The Battle of the Quills: Luther and the German Reformation

Free Public Lecture

The Battle of the Quills: Luther and the German Reformation

Public Lecture Theatre
Old Arts Building

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Martin Luther is famed as the man who split the Catholic church and started the German Reformation, one of those rare individuals who really do ‘make history’. An extraordinarily courageous man, he could also be extremely belligerent. His was a Reformation which worked by upholding the power of secular rulers, and so he is often accused of being subservient to them. But he also wrote a series of tracts that took on key rulers of the day.

These pamphlets are full of vivid and scurrilous abuse, and they revel in the rhetoric of manhood and the feud. Most theologians attack other theologians: why did Luther attack rulers in this way? What does this tell us about manhood in the sixteenth century, and how the Reformation might have changed models of masculinity?

Lyndal Roper is a graduate of the University of Melbourne where she studied History with Philosophy. She has written several books on witchcraft in Germany, including Oedipus and the Devil, Witch Craze, and The Witch in the Western Imagination. She teaches History at the University of Oxford, where she is Regius Professor, the first woman and the first Australian to hold the post.

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