Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in Historical and Modern Context with John Bright

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in Historical and Modern Context with John Bright


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The Protestant Reformation was one of the most consequential movements in Western intellectual history, and it began, so we are told, on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. On the anniversary of that date, this brief conversation surveys Luther’s ideas both in their historical context and in relation to modern American religious ideas that continue to have a profound effect on politics and culture today.

The story of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to a church door in Germany is a dramatization that fills the human need for a moment in time to carry the weight that history later assigns it. Martin Luther did not intend and could not possibly have known what would happen as the result of what was, to him, an academic theological disputation. It was so important that we still remember it 500 years later. That same towering importance, however, can obscure the historical reality, as the original ideas are examined and re-examined throughout history, with each generation reckoning with their importance in its place and time.

This conversation will begin with the historical context of Martin Luther’s dispute with the Roman Catholic Church and why the dispute grew so large in that particular moment. We will briefly discuss the effects these ideas had in Europe, then, endeavoring not to forget their original historical context, move across the Atlantic to discuss how their evolution through discussion and re-use in North America leaves these ideas from 1517 with observable political and cultural consequences in the United States today.

Led by a historian, John Bright, this seminar will deepen our understanding of an influential figure and the impact of this history today. John is joined in this conversation by an ABD colleague from United Lutheran Seminary who has studied Luther under the country’s premiere Luther scholar.

John Bright is a public historian who has worked for seven years at one of the most historic churches in the United States, which is part of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. He has spoken to tens of thousands of people about the intersection of American religious and political history and has experience addressing the thorny questions that arise in such a contested space. He has done doctoral work at Temple University in Philadelphia and General Theological Seminary in New York.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
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C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Terrific summary of a vast topic!

This conversation was quite interesting and informative. The whole subject of the reformation is obviously vast, but Mr. Bright and his colleague made it both understandable and easy to follow with their presentation.

S
Susan (Mira, IT)
In depth lecture about a critical moment in history

An excellent, clear and well-presented account of this critical moment in history.

A
Anonymous (Brookline, US)

Guest did not leave comment

T
T (Tempe, US)
Review

Excellent seminar connecting events of 1517 with modern religions.

G
George Bingham (Philadelphia, US)
Luther’s Tale

John Bright upholds the best traditions of Context. John succeeded in placing Martin Luther in historical context - a challenge well met! Learning of Luther’s time & influences & bringing his influence forward was illuminating. John’s grasp of the material (&Shane’s) made for an excellent presentation & historical time line.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
100%
(6)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Terrific summary of a vast topic!

This conversation was quite interesting and informative. The whole subject of the reformation is obviously vast, but Mr. Bright and his colleague made it both understandable and easy to follow with their presentation.

S
Susan (Mira, IT)
In depth lecture about a critical moment in history

An excellent, clear and well-presented account of this critical moment in history.

A
Anonymous (Brookline, US)

Guest did not leave comment

T
T (Tempe, US)
Review

Excellent seminar connecting events of 1517 with modern religions.

G
George Bingham (Philadelphia, US)
Luther’s Tale

John Bright upholds the best traditions of Context. John succeeded in placing Martin Luther in historical context - a challenge well met! Learning of Luther’s time & influences & bringing his influence forward was illuminating. John’s grasp of the material (&Shane’s) made for an excellent presentation & historical time line.