The Reformation at Five Hundred
“Churches, institutions, and individuals shaped by what began so many centuries ago face a daunting question: How in fact ought one to commemorate the Reformation five hundred years after the fact? It’s not an easy question to answer.”
But this is, in fact, the question that Mark A. Noll, professor of history at Notre Dame, and Thomas Albert Howard, professor of history at Gordon, tackle in their essay “The Reformation at Five Hundred: An Outline of the Changing Ways We Remember the Reformation,” recently published in First Things.
“Today,” Howard and Noll write, “practically all educated Westerners have some vague image of a German monk defiantly banging ninety-five theses to a door and thereby, unwittingly, creating a portal from the medieval to the modern world. . . . [but] only in 1817 did the image of the Ninety-Five Theses being posted on the Castle church door in Wittenberg go viral, as we might say today.”
Dr. Howard is the author of Religion and the Rise of Historicism (Cambridge, 2000) and Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford, 2006), and editor of The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue by Mark Noll and James Turner (Brazos Press, 2008). His most recent book, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe and the Religious Divide (Oxford, 2011) was the winner of a Christianity Today Book of the Year Award.
Dr. Noll is the author of many books, including, most recently, Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011). He was a keynote speaker for a conference organized by Howard and others, “Protestantism? Reflections in Advance of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, 1517–2017,” held last fall at Gordon.