Dr Ruth Atherton organises Society for Reformation Studies annual conference

Reformation Studies

Dr Ruth Atherton organised and co-ran the annual conference of the Society for Reformation Studies (SRS), which took place online from 6-8 April 2021. 

Dr Ruth Atherton, HistoryNow in its 27th year, the conference discussed the theme of exile and the Reformation, as well as other topics relating to the Reformation in early modern Europe. The Society for Reformation Studies is an established and internationally recognised society. It sponsors the highly-regarded journal Reformation & Renaissance Review and, in 2020, it became a partner of the Refo500 which is an international platform for advancing knowledge and ideas about the Reformation and its legacy. The SRS annual conference provides a friendly and supportive environment in which established scholars, post-grad students and early career researchers can present their research and discuss future research directions.


Dr Atherton has been involved with the Society for several years and, in 2020, was elected Vice-President for Conferences. This role requires close collaboration with the SRS committee in publishing the call for papers, reviewing proposals, shortlisting and selecting bursary winners, organising plenary speakers, putting together the conference programme and working with the Treasurer to ensure payments are received and bookings are complete in advance of the conference. 


During the conference, Ruth delivered a paper entitled ‘“Death is the best doctor”: Protestant Teachings on the Body and Preparations for Dying in Early Modern Germany’. This paper is based on an article she is currently writing for the 24th volume of the Cahiers de la Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie which is due to be submitted at the end of the year.


Ruth Atherton is a social, religious and cultural historian of early-modern Europe. Her research interests focus on confessional identity formation and the nature of sin and salvation in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Germany, especially with regards to the development of early modern sacramental education. 

Recently published works include an analysis of catechetical woodcuts in Rembrandt Duits (eds.), The Art of the Poor in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance (I.B. Tauris: 2020), and ‘Protestant Funeral Sermons in the Holy Roman Empire c. 1525-1700’, in E.C. Tingle and P. Booth (eds.), Brill Companion to Death, Burial and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe 1300-1700 (2020). She is a member of the Ecclesiastical History Society.