One year after the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, Pitts Theology Library turns to an exploration of the Reformation’s relevance today. The library’s current exhibition and its upcoming 31st annual Reformation Day at Emory both unpack how issues facing the contemporary Christian church and theologians might be addressed by looking to the past.

The fall exhibition, “Looking Back—Looking Forward: Reading the Reformation through the Lens of Contemporary Christianity,” runs through November 30 in the Pitts Exhibition Gallery. Curated by Head of Cataloguing Armin Siedlecki, it presents books and documents from Pitts’ Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection to shed light on the original context of the Reformation and invite discussion on how these documents can inform the issues and concerns of today. Materials selected were chosen in part based on the Future Directions initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the Four Areas of Ministry Focus outlined by The United Methodist Church.

The exhibition is open during regular library hours. Guided tours will be held on October 5, October 19, November 2, November 16, and November 30 at 1:00 p.m. Learn more about the exhibition and sign up for a guided tour. An exhibition catalog will be available online and for purchase in print at Pitts.

The 31st annual Reformation Day at Emory on October 25 will explore “The Reformation at 501.” Presenters will include the Rev. Tiffany C. Chaney, pastor and mission developer of Gathered by Grace, an ELCA mission serving young adults in the Montgomery, Alabama and Tuskegee, Alabama communities; Amy E. Marga, associate professor of systematic theology and division chair for history and theology at Luther Seminary; Deanna A. Thompson, professor of religion at Hamline University; and Steffen Lösel, associate professor of systematic theology at Candler. The event also includes a luncheon musical program featuring the Candler Singers. Learn more and register here.

“As a theology library, we cannot be content simply to document the history [of the Reformation],” says Richard Manly (“Bo”) Adams Jr., director of Pitts Theology Library and Margaret A. Pitts Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theological Bibliography. “Rather, it is our responsibility to show how the documents in this world-renowned collection can inform the present.”

About the Kessler Reformation Collection

In 1987, Richard and Martha Kessler donated their private collection of Reformation imprints and manuscripts to Emory University, which was then combined with Reformation holdings at Pitts. This launched an effort to enlarge and sustain a collection that documents the German Reformation, including 16th century publications by Martin Luther, his friends and associates, and his opponents.

After three decades, the Kessler Reformation Collection holds 3,900 works—a statistic approached by only two other libraries in North America. It also contains over 1,000 publications by Luther himself, more than any other library in the United States.