Monday, 16 August 2010

sola fide

Schiller, Bach, Mozart and Luther, among others, are claimed by many, many towns and villages—to know Marx peered at that cliff from this observation platform or Brahms performed in that church—to the extent that it is always interesting and more than just trivia to have one’s biography filled in with disparate and renowned details, but sometimes too many places asserting their historical personage privileges can make one lose sight of the pinnacle moments. I have seen Luther in captivity in the Wartburg, his academic career in Eisenach and Erfurt, the nunnery where his future wife grew up in Brehna by Leipzig, the trials in Augsburg and Worms. All of these places are interesting and definitely not self-promoting tourists’ traps with specious connections to fame, but I often have forgotten it is in Wittenberg where Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door. While the antique Luther monuments are being cleaned for later anniversary celebrations, meanwhile the city of Wittenberg has set up this ersatz collection of garden gnomes on the market square, perhaps in a bid to regain exclusive Luther privileges. Some people are critical of this display, saying it is frivolous or unbecoming, but I think these colorful statues are more accessible to the people than some frightfully stern old bronze monolith and needs no justification.