Cultural Impact of the Reformation: Section I.4: Abstracts

Astrid Wohlberedt (Halle/Saale-Wittenberg, Germany)

»He That Is without Sin among You«. ›Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery‹ in the Paintings of the Cranach Factory

This contribution presents a part of a chapter of the speaker’s thesis project, entitled »Laws, the Law and Justice in the Paintings of the Cranach Factory«.

Using a typology of the numerous paintings of the topic ›Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery‹, first developed in the research concerning Cranach, the questions of how the Reformation adopted this subject and whether it is possible to deduce an ›iconography of the Reformation‹ will be addressed. By recapitulating contemporary literature, theological-Reformatory sermons and writings and research of legal history (Ralf Frassek and others), the following study concerning the meaning of marriage scrutinises the message and the relevance of this topic.


Ariadna Sotorra Figuerola (Barcelona, Spain)

Representations and Visual Impact of the Iconoclastic Processes of Wittenberg (1517-1522) in 16th Century German Art

The city of Wittenberg played a key role in the evolution of the processes of the Reformation and in the manifestation of the first Protestant iconoclastic acts.

During Luther’s ›exile‹ in the castle of Wartburg (Eisenach), between May 1521 and March 1522, the city became the scene of the first revolutionary and iconoclastic actions of the Reformation. Iconoclastic attacks, targeting the Stadtkirche, the Schlosskirche and the Augustinian monastery began in the autumn of 1521 and continued until the spring of 1522.

The iconoclastic disturbances caused a cultural and visual impact on the images created in the later years. This current presentation analyses the direct and indirect impact of the Bildersturm of Wittenberg through the post-event images.


Lydia Wegener (Berlin, Germany)

»Eyn konygin von gnaden« (A Queen by Grace). The New Conception of Maria in 16th Century Catholic ›Salve Regina‹ pamphlets

In the Middle Ages, the success of the 11th century Marian closing antiphon ›Salve Regina‹ is remarkable. In 1522, Martin Luther already criticised its cultural predominance. This could be seen as the starting point of an aggressive debate carried out in pamphlets, which demonstrates how the antiphon’s apologists felt obliged to respond to the arguments of their Reformatory opponents, albeit the latter’s harsh rhetoric. Looking at some 16th century ›Salve Regina‹ pamphlets, this contribution scrutinises the way Maria’s function was redefined by Catholic authors, both to accommodate and shape particular cultural frames.


Aisling Reid (Belfast, Great Britain)

Reforming Art in Early Modern Italy

This paper will consider the effects of the Reformation on artistic practices in early modern Italy. Drawing on Italian artistic treatises written in the years after the closure of the Council of Trent, it will demonstrate the ways in which artists were encouraged to eschew ›fantasy‹ in favour of more ›realistic‹ depictions which affirmed the validity of corporeal interactions with God. 16th century art theorists such as Comanini, Dolce, Borghini, Paleotti and Mazzoni demonstrated how the divine might be accessed via verisimilar representations. Their writings advised artists to steer clear of fantastic inventions, which were not only deceptive but potentially idolatrous, and instead adopt a more realistic approach to representation that would enable onlookers to perceive the sacred imbued in the material world which surrounded them. In this regard, the shift away from the ›mannerism‹ of artists such as Pontormo towards the ›realism‹ of Caravaggio and Gentileschi can be understood as a response to reformers’ criticism of material piety and an affirmation of corporeal interactions with God.


Susanne Wegmann (Köln, Germany)

From the Afterlife to this Life. Luther’s Widerruf vom Fegefeuer (Repeal of Purgatory) and its Cultural Impact

What comes after death? Late medieval pictures offered believers deep insights into afterlife. They visualised the entry of the redeemed into the kingdom of God, showed the beatific vision of the holy people, the Holy Trinity on the throne in the heaven, or Maria’s coronation. In contrast to these pictures of hope, there were also pictures of horror: punishment and suffering of sinners in hell or purgatory. Luther questioned these concrete images of afterlife, thinking that human reason was not able to grasp the divine mystery. This contribution scrutinises what impact Luther’s opinion had concerning the imaginations of afterlife.


Yekaterina Yakovenko (Moscow, Russia)

Bible Translations as the Legacy of the Reformation. Translational, Contrastive and Cognitive Aspects

Wide spread of biblical translations and their diversity should be considered as the main achievement of the Reformation. The paper focuses on a new approach to biblical translations which combines translational, contrastive and cognitive views of the biblical text. We subject to an analysis two outstanding Bible translations of the Reformation – the Luther Bible (1534) and the King James Bible (1611) – which made a great impact on the language and culture of German- and English-speaking countries. Translational and contrastive approaches allow to determine the character of equivalence arising between the vocabulary of a biblical translation and that of the source text. A cognitive approach aims at the search for key concepts of the Bible and means of their expression represented in the source texts and translations.


Klaus C. Yoder (Poughkeepsie, USA)

Provocative Rites. Rhetoric as a Force of Restoration and Destruction in the Reformation

The reformers undertook their revisions to worship by drawing on the rhetoric of divine speech found in the Bible. Nevertheless, they worried about the abuse of rhetoric destabilizing society and polluting the church. A useful case study are the debates on compromise in ›adiaphora‹ during the Interim. Melanchthon and his associates attempted to ward off the re-introduction of Catholic prayers and teachings in Evangelical worship, while tolerating the return of traditional elements such as the alb. At the same time, they avoided heated exchanges with Magdeburg’s ›Chancery of God‹, who refused to compromise. This historical moment is thus marked by an obsession with the threat of human language to divine institutions, whether through idolatrous prayers or the rhetorical excess of polemic.


Tadeusz Miczka / Bogdan Zeler (Katowice, Poland)

Polish Evangelical Culture

Evangelicals took their place in the Polish history commendably, in the time of the Reformation movement, in the difficult times of counter-reformation, and in modern times when they have been in the diaspora. Reformation has also contributed to a number of significant transformations that have taken place in Polish national culture. Lutherans attach special importance to the term Sola scriptura, »by Scripture alone«, one of the main doctrines of the Reformation. They assigned great meaning to the Holy Bible, which resulted in Protestant translations of the Bible into Polish and publication of numerous postils and cantionals. Lutheran authors of religious songs went down in history of the Polish literature. Evangelicals have contributed greatly to the development of the Polish language, which was the subject of special attention and concern. Evangelical publishers performed a prominent role in the Polish culture. The evangelical movement in Polish literature is rich, and the Evangelical achievements in other areas of culture, including theater, music, architecture and film are equally impressive.

The paper discusses the cultural achievements of Polish Evangelical authors and artists who, on the one hand, form their evangelical identity, on the other hand show the place of Evangelicals in the Polish national culture.

Kulturelle Wirkungen der Reformation

7 to 11 August 2017

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