450th Anniversary of the Scottish Reformation display
The latest display in our Visitor Centre has just opened: throughout September and October, a small exhibition of rare books and manuscripts will mark the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation. We plan to blog about some of the items here during the run of the exhibition, which will give us a chance to tell their stories in more detail than the limits of an exhibition label permit.
At the centre of the exhibition, of course, is John Knox, and copies of The first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women and some of his other books are on display.
But we also hope to show other aspects of the Scottish Reformation such as its strong links with what was happening in Europe. For instance, books by earlier reformers – Patrick Hamilton’s theology and the Wedderburn brothers’ poetry – show how quickly Luther’s ideas had an impact on Scots. We wanted to show the other side of the story too, so there are books produced and used by the still-Catholic pre-Reformation Scottish church, and items which illustrate the debates between Catholics and Protestants in the 1560s.
Of course, for us as a library, one of the most interesting points is the way that the history of printed books and the history of the Reformation are inextricably linked in Scotland. Had printed books not existed, the history of the Reformation would have been very different; had the Church not needed to distribute books like the Bassandyne Bible across the country, the Scottish book trade would never have developed as it did.
Look out for more about the items in this exhibition over the next two months – meanwhile, here are some links to media coverage of the display:
And finally, this BBC website has a good basic introduction to the history of the Scottish Reformation.