Religious Change, 1450 - 1700 | Newberry

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

Gallery Exhibition

In Religious Change and Print, 1450-1700 (opening September 14), visitors will see the Reformation through the eyes of the people who experienced the transformations it spread across Europe and the Americas: preachers and teachers, travelers and traders, writers and printers. Featuring more than 150 objects from the Newberry’s collection—from Bibles, tracts, and poems to maps, music, and art—Religious Change and Print will show how the intertwining of religion and print led to realignments of power that even revolutionaries had trouble keeping up with.

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.

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.

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.

Italian Religious Broadsides

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

Religious Change and Print Culture in the Reformation

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

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