MembersJerusalem Commemorates 500th Anniversary of Protestant Reformation

In mid-October, an extraordinary international conference took place in Jerusalem, discussing the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation.

By Gershon Nerel |

The Israeli organizers were three leading scholarly bodies: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Institute, the Historical Society of Israel and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Another sponsor was the Jewish National Fund. The aim of the colloquium was to collectively address three issues: Martin Luther’s personality and impact, the Reformation itself, and the influences of Protestantism in the Holy Land. A ya Elyada, historian at the Hebrew University, spoke about Martin Luther’s enormous contribution to the consolidation of Germany’s national language by translating the Bible into German. However, she also highlighted the fact that Luther took the liberty of adding his own interpretations into Scripture, especially when he added the word “alone” into Paul’s letter: “man is justified by faith [alone]” (Rom. 3:28). In so doing, Luther maneuvered the text in the direction of his personal theology regarding justification. Orit Ramon of Israel’s Open University spoke about Jerusalem in the Czech–Bohemian Reformation. She described the legacy of Jan Huss as a significant precursor to Martin Luther. The first keynote lecture was delivered by Lyndal Roper of Oxford University, who spoke about the...

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