While October 31st is often associated with Halloween, there is another holiday which coincides on the same day---Reformation Day, the date Martin Luther allegedly nailed his 95 theses to All Souls Church, kickstarting the Reformation. This month’s “Recommended Reading” display will highlight material related to both Halloween, particularly its religious roots in All-Hallows-Eve, and the history, legacy, and theology of the Reformation.
To delve into Halloween’s history, check out Holy Holidays! The Catholic Origins of Celebration. The book details how pagan and Christian traditions around All Souls Day brought us the holiday we now know and love. Providing an investigation into one of Halloween’s many cast of characters, Jonathan Durant presents a history of witches, beyond simple caricature and costume, in Witchcraft, Gender, and Society in Early Modern Germany.
To understand how the Reformation started over 500 years ago, and to see why Martin Luther was such a charismatic figure, check out Martin Luther in Context and the Annotated Pastoral Writings. For a greater understanding of Luther’s global legacy, consult Walter Altmann’s Luther and Liberation: A Latin American Perspective, which examines how Luther’s theology influenced, and continues to influence, “Liberation Theology” in Latin America.
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