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Martin Luther: Knight Reading, 2017-2018: Martin Luther
A Very Short Introduction

Knight Reading, 2017-18

Martin Luther: Reformer, Theologian, Legacy-Maker, Flawed Human

Hung on the Wittenberg Castle Church door in 1517, Martin Luther's 95 Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences became the first of a life-long stream of books, sermons, letters, essays, even hymns in which he expressed his confidence in this life-giving promise from God, the Gospel, and its liberating implications for all of life in church and society.

Still from the 2003 feature film Luther starring Joseph Fiennes. Rockin' that tonsure.

Knight Reading / Readings in Common

A common 1Y reading program began at Wartburg College in 2003, although it wasn't officially called  “Readings in Common” until 2005. It was renamed "Knight Reading" in 2015.

Recent books are listed below.

  • 2016-17  I am Malala, Malala Yousafzai
  • 2015-16  The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore
  • 2014-15   Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  • 2013-14   The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • 2012-13   An Ordinary Man, Paul Rusesabagina
  • 2011-12   The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
  • 2010-11   Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver
  • 2009-10   Ishmael, Daniel Quinn
  • 2008-09   The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
  • 2007-08   Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson
  • 2006-07   The Chosen, Chaim Potok    
  • 2005-06   Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • 2004-05   A Hope in the Unseen, Ron Suskind  
  • 2003-04   Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling

Martin Luther: A life of leadership and service

"We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished ..."1
“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”2
“To find Christ in such poverty, and what his swaddling clothes and manger signify, are explained … that his poverty teaches how we should find him in our neighbors, the lowliest and the most needy; and his swaddling clothes are the holy Scriptures; that in actual life we should incline to the needy; and in our studies and contemplative life only to the Scriptures; in order that Christ alone may become the man of both lives and that he may everywhere stand before us.”3
“Therefore we conclude that all law, divine and human, treating of outward conduct, should not bind any further than love goes. Love is to be the interpreter of law.”4
"The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone...How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?"5


1. Luther, Martin. Luther's Works.Vol. 32. Eds. George Forell and Helmut Lehmann. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1958. 24. Print.  

2. Luther, Martin. Luther’s Large Catechism: God’s Call to Repentance, Faith and Prayer. Trans. John Nicholas Lenker. Minneapolis: Luther Press, 1908. 44. Print.

3. Luther, Martin. Luther's Church Postil Gospels: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Sermons. Trans. John Nicholas Lenker. Minneapolis: Lutherans in All Lands Co., 1905. 169. Print.

4. Luther, Martin. The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther. Trans. John Nicholas Lenker. Minneapolis: Lutherans in All Lands Co., 1905. 161.

5. Luther, Martin. Lectures on Genesis Chapters 45-50. Ed. Jaroslav Pelikan. Minneapolis: Concordia, 1965. 685. Print.