This year marks the 500 anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Sparked in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, the Reformation aimed at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
The 95 Theses addressed the abuse of power by the church and uncovered malpractices such as making people pay for salvation and appointing leaders based on family ties rather than qualifications. Luther’s decision to stand up for his beliefs generated a revolt by the people in order to force the church to reform its practices.
Malone University’s own Gregory Miller, director of general education and professor of history, will speak at conferences in Germany for the anniversary of the Reformation.
From July 18-21, there will be a conference in Nuremberg where Miller will be one of the main speakers.
According to the conference website, “The working hypothesis of this conference is that the establishment of internal distinctions within Christianity in the wake of the Reformation also altered the relationships and points of reference between Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”
In other words, speakers will address the influence of the Reformation on these religions in numerous ways.
The subject of this hypothesis is posed around two central questions. Speakers will be asked to give their insight on how relationships between Christians, Jews and Muslims changed due to the Reformation. They will also examine how the Reformation itself was influenced by the religious pluralism that already existed in Europe with the presence of Judaism and Islam.
In order to make the conversation on the hypothesis as inclusive as possible, different speakers from institutions all over the world will speak on this subject matter. The idea is to have different people with different backgrounds and specialties giving the presentations in order to have the most holistic answer to the proposed question.
There will be another conference in Wittenberg from July 30-Aug. 4, where the International Luther Congress will meet to explore the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Members of this congress, including Miller, will examine the roots of Martin Luther’s insights and interpretations of the Bible. They will also look at the influences of the time period on Martin Luther. Current ways of understanding him will be discussed in addition to the historical subject matter.
While these conferences will be held in Germany, the speakers do not have to give their presentations in German, even if they understand it.
“We always present in our native language, and there are people that translate,” said Miller.
Earlier in the summer, there will be a Malone University service learning trip to Germany. From May 9-20, Malone students will travel from Berlin to Wittenberg to Nuremberg. Although it was not planned to be a special trip for the anniversary of the Reformation, students said they are excited that they will get to be in Germany at this time. They may even get to witness a celebration of the anniversary somewhere.
Olivia Roupe, junior zoo and wildlife biology major, said, “This is the first time that we’ve gone to Germany, so we’re just trying something new. It just turned out to be perfect timing that this is the 500 anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.”
Amber Murphy is a staff writer for The Aviso.