The Reformation: From the Word to the World

Oct. 28, 2017Feb. 26, 2018
Library, West Hall

On October 31, 1517, German priest Martin Luther, who believed church doctrines created an ever-growing gap between believers and God, is said to have posted a document of what today are called the “95 theses”—his specific disputes—to the door of a church in Wittenberg to contest recent practices of the Catholic Church. What followed was a flurry of written arguments and ideas put forward by scholars, clerics, statesmen, and lay believers to fuel a movement called the Reformation. On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s famous act, The Huntington presents an exhibition of about 50 rare manuscripts, books, and prints made between the 1400s and 1648 (the end of the Thirty Years' War) to address the power of the written word and the relationship between it and radical change within a specific historical moment and geographical region. The exhibition will also pose the question: What is so important to you that you would nail a statement about it in a public place for all to see?