Merry Wiesner-Hanks, UW-Milwaukee distinguished professor of history, appears in “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World,” premiering nationwide on PBS on Sept. 12 (in Milwaukee, at 7 p.m. on Milwaukee Public Television).
Wiesner-Hanks is an internationally recognized scholar of early modern Europe, especially issues of gender and the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. She has written and lectured extensively on the Reformation and Martin Luther. She is being honored at the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference this fall, along with frequent collaborator Susan Karant-Nunn.
Among her many publications is “Luther on Women: A Sourcebook,” a collection of Luther’s writings selected and translated by Wiesner-Hanks and Karant-Nunn.
Wiesner-Hanks’ commentary appears prominently in the film, which also includes dramatizations incorporating Luther’s writings and speeches.
“Merry is a world-class scholar, but she’s able to speak clearly to a nonacademic audience,” said Mike Trinklein, writer/producer of the film.
2017 is the 500th anniversary of the publication of Luther’s famous “95 Theses,” considered by many to be the event that triggered the Reformation. Wiesner-Hanks has been asked to lecture on this event by many organizations commemorating the anniversary.
The film will be re-broadcast at 2 a.m. Sept. 14 on WMVS-HDTV. Marcus Theatres will also be screening a version of the film, under the name “Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy,” during the last week of October.