The Luther Effect
|15 November, 2017||Filled under Previous Events, Uncategorized||
The Library, Unitarian Church, 57 Ullet Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool L17 2AA
This year is the 500th annniversary of the Protestant Reformation, said to have begun when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. The effects of Luther’s Reformation have long been a subject of heated debate and will be the theme of this Liverpool Salon discussion. But however controversial, we know that Martin Luther loved Christmas and that his joy in the festival was expressed in the composition of Christmas carols like “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come“. So the Liverpool Salon is delighted that Ullet Road Unitarians are hosting our event, with mulled wine and mince pies around a blazing fire in their beautiful Library. Our picture of Luther comes from a frieze on the Library ceiling. As Martin Luther looks down, will he see the continuation of his ideas among those who claim his dissenting legacy today?
What was the Luther Effect?
The Peasants’ War of 1524-1526 – one of its earliest effects of Luther’s rebellion – clearly drew inspiration from the challenge raised by Luther to the authority of the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. However, while Luther’s rebellion against authority may have coincided with the peasants’ desire to ‘wreak vengeance upon all their oppressors‘, Luther ultimately sided with the ‘lawful authority’ of the powerful elites against ‘the muderous, thieving hordes’ of peasants. And yet it remains an oft-noted irony that in spite of his intentions his rebellion ultimately paved the way for secular modernity and political feedoms. So, how should we remember Luther’s Reformation? As a movement for reform within the Catholic church? As a power struggle between princes, burghers and nobility who used his doctrine of spritual freedom as a weapon to break free from the authority of Rome and capitalise on the confiscation of church property? Most agree that Luther – however unwittingly – started a process that would in great parts shape Europe as we know it today. But should we celebrate his Reformation as a stepping stone to modernity and precursor to the Enlightenment? Or is his legacy to be found in the darker histories of European nationalism and war?
The conversation will begin with short introductions by Liverpool Salon members Pauline Hadaway (for Luther) and Kevin Bean (for the revolting Peasants) and will be chaired by the Reverend Philip Waldron. As always, it is the audience that brings the conversation to life. Please join us. All welcome. There is no charge but donations will be gratefully received. RSVP via Eventbrite