Thoughts on the anniversary of the Reformation

23 February 2017, 19:00
Lecture by Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann (Georg-August University Göttingen)
Lecture accompanying the exhibition "Worlds of images"

Luther Bible (volume 1, sheet IIv: Lucas Cranach the Younger, portrait of Martin Luther). Wittenberg: Hans Lufft (print), 1560/ 1561 | © BSB/ 2 L.impr.21

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann | © Adrienne Lochte, Academy of Sciences of Göttingen

About the lecture

On the occasion of the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann's lecture will address the issue of "decampment" among other things, which is generally perceivable in the fields of geography and astronomy around the year 1500. What was Luther's position in this regard? Does the Reformation fit into a narrative of progress placing the religious and the scientific "discoveries" side by side? What are the actual "accomplishments" of the Reformation? And, is it possible for a contemporary of the 21st century to make reference to this in an appropriate and meaningful manner – even if you do not share Luther's religious convictions?

Prof. Thomas Kaufmann will give answers to these and further questions in his lecture at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. He will also take the time for answering questions and discussion after the lecture.

Personal information

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann works at the chair for Church history at the Department of Theology of the Georg-August University of Göttingen. He obtained his post-doctoral lecture qualification for Church history in Göttingen in 1994. In the year 1995, he became full professor, occupying the Chair II for Church history at the Department of Protestant Theology of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. Since 2000, he has taught Church history at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, assuming the position of dean of the Department of Theology between 2003 and 2005.

Prof. Kaufmann's research focuses among other things on the history of the Church, theology and Christianity during the times of the Reformation and the early modern age. He has published several biographies: about Martin Luther, a history of the Reformation in Europe titled "Erlöste und Verdammte" (The redeemed and the damned) and a history of the Reformation in Germany.

In 2011 he assumed the chairmanship of the Association for Reformation History. Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann is a full member of the Academy of Sciences of Göttingen. He was the First Vice President of the Academy from 2012 to 2016. Since 2015, he has also been a member of the PEN Club. Moreover, he took over the title of Abbot of the monastery of Bursfelde from Joachim Ringleben on 5 May 2016. Only a short while ago, on 13 January 2017, Prof. Kaufmann was awarded an honorary doctorate by "Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet" in Oslo. He received the award from the Oslo university for his research in the field of the history of the Reformation. Kaufmann's interpretation concept of the Lutheran confession culture has met with particular interest in Scandinavia.


Date 23 February 2017, 19:00
Venue Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Friedrich-von-Gärtner-Saal, 1st floor
Ludwigstr. 16, 80539 Munich
Public transport Underground lines U3/ U6, bus lines 150/ 153/ 154, station/ bus stop Universität
Bus lines 100/ 153, bus stop Von-der-Tann-Strasse
Registration Please register by e-mail to or by calling +49 89 28638-2115
Admission Admission is free.
Please note "Worlds of images" is open until 21:00 on this evening!