Luther and Dreams
Free Public Lecture
Forum Theatre (Room 153)
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Martin Luther regularly labelled superstition, Catholic dogma and the beliefs of the Turks and the Jews as ‘dreams’. ‘Lauter somnia’, pure dreams, was one of his favourite insults, and he liked nothing better than to debunk them. Yet Luther was also fascinated by signs and portents, and though he often joked about dreams, he too noted important dreams. Dreams also happened to be recorded at key turning points of the Reformation, and they give rare insight into Luther’s deepest anxieties and feelings. Discussed collectively, Luther and his followers used dream interpretations to communicate concerns they did not discuss explicitly. This lecture explores how historians can make use of dreams to understand the subjectivity of people in the past.
Professor Lyndal Roper is Regius Professor of History, Oriel College, University of Oxford, and one of the world’s most renowned historians of early modern times.
This lecture marks the 1517–2017 quincentenary of the European Reformation, set in motion by Martin Luther in the German university town of Wittenberg.
The lecture is co-hosted by the History Discipline of the University of Melbourne.