Religions of the Book adds to a growing body of scholarship on Christian perceptions of Muslims and Jews. The collection is somewhat uneven, but several strong articles make this volume well worth reading.
Raphael Hallett’s article on Luther and the Jews is polished and persuasive. This careful examination of Luther’s writings challenges the view that the reformer radically changed his stance on the Jews toward the end of his life; instead, Hallett deftly argues, both Luther’s early and later writings on the Jews exhibit a consistent anxiety about the group as a threat to Protestant identity. Colin Imber’s “Crusade of Varna, 1443-1445” does a fine job unraveling the complex strands that formed the campaign in which Sultan Murad II defeated the Christian host led by King Vladislav of Poland and Hungary. Most Christian goals, he explains, were local and political, but papal involvement provided the glue that made it a crusade. This essay is best read as a companion to Imber’s excellent Crusade of Varna (Ashgate, 2006) as it reveals how he interprets the texts he has edited and translated.