Tuesday, July 10, 2007
KATHARINE LUTHER: LIBERATED NUN by Alice E. Walter
Katharine Luther: Liberated Nun is a biography of the wife of Reformer Martin Luther. Katharine von Bora entered a convent at a young age, and was later smuggled out with other nuns who wished to break from the traditional church.
Although Walter has compiled a solid and reputable reference list, this account is marked by simple and amateurish writing that leans to the romanticized and melodramatic. The book seems to be written to an audience of teenage, Lutheran girls. The book is short on historical context, and heavily emphasizes the Luthers' household life. As such, Walter gives little information on Katharine Luther's life before and during her time in the convent.
Walter has done an excellent job of communicating to the reader Martin Luther's sense of humor, as well as his relationship with Katherine. The book also has a few interesting cultural tidbits, most notably the custom of escorting a bride and groom to their wedding bed. As Justus Jonas said, "I was present yesterday and saw the couple in their marriage bed. As I watched this spectacle, I could not hold back my tears" (p. 27).
As I said, Walter has a solid list of sources, but there appears to be no original research here, and this is hardly a scholarly text. At 80 pages, it is a quick read, and may be of interest to those with some background knowledge of Luther.
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT