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Melanchthon and the “Corpus Reformatorum,” or Protestantism and Progress in Nineteenth-Century Germany

March 11, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Color photograph of a copper plate etching by Albrecht Dürer depicting the bust portrait of Philip Melanchthon facing to the left.
Image: Copperplate with Melanchthon portrait, Albrecht Dürer, 1526 (Schlossmuseum Gotha, Inv.-Nr.8, 24a).

Monday Seminar:

Zachary Purvis

Kingdon Fellow (2018-2019)

School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh


In shaping modern Protestantism and the study of the Reformation, few events have been as momentous, or neglected, as the appearance of the Corpus Reformatorum series, the nineteenth-century critical edition of texts drawn principally from Martin Luther’s Wittenberg colleague, Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560). Through the investment of Prussia’s powerful Ministry of Culture, backed by the Crown, and edited by the one of the leading rationalists of the day, the series came to signify the new scholarly ethos, progressive theological spirit, and distinct cultural and ecclesiastical sensibilities the Prussian state pursued over much of the nineteenth century, reinventing the meaning of the Reformation in this second confessional era.


Zachary Purvis is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Göttingen. He completed his D.Phil. at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford University Press, 2016), awarded Best First Book by the Ecclesiastical History Society. His articles and essays have appeared in such venues as Journal of the History of Ideas, Church History, and The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century Christian Thought, among others. His research has been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Fulbright Program, Leibniz-Institute for European History, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, and other institutions.


March 11, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States