Sydney Ideas - Luther and Dreams

29 November 2017


Professor Lyndal Roper, Regius Professor of History, Oriel College, University of Oxford, UK

Keynote lecture for the Reformation, Revolution and Crisis in European History, Culture and Political Thought International Conference, at the University of Sydney

Luther regularly labelled superstition, Catholic dogma, and the beliefs of the Turks and the Jews, as ‘dreams’. ‘Lauter somnia’, pure dreams, was one of his favourite insults, and he liked nothing better than to debunk them. Yet Luther was also fascinated by signs and portents, and though he often joked about dreams, he too noted important dreams.

Dreams also happened to be recorded at key turning points of the Reformation, and they give rare insight into Luther’s deepest anxieties and feelings. Discussed collectively, Luther and his followers used dream interpretations to communicate concerns they did not discuss explicitly. This lecture explores how historians can make use of dreams to understand the subjectivity of people in the past.

Professor Lyndal Roper is Regius Professor of History, Oriel College, University of Oxford, and one of the world’s most renowned historians of early modern times. She is the first woman, and the first Australian, to hold the Regius Chair. Her latest book, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet (2016), is the first historical biography of Luther to be published in English for many decades. Full bio


Chair: Professor Peter Morgan, Director of the European Studies Program at the University of Sydney

Discussant: Dr Cat Moir, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Sydney


Event details

Sydney Ideas - Luther and Dreams

Where Law School Foyer
Level  2, Sydney Law School
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney
Venue location

29 November 2017

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