Ernst-Joachim Waschke (Foto: Maike Glöckner)

Jubiles spurs on research

On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses against indulgences on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. This brought about the Reformation movement which went on to fundamentally change theology, the Church and society. The year 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of this event prompting numerous scientific, religious and cultural activities around the world. Martin Luther University, which bears the name of the great reformer, will mark the anniversary with a wide range of academic initiatives and activities.
Prof. Dr. Ernst-Joachim Waschke, the rector’s office’s representative for the Reformation Jubilee at Martin Luther University and chairman of the Leucorea Foundation in Wittenberg, spoke with scientia halensis about the preparations and activities that have taken place as part of the “Luther Decade”. “The Reformation History Society was set up at Martin Luther University during summer semester 2006,” says Waschke. “It unites scientists from various subjects and offers them the opportunity to work together in an interdisciplinary way to study the cultural effects of the Reformation.” A series of conferences and workshops has already taken place on this topic and more will follow.
One highlight will be the large international and interdisciplinary congress in Wittenberg in August 2017 whose theme will be “The Cultural Effects of the Reformation”. It will take place from 7 – 11 August directly after the renowned conference of Luther researchers. “This will enable scientists from abroad to take part in both conferences who would otherwise be prevented from coming by the long journey,” says Waschke. The three Central German universities of Halle, Jena and Leipzig are jointly organising the conference, thereby making their own scientific contribution to the jubilee. Extensive preparations are being made together with the Leucorea Foundation and the Reformation History Society. Around 70 speakers will discuss how religion impacts culture and the various aspects of the Reformation’s impact. Around 350 participants are expected.
“The scientific study of the cultural effects of the Reformation are not only directly targeting the jubilee, but also future projects which will build upon the conference’s findings,” Waschke explains. This represents a unique opportunity to expand the Leucorea as a research platform for the overall topic in order to fulfill the desideratum, at least partially, in the research landscape of Saxony-Anhalt.

Written by Ute Olbertz

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