St. Bartholomew's Day
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Dear Class, 

I thought you might enjoy having a little fun with this website, Luther the Insulter. There is an earlier Shakespeare the Insulter that does the same sort of thing.

Luther was an aggressive polemicist. He had to be. Remember, he pretty much single-handedly started the Reformation insult and that generated a lot of controversy, much of it directed at him. In our modern age, scholarly controversy is conducted on a polite or at least civil basis, most of the time. When Luther lived, however, scholarly debates could turn rather nasty and usually did. Luther was fond of scatological insults and digs against his opponents of which his obseration that the name Dr. Eck also spelled out the German word "dreck" is a mild example. Some might cite this behavior as part of the consequences of how Luther's supposed constipation affected his writings. But his contemporaries and his opponents engaged in the same behavior. In fact, the supposed saintly Thomas More engaged in some of the viler polemical digs against his adversaries.

Luther the Insulter is fun little website, but it is a bit anachronistic. Luther's quotes are censored and sanitized. Fouler language and gender references that in our age are politically incorrect are eliminated. While this is good for the sensitive, it tends to make the historical evidence blander than it really was. Remember, history is not bland. It is down and dirty. It is perplexing. But it is also an adventure, so enjoy some of Luther's insults.

Here is the link:


Ron Fritze


The Post-Reformation Digital Library (PRDL) provides an impressive array of resources for students of the history of theology and Calvin Center philosophy in Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, an era the library designates as Early Modern (see Ron Fritze’s essay, "Eras, Concepts, Dates, Ages....").

Presented as a digital bibliography with links to primary and secondary sources, the library’s web organizes information according to five major categories: Early Modern Theology, Early Modern Philosophy, Patristic Theology, Medieval Theology, and Other Resources, including bibles, correspondence, creeds and confessions, synodical records, and reference works.

“The core of the PRDL project involves the organization of thousands of documents available in digital form from sources including Google Books and the Internet Archive,” the library’s homepage states. “Also included are the offerings of select digital libraries from Europe and North America, which are beginning to make digitized forms of their holdings available to the public. The project covers the work of hundreds of authors from a wide variety of theological, philosophical, and ecclesiastical traditions.”

The project is sponsored by the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies and the Hekman Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Here is the link:


A Conversation in Scotland
about 'the Most Momentous Event'

The Reformation was the topic of “A New Year’s Day Conversation” featuring author Harry Reid and cleric Richard Holloway at the Signet Library on Parliament Square in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the afternoon of January 1.

Mr. Reid, author of Reformation: the Dangerous Birth of the Modern World, and Mr. Holloway, formerly the Bishop of Edinburg, discussed “what the Reformation meant then and means now,” according to a report on The List, an online guide to all things Edinburgh. “500 years on, are John Calvin (b 1509) and John Knox (b 1510) — arguably the most influential figures in shaping the Scottish psyche — the good guys or the bad guys?”

Organizers of the lecture purport that “2010 is the 450th anniversary of the Reformation in Scotland, ‘the most momentous event in our history.’” The event was part of the “Making Scotland” series of Edinburgh Lectures. “The Edinburgh Lectures are led by the city council and presented in partnership with the city's universities, National Museums Scotland, the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Government and The Royal Society of Edinburgh,” the Edinburgh Evening News reported.

U P D A T E :  Thieves strike during the lecture. . . . reported on January 14: 
"A valuable watercolor was stolen from the Signet Library while 200 people were listening to a talk by a bishop on the Reformation's effect on Scotland, authorities said."  Valued at about $6,500, "I Canna Hear Ye," a watercolor by Tom Scott, was snatched from its perch in a basement corridor near the toilets, according to Robert Pirrie, chief executive of the library. 

"The profile of those attending would be members of the public interested in Scottish cultural and religious history," Pirrie said. "I would expect them to be a fairly civilized and restrained group of people.  I would like to think somebody walking around with a small painting in a gilt frame might have attracted some attention."  He said the library is willing to forget the matter if the thief returns the watercolor.

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