In the modern world, the idea of information spreading rapidly through social networks, causing uproar and ‘going viral’ is certainly nothing new. However, in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of a Church in Germany, he could not have known that it would set in motion events that would change Christianity forever and go on to shape the modern world.

The influence of the printing press in the revolution that followed is important; the internet leap of the early modern world, it enabled Luther’s letter to be distributed throughout Germany. Equally as important was its translation from elitist Latin to the common German tongue, allowing the people of Germany and eventually the whole of Europe to share in Luther’s outrage and rise up against the corruption of the Catholic Church.

Five centuries on, Bradford Literature Festival invites you to join Renaissance literature expert and historian of politics, society and religion, Professor Brian Cummings, and Bishop Nick Baines as they approach the Reformation from their own wide-ranging perspectives and explore the fascinating parallels between the issues and advancements of the reformation and the modern day.

About The Speakers

Brian Cummings

Brian Cummings is Professor of English and was a founding Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies from 2004 to 2008. He is the author of The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace, a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year for 2003. He has also published widely in journals such as English Literary Renaissance and Studies in Church History, and is a contributor to The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature.

Bishop Nick Baines

Nick Baines is the Bishop of Leeds. He’s an author (of six books), a broadcaster, blogger and tweeter (with 15K followers), and is a member of the House of Lords. He was previously Bishop of Bradford, Bishop of Croydon, and a Russian linguist at GCHQ (after reading German and French at Bradford University).