Religion: The Oak & the Ax

In the summer of 1505 a man in Saxony was knocked flat by a bolt of lightning. "St. Anne help me!" he cried as he lay on the ground. "I will become a monk."

For Christendom, the moment in which lightning struck Martin Luther was almost as crucial as the episode of the Damascus road. In Here I Stand (Abingdon-Cokesbury; $4.75), a new biography of the founder of the Reformation in Germany, Roland H. Bainton, a Quaker and a Yale professor of church history, carefully details the character and extent of the great crisis...

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