A review of Living I Was Your Plague

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The concept of toxic masculinity has grown in popularity in recent years. Lyndal Roper’s new book explores Martin Luther’s masculinity as the sometimes toxic force that shaped his theology, his life and his legacy. I say “sometimes toxic” because, for Roper, Luther’s masculinity was also a creative force integral to his personality and to the concrete success of the Reformation.

For those readers who are in debt to Luther’s thought and actions – for Lutherans in particular – Roper’s book will be a disturbing read. But like the law in Luther’s theology, it can be destabilizing in a way that opens up regular readers to a new vision. The book accomplishes something that few books on Luther occasioned by the 2017 anniversary have accomplished: it sees Luther with fresh eyes and shows us why we must struggle with his legacy.

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