Commentary by Professor B.: An engaging book by Ruth Tucker reveals the often overlooked life of Martin Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora, who oversaw a boarding house with dozens of rooms, organized a farm and was a brewer while
simultaneously nurturing a large family. Ruth Tucker artfully tells her story while demonstrating how she rose above disingenuous cultural expectations. Read this book for more insights.
Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther, was by any measure the First Lady of the Reformation. A strong woman with a mind of her own, she would remain unknown to us were it not for her larger than life husband. Unlike other noted Reformation women, her primary vocation was not related to ministry. She was a farmer and a brewer with a boarding house the size of a Holiday Inn – and all that with a large family and nursing responsibilities. In many ways, Katie was a modern woman – a Lean In woman or a modern-day version of a Proverbs 31 woman. Katharina’s voice echoes among modern women, wives and mothers who have carved out a career of their own.
Decisive and assertive, she transformed Martin Luther into at least a practicing egalitarian. Katharina was a full partner who was a no-nonsense, confident and determined woman, a starke Frau who did not cower when confronted by a powerful man.
Ruth Tucker invites readers to visit Katie Luther in her sixteenth-century village life – with its celebrations and heartaches, housing, diet, fashion, childbirth, child-rearing and gender restrictions – and to welcome her today into our own living rooms and workplaces.