History students celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses with skit and dance-off

Katie Daniels

500 years ago Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church and sparked the Protestant Reformation. The WKU Department of History celebrated this milestone with two days of events Wednesday and Thursday.

Luther 500 started out Wednesday afternoon with a skit presented by members of Phi Alpha Theta, the honors history club. The skit presented a pivotal moment from Luther’s lifetime where he refused to recant the books he had written.

Members of the audience where asked to participate in the skit by playing the role of “angry people” who thrusted Luther out of the court in response to his declaration “Here I stand, I can do not other. God help me.”

Luther 500 was a collaboration between the History Department, Phi Alpha Theta, Theta Alpha Kappa and the History Club. Despite all the fingers pointed in his direction Paul Strauss, a visiting instructor, denied responsibility for instigating the clubs to celebrate this historical events.

“History club is a very active, enthusiastic group,” he said. “I just helped them do what they always do.”

The skit was followed by a talk from guest speaker Joel Harrington, a Centennial Professor of History at Vanderbilt. Harrington gave a talk titled “Where would we be without the Reformation?”, which he described as his first foray into alternate history.

The talk was followed by a Q&A with students, wrapping up the first day of the celebration.

The celebration of Luther 500 continued on Thursday with a “Reformation Dance-Off” between professors and students, organized by Phi Alpha Theta. After the dancing concluded there was a screening of the 2005 film “Luther.”

Reporter Katie Daniels can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @authorkatielynn.