Martin Luther's translation of the Bible is still an essential testimony to the Reformation today. After the Wittenberg reformer refused to recant his teachings to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in April 1521, a politically difficult but theologically incredibly fruitful time began for him. In order to remove him from the focus of the major political situation, the Saxon Elector Frederick the Wise had him arrested by armed men on his return journey to Wittenberg in the night of 5 May 1521 and taken to Wartburg Castle near Eisenach. In the autumn, Martin Luther began translating the New Testament into German at the fortress. He used a copy of the Greek Bible by Erasmus of Rotterdam as a model, together with his own Latin translation and the Vulgate. This event is the starting point of the thematic guided tour through the historical rooms of the Gotha Research Library, in which the significance of the Holy Scriptures for Protestantism will be demonstrated by means of selected manuscripts and historical prints, especially works from the Bible. The tour will be led by Dr Hendrikje Carius, historian and deputy director of the library.
The Gotha Research Library preserves an outstanding collection of manuscripts, bequests and autographs on the intellectual-historical foundations and the formative phase of the Reformation, as well as on its history of impact and the life of Protestantism up to the middle of the 18th century. The so-called Reformation manuscripts from the 16th century alone comprise 260 volumes with almost 16,000 individual documents.