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The Reformer

A Screenplay Based on the Life of Martin Luther
Narrated by: Joseph Bevilacqua
Length: 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: $3.95
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Publisher's Summary

What Nazi Germany did to the Jews did not happen overnight. Although the historians differ on the origin, some argue that the foundation for it was built by the writings and deeds of perhaps the most influential reformer of the millennium, Martin Luther. This screenplay is a journey through his life to give us historical facts as well as insights into his reformation. Whether or not the events of his lifetime could have influenced the Holocaust is left for the listener to decide. The monologues are verbatim copies from Luther's books, articles, and sermons. Preserving historical accuracy has been the chief goal in formulating conversations missing from recorded history.  

©2018 Maysam Yabandeh (P)2018 Maysam Yabandeh

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An Interesting View of Martin Luther

What was interesting about The Reformer?

I've been in full-time ministry for nearly 12 years, and my spouse grew up in a heavily Lutheran Community throughout her upbringing. As such, "The Reformer" immediately struck me as something I'd be interested in.

Additionally, I'm also the kind of guy who really enjoys history. I regularly read from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and/or Archaeology Study Bible. Admittedly, my ancient cultural/historical studies focus much more on on the BC or early AD timelines, so I haven't done much reading on Luther, outside of a few stories or other references while working on my Master's Degree.

What was most interesting to me was learning a bit about Luther's negative views toward the Jewish population of his day. The stories I have read about Luther didn't get into his negative thoughts about the Jewish community, and sadly, I'm not sure I was even aware that Luther penned a book titled, "On the Jews and Their Lies."

Although "The Reformer" was written as fictional historical drama, the production taught me something about the history of Luther and the Reformation of which I wasn't previously aware. Knowing that the quotes provided within this production were from Luther's own writings was a painful reminder that there are some dark truths behind a number of influential people throughout history which are often swept under the rug. Having some of Luther's teaching's brought into the light is much better than pretending they didn't happen.

How was the performance and/or narration?

"The Reformer" is only 50 minutes in length, but I thought the Narrator did an outstanding job of walking through the plot line. Having an additional female voice enter in on some of the scripture passages was a nice touch.

Can you tell me more about the storyline?

The only part of the story I hesitate to fully accept is that of Luther and/or the Reformation as part of the foundation for Nazi Germany. The Publisher's Summary notes: "What Nazi Germany did to the Jews did not happen overnight. The foundation for it was built in German culture over the centuries, arguably started by the writings and deeds of perhaps the most influential reformer of the millennium, Martin Luther."

While "The Reformer" does a great job of offering some insights on Luther that shouldn't be ignored, I believe that from a historical perspective, Luther offered more overall good to German/European History than bad. Being a 50 minute audio screenplay, "The Reformer" doesn't provide additional details of the cultural milieu of Luther's day and age. As I listened, questions entered my mind like:

- What the overall percentage of the Jewish population in Luther's day?
- What level of political, social, economic, etc. influence did the Jewish population have?
- What, really, was at the root of Luther's thoughts and attitudes towards the Jewish population?
- What were the additional [many] aspects of German Culture that led to Nazi Germany? From sociological, political, psychological, educational, economic, national, and religious?
- Perhaps most importantly, what level of influence did Luther's book, "On the Jews and Their Lies" have in the years after his death? Was his book a major influence in Germany and/or other European nations in the 50, 100, 200+ years after Luther's death?

Questions such as these would require a tremendous amount of historical study, the data of which isn't fully presented (and couldn't be fully presented) within this production.

Overall, I really do appreciate the creativity in the story telling and the overall effort put into this production. Nevertheless, I hesitate to embrace the part of the storyline in which Luther's views on the Jewish community in the early 1500's became a foundational part of Nazi Germany 400 years later. The word "foundational" is quite strong. While Luther may very well have influenced the culture which ultimately led to Nazi Germany, I'm not (currently) convinced his role can be viewed as "foundational."

In short, it's honorable to note Luther's book, "On the Jews and Their Lies" as a negative part of his history, and his encouragement to burn down buildings and schools is deplorable. I'm grateful "The Reformer" is open about the positives and negatives of Luther's teachings.

Conclusion:

One cannot know where they're going until they know where they've been. This production can help those who are interested in Luther and/or the Reformation to consider where they've come from, where they've been, what they can learn from that, and then consider how to move forward in a way to better honor God and ALL others, as we are ALL made in His image. "The Reformer" is a good production and worth the listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A Written Screenplay that is not long

I'm not a religious person and knows very little about this part of history and Martin Luther this interesting yet important character. But I have to say this is a well-written, well performed nice play. It triggers my interest to do more study about this history. The play is well narrated (performed) by the actor/actress.

I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse. Nice!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A historical screenplay

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

At first, I was hesitant to pick this up, I've listened to other religiously stilted books before and wasn't sure I wanted to go down that road again. This is NOT one of those books, this is a theatrical telling of the life of Martin Luther (the protestant reformist). I'd say the only real problem with the story its self is that it's too short. There is a lot to Martin Luther and this hits the high notes very well, but you lose some of the nuances of history with this kind of telling. Probably less of a problem overall and more a necessity of the format.

Otherwise, the narrators do a great job. I'm not a fan of the fading from one voice to the next the way they did, I found it more distracting than helpful/interesting.

Overall I enjoyed it, I haven't delved into history on Audible much at this point, but this makes the case that I probably should.

To the Author, I don't know if you'll end up getting to make a movie out of this, but best of luck if you do. I could see this being incorporated into a school/college history class very easily.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unlikely beginnings

Of all of the places to find the underpinnings of the holocaust, I did not expect to hear about Martin Luthor. The drama feels a bit forced, however the message and its importance comes through clear and strong.

The Reformer was a well written screenplay with great narration. It's not usually the kind of thing I go for; I'm glad I gave it a chance.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting study of origins and motivations

Every once in a while I'll come across something that people should but don't know about. This is one of those things -- an interesting perspective on possible contradictions in someone's ideology that led to something entirely different.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting View

The book offers a different take on the course of history, and it's a fun read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Shocking story, Amazing performance

Although I had already studied Protestantism I did not know about Martin Luther's antisemitism. I could not believe Luther had said such terrible things until I googled them myself and learned that they are historically accurate. The voice actor's performance was in particular quite admirable as he presented a diverse yet cohesive character of Luther despite all the ups and downs in his life. I in particular liked the way male and female voices were mixed. It was a novel and interesting technique by assigning the male and female voices not based on the gender of the characters but based on the content of their speeches.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Dramatized Documentary

This is an educational audiobook as it teaches how the protestant reformation started, and yet it is a drama as it gives an entertaining story. Joseph Bevilacqua's performance is astonishing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting

I never knew Martin Luther’s story. This book really shows you the man and his character. I recommend this to anyone looking to learn more about a godly man. And a powerful speaker.