Reformation Thursday

The CHI has it’s latest post in their series about the Reformation.  Take a look.

This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is presenting an exhibit dedicated to Luther and the Reformation ( It is worth seeing if you’re in the area, as the Mia is the only place it will be displayed in the United States! If you are unable to attend, an excellent catalog of the exhibit will be available for purchase; as a local (and an Mia member) I will be visiting the exhibit multiple times during its run. So stay tuned for my summary, which will appear on our blog!

The relationship between theology and art is the focus of my own work as a scholar and professor—and in my spare time it also occupies my work as the image researcher for Christian History. But as the quote above indicates, this relationship is not always simple. In the twenty-first century, our images may show up on Powerpoint slides; in the sixteenth century, they were statues, tapestries, paintings, and stained glass windows. The Catholic Church interprets the first commandment cited by Karlstadt above to be not a prohibition against images, but against polytheism (worshipping more than one God). Whereas the Reformed tradition considers “you shall not make any graven image” to be a distinct (that is, second) commandment, Augustine, and the Catholic Church with him, grouped the first three statements as one, related commandment: “I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me, you shall not make any graven image,” which invites the reader to define “graven image” in relationship to fidelity to God.