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The Protestant Reformation in the context of global history

October 28, 2016

The conference "The Protestant Reformation in the context of global history" being hosted at Trento-based Fondazione Bruno Kessler wraps up tomorrow. Religious reforms and civilizations".

“The Italian-German Historical Institute of Trento is the ideal location for such an initiative”, organizers say, “given the influence of its genius loci that prompts discussion between the Reformation of Wittenberg and the Tridentine Reform and for the geographical location of Trento, a communication channel between the Romance and Germanic areas of Europe. ”

“The forthcoming fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation, a watershed in the history of Christianity and Europe”, researcher of the Historical Institute researcher Massimo Rospocher, who collaborated with the Scientific Committee, emphasizes “provides an opportunity to address in a global perspective issues that are critical for the contemporary world, which sees the radicalization of certain religious orientations”.

Are world religions capable of reforming themselves? And do they influence each other? These are the questions which the experts of world religions who will be working until tomorrow as part of the Italian-German Historical insitute’s Study Week will try to answer

The closing remarks and the final discussion, scheduled for 11.00 am tomorrow, will be hosted as well at the offices on Via S. Croce. Works will be conducted in English.

Abstract of the conference.

From the moment Max Weber sketched his grand scheme for the sociology of religion in the context of world history, conditions and research methods have undergone a radical transformation. The monographic studies have given way to different research projects, international and interdisciplinary, developed in parallel by many specialists; the Eurocentric studies, or those focusing on Europe and North America, have been replaced or complemented by real global perspectives.

The upcoming fifth anniversary of the Reformation can also be seen in this perspective, at least as regards the analysis of cause and effect in the appearance of Luther and of the reforms that he has set in motion. While in previous centuries the celebration of the centenary of the Reformation were intended to define the Protestant identity in relation to the German nation, or at most in a European and North American perspective, the celebration / anniversary is being made to initiate an interfaith and interreligious dialogue in a global history context. Only in this way can the specificity and the ‘memorability’ of 1517 be redefined, and the postulate of its ‘world impact’ be opportunely updated.

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is an opportunity to confront Max Weber’s proposal.  The aim is to elaborate responses that will also help to clarify the complex religious and political situation of our own day. During this two-day conference, experts on the major world religions – and on the world civilisations on which these religions have made their mark – will discuss the problems of religious history and of the sociology of religions such as are raised by the Reformation.