Book Review: Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk

Martin Luther

How much influence does your wife have over you? If you are like me, the answer is, “A lot!” Apparently, we are in good company. In Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk, Michelle DeRusha addresses this issue. Martin Luther had a tender and loving relationship with his wife, Katharina de Bora. DeRusha, the author, tells us that story.

The Backgrounds of Katharina and Martin Luther

Katharina was one of the nuns who escaped from a convent after hearing Luther’s radical views. However, Luther, who played matchmaker for the escaped nuns, failed a couple times to match Katharina with eligible suitors. So Luther decided (after the suggestion by Katharina) to marry her himself. The book is a tribute to the Luthers’ successful practical experiment that showed the holiness of marriage even by, or especially by, persons wholly devoted to the Lord.

The story gives the background of the troubled family lives of each, Martin and Katharina. And it tells of the unusual circumstances that brought the two together. Also, the book gives the details of the heartbreaking tale of the Luthers’ loss of two of their daughters. Finally, the story ends with Martin’s sudden death and Katharina’s fight for her rights. In the era they lived, widows were often neglected.

A Great Story But Not the Typical Lutheran History

There are other books if you are interested in Martin Luther’s theology. You can learn the history of his fight against the unjust system of indulgences. There are better books that explain the heroic posting of his 95 theses and the burning of papal bull. But if you want to know about his personal life and gain keen insights into the man himself, you won’t find another book that gives you as much of a penetrating look at the man and his wife as this one.

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