Religious Change, 1450 - 1700 | Newberry

Religious Change, 1450-1700 is a multidisciplinary project exploring how religion and print challenged authority, upended society, and helped make the medieval world modern. The project is generously supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Gallery Exhibition

On view at the Newberry from September 14 - December 27, 2017. Click here to visit the digital version of the exhibition. 

Featuring over 150 objects from the Newberry’s collection, Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 views the Reformation through the eyes of the people—clergy and laity, rebels and regulators, preachers and teachers—who experienced the social, cultural, and political transformations it thrust into their lives.

Project Blog

As the official blog for Religious Change, “The Rite Stuff” answers the burning questions at the heart of the project: How did religion and print transform one another and society? Can Martin Luther be considered an “early adopter” of print? Would he have been an avid Twitter user? What’s the deal with hellmouths? The blog also features the voices of the Newberry curators, reference librarians, catalogers, and other staff (as well as outside scholars) whose collaborative work is making Religious Change possible.

Transcribing Faith

Uncover the history of private religion by transcribing and translating early modern religious manuscripts.

Voices of Reform

This resource allows users to listen to a range of compositions reflecting the diverse vocal manifestations of early modern music.

Tracking the Luther Controversy

This interactive map will help you understand what early modern people called the “Luther Affair” (causa Lutheri). Through publications from the Newberry collection, the debates between Luther and his Catholic opponents come to life again. You can see how these writers used the printing press to share their vision of Christianity with a public that hung on their every word.

Merlo's Map: The Religious Geography of Venice

Giovanni Merlo’s large-scale 1676 map displays the rich diversity of religious life in early modern Venice. This interactive site allows you to explore the Venetian landmarks, minority enclaves, churches, convents and monasteries, processions, and printing centers.

Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 (Digital Exhibition)

Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 explores the intersection of religion and print during the early modern period. This digital resource was created to complement the gallery exhibition, on view at the Newberry in the fall of 2017, of the same name.

The Bible in Print

The Bible was at the heart of religious change between 1450 and 1700. Through the images and texts on this interactive map, you can learn about some of the Newberry’s most important Bibles and gain a sense of how the different editions shaped religion, intellectual culture, identity, politics, and language in ways that continue to resonate today.

Religious Change and Print Culture in the Reformation (Digital Collections for the Classroom)

Find digital primary source documents and background material to enhance classroom lessons on early modern religion and print culture.

Writing the Voices of the Americas

This timeline allows users to visualize the process by which European missionaries sought to learn and utilize languages entirely new to them. Featuring a variety of books, pamphlets, and images, Writing the Voices of the Americas reveals the persistence of indigenous languages and the diversity of native religious practices that often became intertwined with Christian rituals.

Italian Religious Broadsides

Explore how devotion, marketing, art, and typography came together to support public religion in this collection of Italian religious broadsides.

Polyglots: The Bible in Multiple Tongues

This resource introduces the great polyglot Bibles of the early modern period. These editions of the Bible displayed multiple translations side-by-side and are monuments to early modern religious devotion, scholarship, and craftsmanship. Through this resource, you can learn more about their creation and use.

The 95 Theses: You Won't Believe What #32 Is!

In this episode of the Newberry’s “Shelf Life” podcast, Major Projects Fellow Chris Fletcher discusses what Luther originally hoped to accomplish with the 95 Theses, how he marketed religion to a larger audience, and why he had some regrets after empowering people to read the Bible themselves. 

The 95 Theses: You Won't Believe What #32 Is! by Shelf Life, from the Newberry Library

Let There Be Page Numbers

As people were exhorted to read the Bible, new tools emerged to help them navigate its pages: page numbers, indexes, annotations–basically, all the features of the “apparatus of the book” that we take for granted today.

Let There Be Page Numbers by Shelf Life, from the Newberry Library

Early Modern Earworms

Performing early modern music today is a feat of historical reconstruction as much as musical adaptation. Adding to the musical-historical challenge is the fact that some songs (by Bach, for example) were tailored to the strengths of particular choirs and weren’t intended to outlive their creators.

Early Modern Earworms by Shelf Life, from the Newberry Library