News Release

Southern Virginia University to Host Reformation Conference

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Scholars and religious leaders will gather to Southern Virginia University for a conference on the “Cultural Impact of the Reformation” on November 16 and 17.

“The Reformation has had an enormous impact on Western culture, in way that we may not even notice — music, literature, art, philosophy — not only in religion,” explained Jeremiah John, associate professor of politics at Southern Virginia. “When we start to look the world of the Reformation, it seems foreign to us, but so many things in our world would be different if it had not happened.”

The conference, which has been organized by history professor David Cox and English professor James Lambert, joins the Southern Virginia community with celebrants across the world in commemorating the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses.

Lectures and discussions on November 16 and 17 will feature scholars from five universities and several pastors and clergy from the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the Rockbridge area.

“Because of this anniversary…we’re rethinking what the Reformation means — for us, for English literature, for the history of Europe, for America and so forth,” said Dr. Lambert.

“What we wanted to do is tap some of the local scholars, pastors, preachers and bring them in so we can get different ideas and facets to starts a conversation between students and faculty about the Reformation and what it means.”

The conference kicks off at 9 a.m. in the Ballroom of Southern Virginia’s Main Hall, and begins with opening addresses by Dr. Cox and Dr. Lambert. An interfaith panel on the Reformation, with religious leaders from Rockbridge-area congregations, will be held at 5:00 in the Ballroom.

Mark Rankin, distinguished associate professor of English at James Madison University, will deliver the conference’s keynote address at Southern Virginia’s weekly Convocation, where he will discuss the role of Erasmus and Tyndale in the Reformation. The talk will be Friday at 11 a.m. in the Knight Arena.

Reformation topics to be discussed include:

Presenters include Mikki Brock and Genelle Gertz from Washington and Lee University, Peter Eubanks and Mark Rankin from James Madison University, Erin Lambert from the University of Virginia, Dina Al Qassar from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and James Lambert, David Cox, Jeremiah John, Virginia Mosser, and Marcel Widzisz from Southern Virginia University. Also appearing on a panel will be protestant and Catholic clergy from the local communities.

The conference is free. Faculty, students and staff, in addition to the general public, are invited to attend all events.