Luther: 500 Years

An introduction by Bob Scribner to our November series on Martin Luther.


There have been Reformation anniversaries of various kind: celebrated since 1617, but there are clear signs that :his anniversary will be rather different from those which L have gone before. The sweeping changes in the ways we have learned to study the past in recent years, especially through the rise of social and economic history, have begun to have their impact on our understanding of the Reformation. We are no longer so sure that the Reformation was either the work of one man alone, or a straightforward religious process which followed the course desired by the sixteenth-century religious reformers. It is now seen as a complex political, social and cultural process, in which Luther and his theology represent only one of many different impulses, religious and secular. This has led to historians taking a greater critical distance from Luther, questioning the received textbook image of the man.


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