Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
I see the Reformation in a broader sense; what was already hinted at in the twelfth century in various currents I see as a far-reaching European process whose heirs, willy nilly, we all are. Beyond a critical analysis of the Reformation, I am interested, among other things, in its principal figures: educated individuals, thirsting after truth, multilingual, working in networks, challenging one another in striving to penetrate the divine, but also the human. In all their writings I am impressed by the immense intellectual effort and the continuous intertextuality, in which the dialogical element comes to expression. Yes, they were important pioneers of a social innovation. People like Wycliff and Luther put themselves before an oversized challenge in the translation of the Bible into their mother tongues. They assumed the attention of others; they prized the languages of this world; they thus contributed to the development of the individual and of their societies; they democratized access to knowledge; and, almost as in passing, they posed again the questions of power and authority.
If we consider our post-postmodern, post-factual age, how can such activists leave us cold?
Thanks to them we have also learned the high price we pay when we fail to nip processes of violent radicalization in the bud. The Reformation points us to the unconditional duty to engage in dialogue and to search together for the common good. And also to our individual responsibility, before God and our fellow citizens, to strengthen our co-existence and innovate outdated structures of power and authority.
When representatives of various world views sit down together at the same table to turn conflicts into processes that serve to strengthen inclusive, peaceful and solidary societies, this points the way – in honour of all the victims of so many centuries and so many forms of violence.
Ana Ruiz is a Germanist with a focus on intercultural studies in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid. She is currently coordinating the citizens’ initiative Pacto de Convivencia (Living Together), an affiliation of civil society organizations for the prevention of processes of violent radicalization.