Speakers including The Rt. Rev and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College and former Archbishop of Canterbury, will address the complex issues of Martin Luther’s divisive legacy

Luther has been both revered and reviled, but what place do his ideas occupy in contemporary German society?

Few historical processes have been as epoch-defining –or as divisive—as the Reformation triggered in part by Martin Luther’s revolt against a corrupt Catholic hierarchy.

In the year of the 500th anniversary of the publication of his “95 theses” –most notably his opposition to Papal indulgences—Luther’s legacy is in need of revision.

A distinguished group of historians, theologians and biographers will meet on Sunday 22 January at the University of Cambridge to grapple with the many contradictions in the life and the works of one of the most influential figures in European history.

Speakers, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College, Lord Rowan Williams, will discuss Luther’s historical and current impact on Germany, Europe and the world.

Lord Williams will be joined by Lyndal Roper, Regius Professor of History at Oxford University and the author of Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet.

Also speaking will be theologian and philosopher Dr Christina Aus der Au (Basel University), President of the Deutsche Evangelische Kirchentag –Germany’s Evangelical Church Assembly—and Dr Elisabeth von Thadden, a journalist for Die Zeit and member of the Kirchentag.

Luther has been both revered and reviled, but what place do his ideas occupy in contemporary German society? Might European history have been different without his contribution? Five centuries after his provocative act triggered a European schism, and in an age of globalised ideas, what are the challenges and opportunities for Protestantism?

Speakers will address these and other thought-provoking questions in a landmark panel discussion hosted by the DAAD-Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies. The event will be chaired by Professor Ulinka Rublack, Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge’s History Faculty, and author of The Astronomer & the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for His Mother.

The panel discussion, to be followed by questions & answers, will take place at 15.00 hrs in the Riley Auditorium at the Gillespie centre, Clare College. At 18.00, there will be an Evensong service at Clare College chapel presided over by Lord Williams. The cantata will be “Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild, BWV 79”, one of Bach’s cantatas for Reformation Sunday.  At the service the Choir will also perform the final movement of “Lob, Ehr und Preis sei Gott from Nun danket alle Gott, BWV 192”.

“Luther, Germany and the Reformation”: Sunday 22 January 2017, 15.00, Riley Auditorium, Gillespie Centre, Clare College, CB3 9AJ, Cambridge. For further information, or to request interviews with the event organiser, please contact Dr Ulinka Rublack, ucr10@cam.ac.uk, +44 (0) 1223 3 38682

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