Call For Papers: The 500th Anniversary of the (Lutheran) Reformation

Down yonder way, in Chile!

El 31 de octubre de 1517, el monje agustino Martín Lutero publicó 95 tesis contra el poder y la eficacia de las indulgencias. La publicación de este texto ha sido señalada como el inicio de la Reforma Protestante, un proceso cuyas consecuencias excedieron, con mucho, lo estrictamente eclesial y teológico. Aun cuando es perfectamente discutible la pertinencia de esta fecha específica como el inicio de la Reforma Protestante, existe un amplio consenso (académico y extra-académico) de que ella estimuló un movimiento que afectó a la sociedad alemana de la época y que se extendió en el tiempo hacia otras latitudes, generando nuevas formas de vivir y concebir la religiosidad, la sociedad y la relación entre política y religión.

La trascendencia de la Reforma y de sus diferentes tradiciones se mantiene hasta nuestros días, por lo que la conmemoración de los quinientos años del inicio de la Reforma Protestante es un momento privilegiado para analizar la trayectoria y las perspectivas de este fenómeno religioso, cultural, político, económico y artístico.

El Departamento de Ciencias Históricas de la Universidad de Chile convoca a estudiantes de postgrado de humanidades y ciencias sociales, académicos e investigadores nacionales e internacionales a postular comunicaciones para elCongreso “A 500 años de la Reforma Protestante. Trayectoria y perspectivas” a celebrarse los días 29 y 30 de mayo del 2017.

Etc.  But remember, Zwingli began Reforming in 1515.  Luther was late to the game.  Probably because he was busy drinking…

All Things Made New: The Reformation and its Legacy

All Things Made New: The Reformation and its Legacy.

9780190616816The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome, and a common language – Latin – for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today. In All Things Made New, Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of the New York Times bestseller Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, examines not only the Reformation’s impact across Europe, but also the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the special evolution of religion in England, revealing how one of the most turbulent, bloody, and transformational events in Western history has shaped modern society.

The Reformation may have launched a social revolution, MacCulloch argues, but it was not caused by social and economic forces, or even by a secular idea like nationalism; it sprang from a big idea about death, salvation, and the afterlife. This idea – that salvation was entirely in God’s hands and there was nothing humans could do to alter his decision – ended the Catholic Church’s monopoly in Europe and altered the trajectory of the entire future of the West.

By turns passionate, funny, meditative, and subversive, All Things Made New takes readers onto fascinating new ground, exploring the original conflicts of the Reformation and cutting through prejudices that continue to distort popular conceptions of a religious divide still with us after five centuries. This monumental work, from one of the most distinguished scholars of Christianity writing today, explores the ways in which historians have told the tale of the Reformation, why their interpretations have changed so dramatically over time, and ultimately, how the contested legacy of this revolution continues to impact the world today.

The nice folk at Oxford Uni Press have sent a gratis review copy without any expectation of a positive or uplifting review.  For which I thank them.  More anon.

Scotland’s Long Reformation

95533Exploring processes of religious change in early-modern Scotland, this collection of essays takes a long-term perspective to consider developments in belief, identity, church structures and the social context of religion from the late-fifteenth century through to the mid-seventeenth century. The volume examines the ways in which tensions and conflicts with origins in the mid-sixteenth century continued to impact upon Scotland in the often violent seventeenth century, while also tracing deep continuities in Scotland’s religious, cultural and intellectual life. The essays, the fruits of new research in the field, are united by a concern to appreciate fully the ambiguity of religious identity in post-Reformation Scotland, and to move beyond simplistic notions of a straightforward and unidirectional transition from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Introduction – John McCallum

1. Property and Piety: Donations to Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews – Elizabeth Rhodes

2. Burgh Government and Reformation: Stirling c. 1530-1565 – Timothy Slonosky

3. ‘Fatheris and provisioners of the puir’: Kirk Sessions and Poor Relief in post-Reformation Scotland – John McCallum

4. ‘A Sweet Love-Token betwixt Christ and his Church’: Kirk, Communion and the Search for Further Reformation, 1646-1658 – Chris R. Langley

5. ‘Out of their reasonless Rationalls’: Liturgical interpretation in the Scottish Reformations – Stephen Mark Holmes

6. The Philosophy of the ‘Aberdeen Doctors’, c. 1619-c.1641 – Steven J. Reid

7. Declining His Majesty’s Authority: Treason Revisited in the Case of John Ogilvie – Daniel Macleod

8. Divided by a Common Faith? Protestantism and Union in Post-Reformation Britain  – Roger A. Mason

Brill have sent a review copy for perusal and evaluation.  The collection begins with, quite appropriately given the title of the volume, a long overview of both the history of the Reformation in Scotland and the particular contents of the volume and how they fit into the overall work.

Next up, the essay by Rhodes, though at first glance on a topic that surely couldn’t really be that interesting at all turns out to be one of the more interesting in the collection.  And it’s about donations to a Church!  It includes quite particular mentions of quite particular amounts and items donated to quite particular a church.  She writes, for instance

Traditionally, histories of Scotland’s sixteenth-century church have focused on the confessional divide between Catholics and Protestants. Considerable effort has been expended attempting to pinpoint at what moment a community ‘converted’, or categorising some regions as reformist and others as traditionalist. Yet perhaps this search can be taken too far. The evidence relating to St Andrews suggests that it was possible for individuals and communities to exhibit within a relatively short space of time devotion to both Catholicism and Protestantism, and that confessional boundaries were by no means set in stone (p. 48).

Slonosky’s contribution takes us down quite a different path, allowing us to encounter the reality of Reformation from the perspective of the Burgh.  He begins

Over the course of a little over a year, between the spring of 1559 and the summer of 1560, an entirely new Protestant regime was established in Scotland. The scale and swiftness of the transformation was especially astonishing considering the relatively small number of committed Protestants in Scotland prior to the Reformation. By the summer of 1560, Catholicism was effectively abolished, and the structures of the Protestant church were being rapidly created, though deep cultural and institutional change would take several decades. A satisfactory explanation of this drastic event remains to be written (p.49).

He then proceeds to examine the amazing speed of the Reformation’s victory in Stirling.  As he puts it (on page 50)

The Reformation of Stirling offers an excellent opportunity to see how the Reformation developed in a town which did not have a clear Protestant faction.

MacCullum is concerned with poor relief; Langley with communion; Holmes with liturgical matters connected to Reform; and Reid, in a real tour de force, with Reformed Scholasticism.  He remarks by way of beginning his superlative essay

Who were the ‘Aberdeen Doctors’, and what did they think? The first part of this question is easier to answer than the second. The ‘Doctors’ were a group of academics and ministers affiliated with King’s and Marischal College in the two decades following the accession of Bishop Patrick Forbes of Corse in 1619. They are best known for the series of tracts and pamphlets they exchanged in the summer of 1638 with the Covenanting ministers Alexander Henderson, David Dickson, and Andrew Cant, which denounced the National Covenant as seditious and theologically unsound (p. 149).

In the following pages Reid introduces the uninitiated (and schools the already initiated) into the intricacies of Scottish Reformed Scholasticism- a field as fascinating as any you’re likely to encounter in the entire field of Reformation studies related to the United Kingdom.

MacLeod in the 7th chapter investigates the treason of Ogilvie; and in the 8th Mason takes us on an intellectual tour of Protestantism in the period immediately following the Reformation in Britain.

The volume includes very copious citations of primary sources (complete with incomprehensible Scottish-isms), footnotes, and of course an index, which, joyfully, includes references to Luther and Calvin though not, oddly, to Zwingli in spite of the fact that he is mentioned in the text and in footnotes.  The index, accordingly, isn’t exactly complete.

The volume, on the whole, is, however, completely enjoyable and thoroughly informative.  It can be enthusiastically recommended to those interested in the way the Reformation worked itself out in the Scottish lands.

Fun Facts From Church History: On This Day in 1555

At Augsburg, September 25, 1555, the Lutherans, notwithstanding the double-dealing of some of the most powerful Protestant, or so-called Protestant, Princes, wrung from the Catholics the Decree of absolute religious independence in the sense and to the extent that neither the Emperor, nor the King of the Romans, nor any Prince or Estate of the Empire, for any cause or pretext whatever, shall attack or injure the adherents of the Augsburg Confession on account of their religious faith; nor shall they by command, nor in any other way, force any adherent of the Augsburg Confession to forsake his religion, or to abandon the ceremonies already instituted or hereafter to be instituted; and the Emperor and the King and the Estates shall suffer them without hindrance to profess the religion of the Augsburg Confession, and peacefully to enjoy their goods, possessions, rents and rights.*

*James W. Richard, The Confessional History of the Lutheran Church (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1909), 251.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Worship of Images Legitimized by the 7th Ecumenical Council

The Nicene Council (787 A.D.) nullified the decrees of the iconoclastic Synod of Constantinople, and solemnly sanctioned a limited worship (proskynesis) of images.

Under images were understood the sign of the cross, and pictures of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of angels and saints. They may be drawn in color or composed of Mosaic or formed of other suitable materials, and placed in churches, in houses, and in the street, or made on walls and tables, sacred vessels and vestments.

Homage may be paid to them by kissing, bowing, strewing of incense, burning of lights, saying prayers before them; such honor to be intended for the living objects in heaven which the images represented. The Gospel book and the relics of martyrs were also mentioned among the objects of veneration.*

So tell us again how the Catholic Church opposed idolatry…

*Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (vol. 4; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 460.

Something Else Reformation Related

Europa reformata (english edition)
Reformationsstädte Europas und ihre Reformatoren
edited by Michael Welker, Michael Beintker and Albert de Lange

Europa_Reformata-Cover-ENGL_.inddMore than forty European Reformation cities and their reformers are presented in this book, places spread from as far as Spain via Central Europe to Estonia and Finland, and from Scotland and England to Romania. Well-founded texts and abundant photographs make the activities of the reformers (and their five female counterparts) come alive and highlight the cities with their buildings and historical sources from the Reformation. Supplemented by an illustrated map of Europe and information on church and tourist center addresses, the book is moreover a useful travel guide on the trails of the European Reformation. The perfect gift for the 500th Reformation jubilee.

Here’s the link to ISD.

Martin Luther: The Art of the Reformation- Available from ISD

luther-artVia ISD-

This Fall, exhibitions commemorating the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation will be shown in Minneapolis, New York, and Atlanta. They offer a comprehensive picture of the life and work of Martin Luther, his Reformation, its cultural-historical context and lasting impact. Their focus is on unique exhibits from authentic places associated with Luther’s life and the history of the Reformation.

We are excited to announce new volumes from Sandstein Verlag that are companions to the exhibitions. They are available as a two volume set in a slipcase. You may learn more about that set by clicking through the image below.

Follow this link to learn more about the Essays volume:

Follow this link to learn more about the Catalogue:

The two volumes together can be found here.