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Quayle: 2017-2018 Exhibit


500 Years After Luther


In Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517, a professor named Martin Luther stood at the entrance of the local church door and nailed a list of 95 complaints to it. The complaints ranged from corruption in the Church to the selling of indulgences to pay for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica. However, like any college professor would, Luther primarily complained about the lack of access to knowledge and primary sources. Although this was not the Vatican, it was a symbolic gesture that one church belonged to a bigger whole.

The movement did not necessarily start with Luther. Instead, Luther existed in a time frame in which there was a culmination of movements that had begun a hundred years before. The rise of education and socioeconomic stability in Europe lead to people having access to read the Bible in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, as well as Greek and Roman philosophy. As soon as Luther sparked the fire, the movement spread throughout most of Europe. The Church attempted to quell the fire by reforming theology and increasing art projects, yet the damage had been done.

The movement ends over a hundred years later with the Thirty Years War and the Peace of Westphalia (1648). The Protestant Movement did not only extend to religion, but it encompassed all European life. It helped spawn ideas of Nationalism, Secularism, the Enlightenment, Scientific Innovation, and the concept of University. It is the movement that would help create modernity in Europe.

Special thanks to those who helped guide and assemble this exhibit:

  • Caleb Lee, Baker University
  • Mary Tusten, Baker University
  • Kirsten Gerdes, Riverside City College, CA 

In addition to the overview provided in each box below, you can use the arrow buttons to view collection items that were part of the exhibit.  If you click on the image or caption title, the image will be enlarged in a new tab with the option to zoom in further.

Martin Luther

When Martin Luther opposed the Church, he challenged the very authority of Pope Leo X and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. This led to his excommunication and his exile at the Diet of Worms in 1521. Luther’s theology developed because he had the access to study original texts. During this time, Europe was rediscovering many different religious and philosophical texts and reading them in original languages. Luther’s reading of the Bible came at a time where many scholars were also reading Plato and shaping the field of Philosophy. Luther believed that the Bible alone held the authority of God and that Papal decree was not divinely inspired. As a result, most of his complaints against the Church were formed in areas where the Church’s rulings were not biblically based. A primary theological concept that was debated was salvation, which Luther saw as something that came only through God. Many cite the selling of indulgences, or forgiveness for sins, by Johann Tetzel as the spark for Luther’s action. He also took issue with the office of the Priesthood, an office in which he was a member. Luther believed that all Christians should have access to the knowledge of the holy priesthood. He also believed that priests and nuns should have the right to marry. 


Der Ander Teil, by Martin Luther. Jena : Christian Rodinger, 1555.

A major part of Luther’s legacy is his translation of the Bible into German, such as this.  Although not the first person to do so, his German Bible will become the basis for much of the Protestant movement. Translating the Bible was important for Luther. He believed  that tradition and sacraments have to be textually based.


[Bible] Luther. Basel : Emanuel und Johann Georg Konig, 1701.

A collection of Luther’s works with a depiction of him and his supporter, Fredrick the Wise, praying at the cross. Many of these texts would have circulated as a result of the Gutenberg press.

Luther and Erasmus

It has been said that Erasmus was Luther’s greatest opponent, and it was not unprovoked. Luther wrote an entire work, On the Bondage of the Will (1525), protesting Erasmus’ On the Free Will (1524). In this, Luther put forth his ideas of Sola Fide, which means that through faith of God alone is how people reach salvation. This idea will lead to the concept of predestination that nothing a person does determines their fate, but only the grace of God. Yet Erasmus and Catholic Doctrine state that humans choose to do good or bad. Even though the two vehemently disagreed, Erasmus was known for his brilliance and kindness among Protestants. In a letter from Zwingli, he stated about Erasmus, “When I think of writing to you, Erasmus, best of men, I am frightened by the brilliance of your learning, which demands a more spacious world than that ‘which all around we see,’ but I am encouraged at the same time by the charming kindness you showed me when I came to see you.” Erasmus was not completely blameless in the Protestant Reformation and actually translated versions of the Bible from the original languages. He was also concerned with having access to primary texts for personal interpretation. 


Adversus execrabilem Antichristi bullam, by Martin Luther. Wittenberg : Melchior Lotter the younger, 1520.

Luther not only engaged the Catholic Church, but also many of the scholars of the time. His most heated rival was none other than the famous Catholic Humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam. Much of their debate centered on the concept of freewill, given that both were trained in the works of St. Augustine.This is one of Luther’s commentaries that would have circulated throughout the Holy Roman Empire, which furthered his reputation, no doubt reaching scholars like Erasmus. 


[New Testament] The Newe Testament our oure Saueour Iesus Christ, tr by William Tyndale. No location : no publisher, 1549.

This is proof of Erasmus’s legacy even amongst Protestants: a Tyndale New Testament with the Exhortation of Erasmus printed in it.

Erasmus to Martin Luther (1519)

 “I was very much pleased by your letter, which revealed a penetrating mind and breathed a Christian spirit. No words of mine could express what tragedies have been stirred up here by your pamphlets….I have asserted that you are a complete stranger to me and that I have not yet read your books, and that therefore I neither disapprove nor approve of anything in them…Some men in England think very highly of your writings, and they are men of great importance…As for myself, I remain impartial so far as I can, in order to be of more value to the renascence of good learning. In my opinion, more can be accomplished by polite restraint than by vehemence…as for matters that are too commonly accepted to be suddenly uprooted from men’s minds, we should discuss them and employ sound and convincing proofs and not make rash assertions...” 

Erasmus, On the Freedom of the Will (1524)

 “….it [free choice] has been more violently stirred up by Martin Luther, who has put out an Assertion about “free choice” and although he has already been answered by more than one writer, it seemed good to my friends that I should try my hand and see whether, as a result of our little set-to, the truth might be made more plain.” 

Martin Luther, On the Bondage of the Will (1525)

 “…There will perhaps be some surprise at this new and unwonted forbearance-or fear!- in Luther, who has not been roused even by all the speeches and letters his adversaries have flung about, congratulating Erasmus on his victory and chanting in Triumph ‘Ho, ho! Has that Maccabee, that most obstinate Assertor, at last met his match, and dares not open his mouth against him?’ Yet not only do I not blame them, but of myself I yield you a palm such as I have never yielded to anyone before;”                          

John Calvin

Inspired by the works of Luther, a lawyer and preacher from France decided to participate in the Reformation. In 1536, he began writing his famous apology for reformation religion, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin was well known for his work in Geneva, in which he transforms the city into a theocracy. He was also known for his theology of predestination, the idea that God ordained people’s fates long before they were born. Calvin believed that “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation.” Many contemporary Protestant denominations, such as Presbyterianism and Congregationalism, consider Calvin as a founding thinker. 


[New Testament] Iesu Christi D.N. Novum testamentum, tr by Theodore de Bèze. Geneva : Henri Estienne, 1565. - Page 1

A Greek and Latin New Testament with commentary by Theodore de Bèze. Bèze was a disciple of Calvin and lived primarily in Geneva. When Calvin died, he was the obvious successor. This edition of the New Testament is his earliest copy and was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, possibly a slight against her considering Bèze opposed the concept of monarchy.


[New Testament] Iesu Christi D.N. Novum testamentum, tr by Theodore de Bèze. Geneva : Henri Estienne, 1565. - Page 2

A Greek and Latin New Testament with commentary by Theodore de Bèze. Bèze was a disciple of Calvin and lived primarily in Geneva. When Calvin died, he was the obvious successor. This edition of the New Testament is his earliest copy and was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, possibly a slight against her considering Bèze opposed the concept of monarchy.


[Bible] La Bible, tr by Pierre Robert Olivetan. Geneva : Francois Estienne, 1567.

Although many French rebelled against the Church before the Reformation, Calvin gave them a cohesive doctrine that they could follow, and he gave them a Bible. This is one of the first Bibles translated into French for the Huguenots.


Two and Twentie Sermons of Maister John Calvin, tr by Thomas Stocker. London : Thomas Dawson (for John Harison and Thomas Man), 1580.

A collection of John Calvin’s sermons, translated into English. The sermons were his explanation of Psalm 119, a popular Psalm for Protestant Reformers since each section begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  

The Counter Reformation

Spanning from 1545-1563 and through the reign of five popes, the Council of Trent started the Counter Reformation or Catholic Reformation. The Counter Reformation was the attempt of the Church to slow the Protestant Reformation and to maintain public trust in the Church. The Counter Reformation also contained strategies to reconvert Protestant regions back to Catholicism. Like the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation stopped with the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. However, the impact of the Counter Reformation was especially known through attempts to spread Catholicism through colonization. The other major theological impact of the Counter Reformation was to shift Catholic theology to a personal relationship with God, which they believed was a major appeal of the Protestant movements.

[Bible] The Holy Bible, Douai-Rheims. London : Simms and M’Intyre, 1582.

The Catholic Reformation or Counter Reformation was an attempt by the Church to respond to the Protestant Reformers and revitalize Church Doctrine.  The centerpiece of these reforms was the Council of Trent called by Pope Paul III in 1545. From the Counter Reformation emerged two Catholic Bibles translated from the Latin Vulgate to English. This is a first edition Rheims New Testament.

[Old Testament] The Holie Bible, Douai-Rheims. Douai : Laurence Kellam, 1609.

This is the first edition Douai Old Testament. Both Bibles are named for the places they were translated. Later the editions would be collected together and known as the Douai-Rheims translation. 

Reformers Before Luther

Although he gains most of the credit, Luther was not the first reformer, and many of the theologians that preceded him argued for similar issues. Like Luther, John Wycliffe (1300s CE) wanted access to the biblical text and did not agree with the hierarchy of the clergy over other Christians. Although he died before he could be condemned, the Church burned many of his texts, exhumed his body, burned it, and threw the rest of his remains in a river. In Bohemia, Jan Hus (or Huss) began a movement in the early 1400s that would eventually lead to the Hussite Wars of Bohemia. Hus followed the works of Wycliffe and questioned the morality and status of the clergy. He was condemned and burned at the stake. According to legend, an old woman put a small amount of wood on the fire, and a burning Hus stated, “Sancta Simplicitas!” (Holy Simplicity!) 


[New Testament] The New Testament in English, tr by John Wycliffe. Chiswick : Charles Whittingham, for William Pickering, 1848.

In the 1300s, John Wycliffe went against Church wishes and translated the New Testament into Middle English that would spark an anti-Church movement called the Lollards. His actions would cause the Church to declare that he was a heretic. This is a reprinting of that Bible in Middle English, which is almost impossible to read by contemporary English speakers.


Pisne Duchownj Ewangelistskél. SL : 1564.

Before Luther or Calvin, there was John Huss.  He was a Bohemian Reformer of the Church, who was condemned to be burned at the stake in 1415.  This event would spark the Bohemian Reformation and create a movement of his followers, the Hussites. The Bohemian Hymnal was used by Hussites and remained in a Bohemian family before being given to the Quayle Bible Collection.

Early English Reformation

William Tyndale is the perfect example of someone influenced by the Reformation that came before him. Although he was an English scholar and a linguist, he drew on the theological works of Wycliffe, Luther, and even Erasmus. Tyndale believed that there should be an English translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek; however, at the time, the penalty of having translated scripture was death. Tyndale was exiled for his ideas, and while in exile, even wrote tracts opposing Henry VIII’s annulment. In 1536, he received the death penalty; however, his work would lead to the Reformation spreading through England. In fact, the King James Bible would draw the most on his translations. While Tyndale was in exile, he worked with Myles Coverdale on the translations of the Bible. Tyndale never completely translated the entire text, and Coverdale did not know Hebrew. After Tyndale died, Coverdale wanted to finish the text and used the Greek and Latin texts to fill in the gaps left by Tyndale. He even translated some of Luther and Zwingli for his translation. He used Tyndale’s Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) and his Jonah, but the remainder he took from other translations. In 1534, he petitioned the king to allow him to publish the complete English Bible. Some believe that Coverdale truly represents the spread of Protestantism in England considering he goes from an Augustinian Friar to an Anglican and finally to a Puritan. 


[New Testament] The New Testament in Englishe, tr by William Tyndale. London : Thomae Gaultier pro I.C., 1550.

This is a William Tyndale New Testament. Tyndale was one of the first to translate the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament from Greek and Hebrew. He claimed he did so as inspiration from Martin Luther. As a result of his translation, he was condemned to die by the Church. His last words were: “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes!”


[Bible] The Whole Byble, tr by Myles Coverdale. [Zurich] : [Christopher Froschover], 1550.

This is a Coverdale Bible. The Bible translated by Myles Coverdale was the first complete Bible translated in Modern English and was the first complete Bible to be printed on a printing press. Coverdale used much of Tyndale for his translation, and relied on Zwingli and Luther in the books that Tyndale did not translate. Unlike Tyndale, Coverdale would gain approval from Henry VIII and would work on his Great Bible.

The Authorized Bibles

Henry VIII was Catholic, and he opposed the works of Luther. He even wrote a defense of Church doctrine; however, he believed in Divine Right, which for him was not compatible with the Apostolic Tradition. He did not believe that there was any man between him and God. Thus, when he was denied a divorce from the Pope, he split from the Church. The Great Bible represents the final split considering English translations carried a death sentence before he authorized one. Like her father, Elizabeth was invested in the politics of the Church. She came to power in the wake of her sister, Mary, who sent many Protestants to death. Under Elizabeth, the Church of England was allowed to evolve even further. While Henry VIII did not want to change much of his Catholic theology, Elizabeth allowed the Protestant movement to develop. Although the Bishop’s Bible was never dedicated to her, it contains her image in the front cover, solidifying her role in the development of the Church of England.


[Bible] The Byble in Englyshe, tr Myles Coverdale. London : Edward Whitchurch, 1540.

This is a Great Bible, the first English Bible to be authorized by the monarchy. This Bible, prepared by Myles Coverdale, was commissioned by Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. The cover was created by Hans Holbein and shows the King handing the “verbum dei” or “word of God” to the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, while the peasants below are saying “vivat rex” or “long live the king!”


[Bible] Holie Bible, the Bishops’ Bible. London : Richard Jugge, 1568.

This is Elizabeth I’s Bishops’ Bible. This authorized Bible was meant for worship in the Church of England, and thus was known as the Bible for the Bishops. It would be known as the Treacle Bible because the translation of Jer. 8:22 reads, “is there no treacle in Galaad.” Unlike the Geneva Bible, this Bible was an attempt to appease the Church and not the growing Puritan population.

Formation of the Church of England

Thomas Cranmer is known for producing the Book of Common Prayer; however, he also was put in power as the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon illegal in the eyes of God. His election to his post was even aided by the family of Anne Boleyn. He was included in the excommunication handed down by Pope Clement VII, and he baptized Elizabeth when she was born. When Henry imprisoned Anne, Cranmer heard her confession and pronounced the marriage null and void. In fact, Cranmer had a hand in much of the King’s religious activities, including officiating his marriage to Anne of Cleves. Cranmer attempted to bring more Protestant values to the Church, but found resistance from Henry. When Henry died, he was allowed to influence the Church more substantially, and wrote the Book of Common Prayer. He even attempted to bring Calvin and the reformer Melanchton to England, but the meeting never happened. Cranmer was imprisoned by Henry’s Catholic daughter Mary, who wanted to make an example of him. He recanted from being a Protestant several times, but she was not pleased and sentenced him anyway. Before his death, he took back his statements and declared that the Pope was the AntiChrist. He was immediately burned at the stake. When Elizabeth came to power shortly after his death, she adopted much of his prayer book and reestablished the Church to resemble how he shaped it. The apology written by Jewell represents this time when the Church was reestablished in the shadows of Cranmer.


[Prayers] Book of Common Prayer and Psalter. Charles Whittingham for William Pickering, London.

The Book of Common Prayer was the essential organization for Church of England services. However, Henry VIII was not keen on creating something distinctly new.  When he died, it allowed the Archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, the ability to create the reforms he wanted. The Book of Common Prayer here is one from 1844 showing that the revisions of Cranmer would stay for centuries.


Works of the Very Learned and Reverend Father in God, John Jewell, not long since Bishop of Sarisburie. London : John Norton, 1611

This is a collection of works of John Jewell. The main section is an apology for the Church of England. This was a defense and explanation of why the Church of England should exist.  It was also an attempt to create a statement of faith and establish an identity for the Church. The original edition was written in 1562 during Elizabeth I’s reforms.

The Geneva Bible

The Puritans were much more influenced by continental movements than the rest of the Church of England. They rejected the idea of a formal power structure that stood between the people and the text, which the Church saw as anarchical. Instead, like Luther and Calvin, they believed that the people should be able to study the text. The extensive notes of the Geneva Bible represent that breakdown of the priesthood that the Church of England represented. In fact, their rebellion from the Church was almost a microcosm of Luther’s rebellion against Rome. The narrative told to so many school children in the U.S. is that the Pilgrims / Puritans escaped religious persecution and fled to the Americas, proof that their story is even engrained in the American subconscious.

[Bible] The Bible and Holy Scriptures. Geneva. Geneva : Rowland Hall, 1560.

The Geneva Bible is probably the most important English translation prior to the King James Bible.  While the Great Bible and Bishop’s Bible were authorized, this Bible was the first to be widely distributed to non-clergy. The Geneva Bible was popular among the Puritans, who were extremely Calvinistic. They wanted profuse notes in the margins. This Geneva Bible is the first edition from 1560. 


[Bible] The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament, Geneva. London : Deputies of Christopher Barker, 1592.

This Bible is from 1592 and contains a translation of Theodore de Bèze’s New Testament. The Geneva Bible is famous among many authors and was the Bible used by William Shakespeare and John Donne.

The King James Bible

There is not enough space to discuss the significant impact of the King James Bible upon English and American Protestantism. It is the culmination of the long history of the movement. Drawing on the works of Wycliffe, Tyndale, the Great Bible, Bishop’s Bible, and Geneva Bible, it would become the symbol of English translations. So much so, that many Protestant’s today do not know about the other English translations that existed before it. The Quayle Collection has a correspondence from Harry S. Truman where he suggests that very idea. During the reign of James I, James attempted to appease Puritans and Anglicans, yet fell short in many ways. He removed much of the Geneva Bible’s commentary, but translated the text as much from the original as possible (47 translators worked on the project). He was not without opposition, with a Catholic plot against his life as well as Puritans not being pleased with some of the translation, especially the Psalms. When it was finalized in 1611, the King James Bible became the standard text for many Protestants, even today. However, much like the rest of Europe, England erupted into civil war in 1642 under the reign of James I’s son Charles. At the heart of this war was a dispute between Catholics and Protestants, and whether the Queen was Catholic. Yet like the rest of Europe, the war brings the English Reformation to an end but helps usher in a modern England.


[Bible] The Holy Bible conteyning the Old Testament and the New, King James Version. London : Robert Barker, 1611.

The King James Bible is the most influential Protestant Bible. The translators relied on many of the English editions that came before it, including the Geneva Bible. However, it did not contain the marginal notations. This was seen as a compromise for both Puritans and non-Puritans in the Church of England.  The Bible here is a first edition King James and was used for the cover of the National Geographic in 2011.


[Bible] KJV. Cambridge : John Field, 1657.

The Reformation ended in all-out war, and England was no different. A large part of the war was between Protestants and Catholics, with the Protestant Oliver Cromwell coming to power in 1653. He believed that the Bible had primacy over all aspects of religion. This “soldours” Bible here was from Cromwell’s reign in England after the English Civil War. 

Other Reformers

Galileo and The Scientific Revolution

Galileo is known for being the   “father of the scientific method,” an inventor, and an astronomer; however, he is also known for taking on the Catholic Church. Although not directly connected to the Protestant Reformation, Galileo’s confirmation of Copernican’s theory of heliocentrism had drastic effects on the Church. The Church interpreted his theories as being foolish and in direct opposition to the Bible. This one act helped push apart the disciplines of science and religion, which some call the scientific revolution; however, Galileo’s questioning of the Church happens to coincide with much of the Reformation, even if it is on a different front. He was brought before the Roman Inquisition in 1615, a council called during the Counter Reformation at the Council of Trent. He was sentenced to house arrest and his book, Dialogue, was banned. According to legend, he was forced to recant his theory that the earth moved around the sun and after doing so he murmured under his breath “and yet it moves.”


Zwingli and Melanchthon

Huldrych Zwingli began his discussion of reform in 1512 in Zurich, and he would become one of the most important reformers; however, because of his early death, he is not well-known outside of the classroom. Like other reformers, he believed in interpreting the text alone and he began the practice of reading and interpreting it in sequence during services. His theology influenced both Tyndale and Coverdale.

Philip Melanchthon was a collaborator with Luther and some have argued that he is the true founder of the Lutheran denomination. Although Henry VIII seemed to despise Luther, he appreciated the intellectualism of Melanchthon and invited him to England. Melanchthon and Zwingli debated over the Eucharist and the sacrament of communion. Zwingli believed it was an act that Christ only did once during the Last Supper, while Melanchthon thought the Eucharist should continue as a sacred commemoration of the Last Supper. Neither believed in the concept of transubstantiation, that the Eucharist becomes the body and blood of Christ.

Women of the Reformation

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously stated, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Yet with the Reformation, even the women who misbehave get little attention. Outside of Elizabeth I, female reformers are not discussed. However, many women were ministers, martyrs, and even translators during the Reformation. Marie Dentière (1495-1561) was an author of many texts, especially advocating that women had the same ability as men to interpret the Bible. She even wrote the preface to one of Calvin’s sermons. She wrote to Marguerite de Navarre who funded reformers and humanists. Dentière is the only woman immortalized on the Reformation Wall in Geneva. Many women were put to death for supporting various movements, including Anne of Askew who was burned at the stake in 1546 for being a Protestant even though Henry VIII had already split from the Church.

The Anabaptists and Menno Simons

Anabaptist means “baptized again.” The name was given to a group of reformers who believed that people can only be baptized after personally accepting Christ, opposing the idea of infant baptism. It is hard to determine who founded the movement, but most agree that it started with a group known as the “Radical Reformers,” who questioned the authority of both the Catholic Church and Luther. They relied heavily on scripture and believed that followers must refrain from civil duties and taking oaths. Many of the Anabaptists were put to death by drowning by the Church and other Protestants. One famous Anabaptist was Dutchman, Menno Simons (1496-1561) who founded the Mennonite movement. A former Catholic priest, Simons was re-baptized as an Anabaptist after believing that the Bible advocated for nonviolence and separation from society which was not meant for an individual but as a communal activity.

Further Reading