Martin Luther- Renegade and Prophet
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Martin Luther- Renegade and Prophet

Martin Luther- Renegade and Prophet

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St Luke's Chapel

Radcliffe Observatory Quarter,

Woodstock Road

Oxford, United Kingdom

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To celebrate the publication of Lyndal Roper's new book, Martin Luther- Renegade and Prophet, she will be joined by Laura Marcus and Simeon Zahl, to discuss the psychological forces that drove Luther forward.


About the Book

When Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper to the church door of a small university town on 31 October 1517, he set off a process that changed the Western world for ever. Luther's ideas spread like wildfire. His attack on the Church soon convulsed Germany, divided Europe and polarised people's beliefs. They triggered decades of religious persecution, social unrest and war. And in the long run, his ideas paradoxically helped break the grip of religion in every sphere of life. But the man who started the Reformation was deeply flawed. He was a religious fundamentalist, a Jew-hater and a political reactionary. He was a fervent believer who was tormented by doubt, a brilliant writer who shaped the German language and a vicious and foul-mouthed polemicist. He was a married ex-monk who liberated human sexuality from the stigma of sin, but also a man who insisted that women should know their place. For him the Devil was not just a figure of speech but a very real and physical presence. In this first historical biography for many decades, distinguished historian Lyndal Roper gives us a flesh-and-blood figure, warts and all. She reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward - insecurity and self-righteousness, anger and humility - and the dynamics they unleashed which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.


Speakers' Biographies

Laura Marcus is Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature and Fellow at New College, University of Oxford. 

Laura Marcus's research and teaching interests are predominantly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture, including life-writing, modernism, Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury culture, contemporary fiction, and litereature and film. Her book publications include Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice (1994), Virginia Woolf: Writers and their Work (1997/2004), The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (2004). 

Her current research projects include a book on British literature 1910-1920, and a study of the concept of 'rhythm' in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, in a range of disciplinary contexts.


Simeon Zahl is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Nottingham. 

After completing his doctorate, he held a post-doc at the University of Cambridge from 2008-11. In Cambridge, he lectured and supervised for a wide range of courses in systematic and historical theology, assisted Regius Professor of Divinity David Ford in his academic work, and continued his research into the theology of the Holy Spirit.

In 2011, Simeon moved to the University of Oxford as Junior Research Fellow in Theology at St John's College. While at Oxford he gave core lectures in modern systematic theology, taught the course on Martin Luther, supervised masters work in a variety of areas in modern doctrine, and developed, with a biblical studies colleague, a new course on Theological Interpretation of the New Testament. In recognition of this teaching, he was recipient of a Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Oxford Humanities Division in 2015. During this period he also co-directed a British Academy-funded project at Oxford on the Holy Spirit in Protestant theology and history from 1500-1900, and spent a semester in Hong Kong as Visiting Professor of Theology at the China Graduate School of Theology.

Simeon arrived at the University of Nottingham in 2016, where he now serves as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and am Course Director for the Distance Learning M.A. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology.

Jas' Elsner is Fellow and Tutor in Classics, Corpus Christi College; Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology and Art, Faculty of Classics; and Professor of Late Antique Art, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford. After a research fellowship at Jesus College Cambridge, Jas' taught the art history of Greek and Roman antiquity at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London for 8 years as a Lecturer and Reader, before coming to the Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellowship in Classical Art and Archaeology at Corpus in 1999. He has been a regular Visiting Professor of the History of Art at the University of Chicago from 2003-13 and from 2014 is Visiting Professor of Art and Religion in the Divinity School and the History of Art Department there. Jas' has held visiting attachments at the British School at Rome, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, UCLA, the Institute of Fine Art in New York and Princeton University. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of Journals around the world and is joint editor of two monograph series, Greek Culture in the Roman World, with the Cambridge University Press and Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage. Since 2013 he has been Principal Investigator on the Empires of Faith Project between the British Museum and Wolfson College, Oxford, which is exploring the visual cultures of the world religions in the Mediterranean and Asia between 200 and 800 AD.

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Date and Time
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St Luke's Chapel

Radcliffe Observatory Quarter,

Woodstock Road

Oxford, United Kingdom

View Map

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