Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Duke University
Please Note Special Start Time of 12:30 p.m.
On Oct. 31, 1517, a priest named Martin Luther is reported to have nailed a piece of paper to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The paper contained 95 revolutionary opinions that helped launch the Protestant Reformation. Now, as the world marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s actions, this speech examines the long-term impact of Luther’s ideas. Professor Gillespie explores the strange path that at least one strain of Luther’s teaching followed through Spain to Italy, Transylvania, Poland, and England to the United States. There it had a profound impact on the American Founders. It also came into conflict with another strain of Luther’s thought that passed from Calvin to the Methodists and Baptists. This strain influenced the Second Great Awakening. All of these ideas helped set the stage for the struggle between Evangelical and secular society that we see in America today.