Luther Returns to Germany: Unique Letter Comes Home for Reformation’s 500th Anniversary Year
Free Museum of the Bible Exhibit, Organized in Cooperation with Local Government and Catholic and Protestant Christians, Coming to Cradle of Protestant Reformation
Augsburg, Germany, was the central stage of two significant meetings at the start of what became the Protestant Reformation. A piece of Martin Luther returns to this storied city just in time for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the historical event when a new exhibit from Museum of the Bible, the 430,000-square-foot museum opening this November in Washington, comes to Germany. The free exhibit, titled Our Book—developed under the guidance of a professor of philosophy and theology at the Zinzendorf-Institute, Roland Werner, Ph.D.—runs in Augsburg April 7 – May 13, with selections traveling on to Wittenberg for exhibit mid-May through mid-September.
"The exhibit shows guests how the Bible has shaped European culture and our entire world," said Cary Summers, president of Museum of the Bible. "Just like the museum opening in Washington in November, the exhibit demonstrates the Bible's history and impact on every facet of life—including science, the arts, government, literature and languages."
Among the historical texts and artifacts to be displayed at the Our Book exhibit are:
- A letter written by Martin Luther, penned a few days before his meeting with the papal representative, defending his views
- An illuminated book of prayers, presented as a gift by a friend of the Luther family to a teenage Charles V, who later as emperor would declare Luther an outlaw
- Middle Ages German Bible translations dating back to Martin Luther
- Ancient cuneiform tablets
- Dead Sea Scroll fragments
- Torah scrolls
- A Lunar Bible that journeyed to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission
Museum of the Bible has held exhibits throughout the U.S. and around the world. Its first international exhibit, Verbum Domini ("The Word of the Lord"), was held at the Vatican in 2012 and 2014. Book of Books was exhibited at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem from 2013 to 2014, followed by La Biblia: The Way of God in the Way of Man in Havana, Cuba, in 2014 and Santiago, Cuba, in 2016. Questions of Our Faith, in Ulm, Germany, in 2016, was the latest international exhibit by the American museum.
"Attendance at Museum of the Bible's 2016 exhibit in Ulm demonstrated Germans' keen interest in the Bible's history and impact on our world," said Werner. "The Bible is the common book of Jews and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, of people all around the world. This interactive Bible experience will allow guests to see, hear and understand the wonder of the best-selling book of all time.
"Based on the strong support of the city of Augsburg and the more than 360 Germans who have volunteered to assist at these exhibits, we anticipate there will be great interest in both of them," he added. "Wittenberg will be swarming with Reformation tourists from all over the world during the summer, and we expect thousands of guests to visit the exhibition over the 100-plus days during which Our Book will be shown."
About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. In 2017, Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world, will open its 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. A digital fly-through of the Museum is viewable here. A 360-degree hardhat tour of the museum is available here.
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