The Reformation Heritage Project
Reading and rereading the Reformation 500 years since its inception
What was the Reformation of the sixteenth century? How it was read over the centuries? What it tells us in the twenty-first century? These are the three perspectives that the historical-religious research project "The Reformation Heritage: To read and reread the Reformation 500 years since its inception" aims to address, in order to encourage a better understanding not only of historical and religious dynamics that took place in the sixteenth century, but how these dynamics have become common heritage today through operations sometimes subject to ideological and religious readings, which produced the crystallization of some aspects and hiding others.
It is thus the production of an understanding of the Reformation that allows us to abandon definitely the season of contrast and readings and simplified interpretations to promote a recovery of theological richness, and spiritual and cultural heritage, a legacy more than ever necessary to improve the historical memory and the construction of a global society based on human values.
The project aims to articulate in three phases of research and study:
a) how did the sixteenth century Reformation unfold, with the meeting and confrontation of proposals for religious and social reform? To turn to this universe, already widely explored, seems appropriate, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary celebration, for a better understanding, starting with the re-presentation of some figures, such as Martin Luther (1483-1546), Philip Melanchthon (1497- 1560), Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), John Calvin (1509-1560), Matias Flaccio Illyria (1520-1575), Juan de Valdes (1505-1541), Michael Servetus (1511-1553), Reginald Pole (1500- 1558), Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) and Menno Simons (1496-1561), in some places, like Wittenberg, Geneva, Basel, Lucca, Munich, Trento and Venice, and some texts as the "Augsburg Confession" (1530), the "Institutes of the Christian religion" (1536), the "Seven dialogues" (1540), the "Benefit of Christ" (1543) and "Thirty-nine articles of faith" (1562), just to name some;
b) how the Reformation of the sixteenth century was read, reread and interpreted over the centuries, with a multiplicity of interventions that were beyond the theological reflection field itself; due to their religious and cultural significance, it seems suggestive to investigate how the sixteenth century Reformation was read by men and women throughout history, as Voltaire (1694-1778), Denis Diderot (1713-1784), Friedrich Engels (1820-1895 ), Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), Helder Camara (1909-1999) and John Paul II (1920-2005), to name a few examples. In this regard, particular interest lies in rereading the Reformation by retired generations that followed, with the accent of old items and the introduction of new, including the contributions of the Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal communities the past 150 years. For a better understanding of this reading, we would proceed with the deepening of how, in the Reformation universe, several figures of the past have been proposed, as Aristotle, Cicero, Constantine, Augustine, Benedict, Francis, Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe , Jan Hus and Savonarola, to understand how they were delivered to contemporary culture;
c) what the Reform says to the twenty-first century, with special attention to certain issues, such as religious freedom, the authority of the Bible, the Reformation-revolution dialectic, the relationship between multiple readings of the Reformation and the contemporary ecumenical movement, the ethical proposals of the Reformation in contemporary society. These themes are essential for everyday life not only of the Christian community, but for the lively debate on the reconsideration of a society in which the strengthening of inter-religious and intercultural dimension can only be realized in full understanding of the plurality of identities that are part of the theological and cultural heritage of the sixteenth century Reformation and its legacy.
The project, which aims to be an opportunity for scientific cooperation between academic institutions from various countries as well as individual scholars, should produce:
1. A portal to place the progress and results of research, with a space for discussion and debate.
2. The celebration of two conferences in order to deepen the three points of the project; the two conferences should be held during 2017, in two different places, promoted by two entities directly involved in the project (in Italy, in February and in Brazil, in October / November).
3. The publication of a collection of e-books, studies and research associated with the project.
Precisely by the nature of interdisciplinary, inter-faith and international project, it is assumed the establishment of a Scientific Committee, composed of researchers appointed by the institutions directly involved in the research and in the pursuit of intellectual and economic resources needed for its achievement.
Translation: Camila da Costa