Is the posting of Luther's 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle Church on 31 October 1517 fiction or truth? This question remains controversial. The fact is that the earliest depictions of the now commonly known motif of Luther with the hammer were created only in connection with the 200th anniversary of the Reformation in 1717. They are depicted in the comprehensive documentation of the jubilee celebrations published by the Gotha church councillor, historian and library director Ernst Salomon Cyprian (1673-1745) in 1719 under the title "Hilaria evangelica" (Protestant Feast Days).
In the talk, Dr Daniel Gehrt Forschungsbibliothek Gotha and Dr Thomas Seidel (Evangelical Church of Central Germany) will provide insights into the digital exhibition, which is presenting this monumental work to the interested public online for the first time. The uniquely dense tradition of manuscripts, old prints, medals and graphics from Lutheran cities and territories of the Old Kingdom and other parts of Europe, which Cyprian had compiled, allows this anniversary to be reconstructed in detail. Further approaches to the anniversary of the Reformation are offered by short scientific contributions from the fields of political, ecclesiastical, educational and musical history as well as festive and visual culture.
The exhibition was created in connection with the project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to index the estate of Ernst Salomon Cyprian. The holdings were indexed in greater depth by Daniel Gehrt, who works as a research assistant at the Centre for Reformation Research at the Gotha Research Library. The Protestant theologian and historian Dr Thomas A. Seidel has been head of deacon training in the Protestant Church of Central Germany since 2019 and was the Thuringian state government's commissioner for preparing the Reformation anniversary "Luther 2017".