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The English Reformation: Papacy, Politics, and Protestantism

Evening Program

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2024
Martin Luther as an Augustinian monk; after 1546; workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder

When Martin Luther pinned his writings to the church door in 1517, no one could have imagined how this action would reverberate for generations, shaking the very core of Christian belief and dismantling years of political and religious practices. Although England’s King Henry VIII initially resisted the new religious ideas and literature flowing into the country, he ultimately chose lust and lineage over Catholic liturgy and pushed England into religious reform.

Considered by some to be the “First Brexit,” the 16th-century break with Rome and Catholic Europe would forever change England’s religion, culture, communication, and place in the world. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger examines how the impact of the Reformation affected all areas of English life. Monastic lands were seized by the crown and passed into private hands, representing the largest redistribution of land and wealth since the Norman Conquest. After church services changed and religious symbols and statues were abolished, artists, musicians, authors, and playwrights shifted their focus to secular topics, creating new cultural experiences throughout the country.

The printing press provided the means for these new ideas and practices to become entrenched, and the prevalence of the Book of Common Prayer and Bible in English changed the relationship between worshippers and God. Learn how London society and culture were utterly transformed by the Reformation, and how England became a maritime nation, a global power, and a new empire with trading relationships around the world.

Lloyd Stanger is former manager of visitor education at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)