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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Henrike Lähnemann


Singing and Printing. On the success formula of the German Reformation

Prof. Dr. Henrike Lähnemann
German Medieval Studies
University of Oxford

Singing and Printing. On the success formula of the German Reformation
When Jul 24, 2017
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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2017 sees the 500th anniversary of the publication of the German Reformation. Its rapid spread was based on the succesful combination of three key activities: singing, translating, and singing. The colloquium will provide a hands-on (and voice-on) demonstration of the new genre of the Protestant hymn book. I will start with the soundscape of 16th century Germany, looking at singing as communal exercise and as a deeply personal way of conveying complex theological concepts. Three case studies will then show different ‚translation strategies‘ which transform medieval material into modern mission statements of the emerging Protestant movement:
1. ‚Aus tiefer Not‘,
2. ‚Christ lag in Todesbanden‘
3. ‚Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott‘.

I will end my lecture by looking not just at how Luther paraphrased the Psalm text in 'Ein feste Burg' but also how this protest potential has been used through the centuries, making it into the signature tune of the Reformation.