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Word, Image, Song: Celebrating 500 years of Luther's Reformation

On 31 October 1517 the German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, attached his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther’s objections to church doctrine and practices, relating especially to the sale of indulgences, sparked the Protestant Reformation and instigated social and political change on a global scale.

Luther’s belief that Scripture alone is the sole authority for Christian belief and practice, and therefore that salvation is dependent on faith alone because of Christ’s sacrifice, emphasised the value of the word of God and the need for the word to be available to people in their own language.

Luther’s reforms spread rapidly through Europe, and also influenced the colonisation of South Australia and its German immigrants. The recording of Aboriginal languages by German missionaries in order to spread the word of God through the vernacular acted to keep languages alive and establish new traditions of Aboriginal song.

This exhibition will explore the importance of the word, its transmission through the new technology of printing, and its interpretation through images and song.

On display in the Rare Books & Special Collections foyer during Library opening hours from 16 October to 29 October 2017 and then in the Barr Smith Library Reading Room (level 2) from 30 October to 30 November 2017.

Curated by Abaigéal Warfield, Dana Rehn, Clara Stockigt, Jula Szuster and Cheryl Hoskin, generously assisted and supported by the Lutheran Archives

An initiative of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and The University of Adelaide.

Rare Books & Special Collections

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224