did a good job of sketching in Katie's backstory and why she might have gone to the convent.

I also really enjoyed the look at 16th-century culture. Because we don't know a lot about Katie (only a few of her letters survived) we're stuck with filling in scattered facts of her life from Table Talk and other sources. But by exploring how people lived during those times, we can get a good picture of what her daily life looked like. The amount of cooking required, as well as the disturbing and unhygienic medicines of the times, gave me a high respect for her energy and a strong contentment with living in the 21st century. 

Michelle DeRusha's book is engaging, historical, and easy to read. A biography well worth picking up, great to read and discuss with daughters, and beautifully bound to set beside other books on your bookshelf.

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