Johann Valentin Haidt, First Fruits (Erstlingsbild),1748
(Herrnhut: Unitätsarchiv der Evangelischen Brüder-Unität, GS 463)
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From the exhibition website:
The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World
Der Luthereffekt 500 Jahre Protestantismus in der Welt
Deutsches Historisches Museum at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 12 April — 5 November 2017
The German Historical Museum (DHM) welcomes Martin-Gropius-Bau visitors on a trip through five centuries and across four continents. Marking the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, The Luther Effect shows the diversity and history, as well as the conflict potentials of Protestantism in the world. What impact has Protestantism had on other denominations and religions? How did Protestantism change through these encounters? And not least, how have people of different cultures adopted, shaped, and lived Protestant doctrine? Starting with Reformations in the 16th century, the exhibition highlights a global history of effect and counter-effect as seen in the examples of Sweden, the United States, South Korea, and Tanzania.
An impressive display of around 500 original exhibits in an exhibition space measuring some 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet), the exhibition includes exceptional artworks and compelling, meaningful everyday objects from the era. Many of these extraordinary exhibits are being shown in Germany for the first time, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Modern media is used to give background information, enriching the exhibition.
The Reformation was a European event. Since the 16th century, various paths of reform had been leading to a renewal of the Church and life in general. Martin Luther’s Reformation was one of these. However, from a global perspective, other paths such as the Reformed Church or the Anglican Church in England were more influential. The Catholic Church also underwent a process of reform.
Undisputed beliefs and centuries-old practices were called into question. Soon proponents and opponents of reform were fighting not only against each another but also among themselves. The more radical movements like the Anabaptists were persecuted and marginalised not only by Catholics, but by Lutherans and the Reformed as well. The competition forced Luther, the Reformed, Anabaptists, Anglicans, and Catholics to clarify their own positions and to set themselves apart from others. The different reform paths developed into denominations that continue to evolve dynamically to this day.
One Land, One Religion: Sweden as a Lutheran Great Power, 1500–1750
King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, influenced by the Lutheran Reformation, broke with the Pope in Rome in 1527. This contributed to the spread of various reformist ideas in the Swedish Empire. But it was the Synod and the Parliament of Uppsala in 1593 that first established the Lutheran Church as the binding confession of Sweden, resulting in a Lutheran State Church and a confessionally unified state in Sweden.
The Swedish State Church brought the evolution of a new religious culture. The community that emerged saw itself as the protective power of Lutheranism. Swedish rulers and their armies fought on Europe’s battlefields for Sweden’s great power status and Luther’s doctrines. At home in Sweden, the State Church became increasingly restrictive. Church discipline, and the conversion of the Sámi who lived in the north of the country, were intended to consolidate the Lutheran faith and foster a common identity.
The United States of America: The Promised Land?, 1600–1900
Protestantism was brought to the British colonies of North America, later the United States, through the immigration of various groups, churches, and confessions, which accounts for the diversity of American Protestantism. A state church does not exist in the United States; instead, there is a vast landscape of independent churches. Protestantism in the USA developed its unique profile under the influence of charismatic revivalist preachers beginning in the 18th century. This gave rise to new confessions and numerous social reform movements. The so-called Black Churches of African Americans also emerged in the course of this development. Protestantism contributed significantly to the creation of the American nation and the formation of its self-understanding. It shaped the notion of America as the Promised Land, and of Americans as the Chosen People. These concepts gave rise to ideas that continue to influence American society to the present day.
Korea: Boom Land of Protestantism, 1850–2000
In the Republic of Korea (South Korea), numerous religions lead a relatively peaceful coexistence. Almost 30 percent of South Koreans consider themselves Christian, and slightly fewer than two-thirds of them are Protestant. This makes South Korea the only East Asian country where a significant proportion of the population is Protestant.
Protestant missionaries could not settle permanently in Korea until the mid-1880s. At this time, the first Protestant communities, founded by Korean laypeople, already existed. Using the Korean alphabetic script Han’gul to translate the Bible proved to be an important instrument for the missions. After the division of the land and the Korean War 1950–53, most Christians fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to the South. Since the 1960s, South Korea has developed rapidly into an industrialised state. At the same time, the religious landscape has changed drastically: in 1950, three percent of South Koreans were Protestant, and by 1995 the number had already risen to around 20 percent. The relation to North Korea, including the possible reunification of the country, is a key issue in South Korea, and for the Protestant churches as well. On such questions the churches take very diverse positions.
Tanzania: Mission and Self-Reliance Today
The country of Tanzania has been shaped by migration and by the more than 130 ethnic groups who coexist there in a largely peaceful atmosphere. Among the many forms of Tanzanian Protestantism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) plays a major role. With more than 6 million members in 24 dioceses, the ELCT is now the largest Lutheran Church in Africa and the second largest in the world. It traces its origins back to German, Scandinavian, and American missionary societies that were active in the region which had become the colony known as German East Africa (then encompassing today’s Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and part of Mozambique). In addition, the Moravian Brethren, the Anglican Church, and charismatic movements were instrumental in the spread of Protestant faith communities.
A variety of Protestant churches rapidly developed, driven forward by devout Tanzanians. From the outset, the missions aimed to establish financially independent churches and parishes. Today, their influence extends beyond Tanzania’s borders. Missionaries from Tanzania work throughout the continent. With a heedful view of the European churches, they see themselves as preserving the original Lutheran ideals.
Transformation and Schism: Installation by Hans Peter Kuhn
Exclusively for the exhibition, the Berlin artist Hans Peter Kuhn transforms the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau into a gigantic artwork out of aluminum tubing, light, and sound. The installation Transition approaches the worldwide effects of the Reformation from an artistic perspective and makes the processes of the transformation of the relationship of Man to God and the schism of the Church doctrines triggered by the Reformation palpable and perceptible.
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Published by Hirmer, the catalogue is distributed in North America and Japan by The University of Chicago Press:
The Luther Effect: Protestantism—500 Years in the World (Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2017), 400 pages, ISBN: 978 37774 27225, $54.
To mark the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, The Luther Effect offers a vivid and rich journey across five centuries and four continents, detailing the visual history of the growth of Protestantism around the world. The book examines how Protestantism has affected—and been affected by—encounters with diverse denominations, cultures, and lifestyles throughout the centuries. It explores how Protestantism has adapted and transformed and how different people around the world have adopted, modified, and followed its doctrine. Including two hundred and fifty stunning color plates and looking specifically at the art and cultural objects created in response to and in celebration of the religious movement, The Luther Effect presents the first comprehensive global history of Protestantism’s influence, reverberations, and reception.
British Library at St Pancras site and surroundings, including (center) the British Library, (right) St Pancras Station, and (top) the Francis Crick Institute (Photo by Ian Hay).
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Press release (11 April 2017) from the BL:
The British Library has selected a consortium led by property developer Stanhope, working with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, as preferred partner for a project to develop a 2.8 acre site to the north of its Grade I Listed building at St Pancras in London as a major new centre for commerce, knowledge, and research.
At the heart of the development will be 100,000 sq ft of new British Library spaces for learning, exhibitions, and public use, including a new northern entrance and a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute, the national centre for data science research. The development will also include new commercial space for organisations and companies that wish to be located at the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter, close to the Francis Crick Institute and the other knowledge-based companies, research organisations, amenities, and transport links located at King’s Cross and St Pancras.
The Stanhope consortium was appointed following a Competitive Dialogue procurement process that began in late 2015. Stanhope have 30 years’ experience of developing complex central London projects, including Broadgate, Paternoster Square, and the Tate Modern Switch House building. Stanhope are backed by strong financial partners and current projects include the regeneration of Television Centre, White City. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners are well-known for buildings such as the Grade I Listed Lloyds Building and the recent British Museum extension.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley said: “The British Library is one of our finest cultural institutions, housing an unparalleled collection of knowledge. This innovative project will increase access to the Library’s first-class collections, providing new exhibition spaces, learning opportunities, and facilities for visitors from Britain and around the world to enjoy. It is a significant commitment to digital research and data science, and I am pleased the expansion will provide a bespoke headquarters for the Alan Turing Institute.”
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “This new development alongside the Francis Crick Institute will be another gem in the crown of London’s Knowledge Quarter and an ideal location for commercial and life-sciences investment in an area already synonymous with pioneering thinking and Britain’s leadership in research. Our Industrial Strategy will support the development of projects like this to ensure the UK has the environment and skills we need to maintain our position at the forefront of innovation.”
Deputy Mayor for Business, Greater London Authority, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “This is another exciting development for London’s flourishing Knowledge Quarter, our world-leading life sciences sector and our rapidly growing reputation for data science. It is a huge vote of confidence in the capital post-Brexit. London is one of the greatest scientific cities on the planet. We are internationally renowned as a bastion of research and innovation and one of the most attractive places in the world for life and data science companies to do business. This new investment, just a stone’s throw from the Francis Crick Institute, is another huge boost to London’s role as a global capital of science and innovation. As well as leading to world-changing discoveries, products, and services, it will deliver new jobs and demonstrate that London is open to the world’s greatest scientific minds.”
The development project is a key part of the British Library’s Living Knowledge vision to become ever more open, creative, and innovative in the delivery of its purposes. The objectives of this development include:
• More exhibition spaces, increasing public access to the Library’s vast world-class collections
• New facilities for learners of all ages, with expanded programmes for schools, colleges, families, adult learners, and local communities
• Improved public areas and accessibility, with more places to sit and study
• An enhanced offering for business users, building on the success of the Library’s Business & IP Centre
• A new northern entrance close to the Francis Crick Institute and the main St Pancras Station concourse
• A permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK national centre for data science
• Flexible accommodation for third-party companies, institutions, and research organisations seeking to work at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter
• Environmental improvements including enhanced East-West connectivity for local people walking between Somers Town and St Pancras
HM Treasury and the Library’s sponsor department, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have approved the Full Business Case for the project. The Development Agreement with Stanhope is to be finalised this summer, with the design and planning process—including close working with Camden Council, local communities and other neighbours and stakeholders, and an agreed solution to accommodating Crossrail 2 requirements into the development—taking place over the next eighteen months.
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “We are delighted to have secured such high-calibre partners to help realise our vision of the British Library’s London campus as a truly open, creative centre for knowledge. Sir Colin St John Wilson’s Grade I Listed building was one of the great public projects of the last century, and this new partnership will help us to preserve and respect its unique character while creating much-needed extra space both for our growing public audiences and the dynamic research communities in London’s Knowledge Quarter.”