Luther agus An Domhan Gaelach


Luther agus An Domhan Gaelach

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It was a media revolution.

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There are so many parallels between the 16th century

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and the digital revolution that we are experiencing today.

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You're chanting what you believe as an act of defiance,

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and that's revolutionary.

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BAROQUE CLASSICAL MUSIC

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CHOIR SINGS

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So, would they have looked something like this?

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Or what sort of shape would the document have taken?

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Yes, so, the original document, sadly, is lost,

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and we don't know if it was a print or if it was, in fact, handwritten.

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Also, it was written in Latin,

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the language of the church and academia,

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so, Luther, being a monk and a professor of theology

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at the university, would certainly write a document like this in Latin.

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So, it was more a debate between the professors of theology

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-and the church hierarchy.

-Yes.

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It was only meant for debate amongst theologians and academics,

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and the general citizen

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would not have been able to read the Latin document here.

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When do we get the German versions coming along, then?

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Well, so, in 1518, one year later,

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Luther wrote a sermon on indulgence and grace,

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which was written in German,

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and it opened the debate to the general public,

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and he took up the matters that he introduced in the thesis there.

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Charlotte, could you tell me something about the development

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of print culture in Germany at the time of Martin Luther?

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Yes, so, the printing press had been around since 1450

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when Gutenberg invented it -

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but they printed some indulgence letters

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and some theological texts, but it's no comparison

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to what happened here in Wittenberg after Martin Luther.

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The printing press was his medium, and he made it his own.

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-So, Luther had, really, technology on his side as well as message.

-Yes.

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A dynamic man with a big message

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and the tools that can get that message out there.

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Yeah, you could definitely say so.

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The Reformation is a direct development from the printing press,

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so, without the press, there would not be a Reformation.

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There are so many parallels

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between the media revolution in the 16th century

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and the digital revolution that we are experiencing today.

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CONGREGATION SINGS

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We have, really, two branches of Protestantism

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and no consensus between these tendencies.

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The inside of the churches, during the time when Calvin was here,

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was deeply transformed.

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You have a place which is whitewashed, no images, no statues,

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in order to further the concentration

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of all the worshippers on what is saying from the pulpits.

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Calvin felt that music can stimulate sexual imagination,

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so, it has to be controlled -

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but music can also stimulate spiritual elevation,

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so he defined a very precise theology on use of music.

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You can sing only biblical words, psalms, only in unison.

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No polyphonic singing.

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So, it is really community singing, the singing of the people.

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Knox brings a start-up kit, which has got three components.

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He has a Bible, he has a Psalter and he has an order of worship -

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but the most important, is, of course,

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a translation of the Bible into the language of the people.

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This was the first version in English to be divided into verses.

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-Now, that makes life a lot easier...

-Yes.

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..than having a great chunk of text.

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They also produce things like this nice map that you can see here,

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so that people understood -

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this is a map of the people of Israel in the Old Testament

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wandering in the wilderness.

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As well as maps, you have an index and you have notes down the side.

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You have explanations.

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All these things we take for granted were new -

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so, what you have is a full interpretation, as well as the text,

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within one set of covers,

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and that's revolutionary.

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But this is still quite an expensive book -

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and, in fact, we have the Psalter, the psalm book, as well.

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This is smaller, it's easier to afford,

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and more available than a great big Bible.

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So you feel you've got the Word of God in your home,

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even if you can't afford a Bible.

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-Here is both the music and the words.

-Yes.

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So, the psalms that you sing in church,

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you also sing them in the home -

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but it's not just the church and the home, it's out there in the street.

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These are a bit more like, um...

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..political protest songs - football songs, even.

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You're chanting what you believe, and this particular psalm,

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"Now Israel may say," this was sung here in Edinburgh

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at a - what we would now call a political rally,

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where you had a couple of thousand people

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all singing this psalm as an act of defiance.

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Psalms, you memorise.

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So, you could just sing it whenever, wherever.

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So, these are also these acts of defiance,

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saying, "God's on my side, God has delivered me,"

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and that was really important both individually

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and for a sense of Scottish identity, too.

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CONGREGATION SINGS

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Jane, what gem have you uncovered for me here?

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This is the very exciting first book ever printed in Gaelic.

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John Carswell's Form Of Prayers, or Book Of Common Order.

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John Carswell was Superintendent of Argyll and Bishop of the Isles,

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and this is the book to be used in churches by the ministers

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and heard by the Gaelic congregations,

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so people hear it, but they don't necessarily have the book.

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Who produced this book?

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It's Carswell's own patron, the fifth Earl of Argyll,

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whom he's known since childhood.

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It provides all the resources Carswell needs

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to get this translation done.

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The fact that this had happened means that Gaelic clergy

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were able to take the Reformation to the Gaels of Scotland

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and, of course, of Ireland, too, as he makes it clear.

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I see, here, he starts off...

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HE READS IN GAELIC

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"Walk every district of smooth Scotland,"

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and then, here, he has, look...

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HE READS IN GAELIC

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"..and after that, cross the wave to Ireland of the smooth lands."

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-He's got a master plan, really.

-Absolutely.

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This is not something merely for Scotland,

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it is definitely for Ireland, too.

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MAN SINGS

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CONGREGATION JOINS IN

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Le 500 bliain ón Reifirméisean Phrotastúnach a chomóradh, beidh an Dr Art Hughes, scoláire Gaeilge, ag amharc ar thionchar Martin Luther agus a chuid smaointe ar lucht labhartha na Gaeilge in Albain agus in Éirinn. In a protest against the extravagance of the Catholic Church the little known German friar pinned a controversial document - The 95 theses - on a church door and caused a sensation. The event led to major religious and political upheavals across Europe as Protestantism was born. To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Dr Art Hughes examines the impact of Martin Luther and his ideas on the Gaelic-speaking peoples. In a journey that takes him from Rome, Germany and Geneva to the Outer Hebrides and across the island of Ireland, Art uncovers why the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland became, to a large extent, Protestant while most of Ireland remained Catholic. He shows how Luther's legacy still looms large over the Gaelic world.


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