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The Diet of Worms

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 12 October 2006

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Diet of Worms, an event that helped trigger the European Reformation. Nestled on a bend of the River Rhine, in the South West corner of Germany, is the City of Worms. It’s one of the oldest cities in central Europe; it still has its early city walls, its 11th century Romanesque cathedral and a 500-year-old printing industry, but in its centre is a statue of the monk, heretic and founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther. In 1521 Luther came to Worms to explain his attacks on the Catholic Church to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and the gathered dignitaries of the German lands. What happened at that meeting, called the Diet of Worms, tore countries apart, set nation against nation, felled kings and plunged dynasties into suicidal bouts of infighting.

But why did Martin Luther risk execution to go to the Diet, what was at stake for the big players of medieval Europe and how did events at the Diet of Worms irrevocably change the history of Europe?

With Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University; David Bagchi, Lecturer in the History of Christian Thought at the University of Hull; Reverend Dr Charlotte Methuen, Lecturer in Reformation History at the University of Oxford.

  • Further Reading

    Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe's House Divided, 1470-1700 (Penguin/Allen Lane, 2004)

    Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Abingdon Press, 1950 but still in print)

    Michael A. Mullett, Martin Luther (Routledge, 2004)

    David Bagchi and David Steinmetz (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Credits

Presenter
Melvyn BRAGG
Producer
Olivia SELIGMAN

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