Vera Isaiasz, Ute Lotz-Heumann, Monika Mommertz, Matthias Pohlig, eds. Stadt und Religion in der frÃ¼hen Neuzeit: Soziale Ordnungen und ihre ReprÃ¤sentationen. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2007. 339 pp. EUR 37.90 (paper), ISBN 978-3-593-38436-8.
Reviewed by Christopher Close (Princeton Writing Program, Princeton University)
Published on H-German (March, 2008)
Celebrating the Work of Heinz Schilling
Over the last thirty years, few scholars have exerted a larger influence on early modern studies than Heinz Schilling. One of the framers of the concept of "confessionalization," Schilling's work has set the intellectual agenda for two generations of German and Anglo-American scholarship. This festschrift, presented to Schilling on his sixty-fifth birthday, honors his pioneering work by exploring the relationship between city and religion in early modern Europe. Its thirteen articles offer micro-historical studies that seek in large part to confirm Schilling's meta-historical theories. While this causes some of the chapters to feel slightly derivative, the volume offers a nice tribute to Schilling's legacy.
The collection's comprehensive introduction provides a good historiographical overview of early modern religion in the urban setting. It does an admirable job summarizing Schilling's groundbreaking work, although the editors unfortunately do not discuss how the volume's individual chapters engage Schilling or the field as a whole. Accordingly, they neglect the opportunity to draw explicit parallels between their articles and Schilling's canon. While many of the chapters relate to each other, therefore, little dialogue occurs between them and the editors make no sustained attempt to establish a new set of research questions. While the individual contributions are solid, the volume as a whole could have been more.
In the first chapter, Lars Behrisch examines marriage regulation in the territorial city of Görlitz, where the Lutheran city council shared jurisdiction over marital disputes with the Catholic cathedral chapter of Bautzen. Unlike many imperial cities in southern Germany and Switzerland, Görlitz's council did not sever ties to the local Catholic marriage court after introducing the Reformation in 1525. Despite their confessional divide, for the next hundred years the council and cathedral chapter shared jurisdiction over marriage. This cross-confessional cooperation continued until 1635, when Görlitz changed hands from Bohemia to Saxony. Ultimately, Behrisch argues that cooperation in regulating marriage led to an intensification of morals regulation by both confessions, which he cites as confirmation of Schilling's confessionalization paradigm.
In her article on church construction in early modern Prague, Anna Ohlidal offers a similar assessment of the usefulness of the concept of confessionalization for understanding how different confessions used church location to mark the urban landscape. The years 1580-1620 saw a surge in church building across Prague. While Catholics erected the most new or renovated churches, these buildings tended to occupy spaces already housing Catholic congregations. By contrast, Lutherans built fewer churches but sought to position them physically and symbolically in contrast to those of the city's Catholics. Ohlidal's findings are intriguing, but she limits herself to examining the location of churches. Her claims that the confessions each used church building to project a specific confessional identity would have been much more persuasive had she explored additional aspects of church building, such as external appearance and internal decoration. Daniel Legutke does just this in his article on late-seventeenth-century Catholic diplomat churches in The Hague. Legutke focuses on the religious landscape of the Dutch Calvinist city, where Catholics were forbidden to worship in public but could do so in private, closed spaces. An additional exception existed for diplomat churches attached to the Spanish and imperial embassies, which were often open to the public and attracted locals. Eventually, their attractions led to the creation of a Catholic quarter in The Hague centered on the ornately decorated diplomat churches. For Legutke, this development confirms the modernizing effects of confessionalization, which led to the establishment of permanent embassies based around specific church sites.
Agnes Winter shifts the focus to Berlin, where she examines the relationship between territorial authority, princely court life, and urban residents. In the second half of the sixteenth century, Berliners practiced a specific form of Lutheranism that continued to employ traditional aspects of Catholic worship, like relic display and religious processions. This traditionalism served as a shield against the encroachment of Calvinism, at least until 1613, when Prince-Elector Johann Sigismund converted. Attempts to reform Berlin's parishes, however, met with great resistance, so Berlin's "Second Reformation" remained confined to the cathedral church. This separation created a de facto bi-confessional city, a divide that slowly faded in favor of a new "secular festival culture" (p. 100) propagated by the centralizing Prussian state. While Winter never makes the connection explicit, her study's similarities to Schilling's work on Lippe are noteworthy.
Ruth Schilling continues the examination of festival culture by analyzing the public memory of the Battle of Lepanto in Rome and Venice. She shows how differences in commemoration of the naval battle reflected these two cities' specific socio-political contexts. In Venice, news of the victory led to an outpouring of public emotion and a temporary leveling of the social hierarchy as all celebrated a universal Christian victory. In Rome, public reaction was more subdued, while members of the Roman Senate sought to use the victory to display the glory of certain aristocratic families. Nevertheless, in both cities, memory of Lepanto served to strengthen the local religio-political order, even though no unified vision of the battle's meaning emerged. Similar dynamics appear in Magnus Rüde's analysis of the celebrations surrounding the 1613 marriage of Palatine Elector Frederick V to Elizabeth Stuart. According to Rüde, public marriage celebrations in the Palatinate sought to represent the religious, political, and dynastic union of the two Protestant houses. Much like the commemoration of Lepanto in Italy, Frederick's marriage allowed the Palatinate to display its power, prestige, and confessional devotion to all in the Empire. At the same time, it enabled the electoral house to shore up diplomatic support for its Calvinist reform.
Building on these studies of public memory and celebration, Vera Isaiasz analyzes Lutheran church dedications through the lens of dedicatory sermons. Dedications had to establish the sacredness of the new church space while differentiating it from other confessions. Preachers therefore employed demarcation strategies that designated the church as something separate from profane buildings. Doing so did not entail a blessing in the Catholic sense. Lutheran sermons emphasized that the church was not holy in and of itself, but because of its specific use. Lutheran sacredness was not tied to a specific place, therefore, but constituted through the communal public worship that occurred there.
Schilling's ideas of "civic Lutheranism" and "civic Calvinism" provide a point of departure for several of the volume's articles, most notably for Jan-Friedrich Missfelder's study of Magdeburg and La Rochelle. Both cities underwent sieges by confessional opponents during the sixteenth century, which meant the legitimacy of magisterial power hinged on the council's ability to defend the true faith. Politics and religion were interconnected, meaning defense of one's confession necessitated attempts to maintain autonomy from territorial lords of different confessions. Missfelder therefore concludes that confessionalization could initiate "autonomizing processes" (p. 148) in urban communities that might undermine attempts to create centralized princely states. In a similar vein, Stefan Ehrenpreis argues in his essay on the territory of Bergneustadt that all parties involved could exploit religious conflicts between urban communities and noblemen. While territorial lords slowly established greater authority over local church structures, this development did not lead in most regions to a process of secularization. Rather, religion and its public exercise remained key components of the socio-political order well into the eighteenth century. This conclusion complements the claims of Matthias Pohlig, who argues from the writings of the Calvinist humanist Ubbo Emmius that a "learned style of piety" (p. 244) existed among reformed intellectuals that provided the basic principles for their scholarship during the seventeenth century.
The volume's final two articles analyze urban religion in the British Isles and the colonial world. Ute Lotz-Heumann argues that in Ireland, a process of "double confessionalization" (p. 276) occurred that left the Church of Ireland a minority church opposed to a majority underground Catholic community. This new Tridentine church allowed for no compromise with the Protestant state church, a development Lotz-Heumann terms "a confessionalization process from below" (p. 287). Because of this development the underground Catholic community resisted state church attempts to confessionalize "from above," a process that sought to strip privileges from Irish cities that opposed the Church of Ireland. Finally, Monika Mommertz adopts a "European ex-centrist" (p. 309) view by examining cultural interactions in the Spanish colonial city of Lima. While the Spanish tried actively to sacralize Lima's public sphere, each cultural group in the city found ways to use public space for its own goals. Such cooptation of space became increasingly difficult in the first half of the seventeenth century, however, as Catholic control of the city's official religio-political identity established tight boundaries on alternative cultural expressions. The result was a process of homogenization in service of the confessionalizing colonial state.
The essays in this volume cover a wide variety of geographic terrain and serve as a fine tribute to Schilling's impressive scholarship. They are often a little too reliant on Schilling, however. The essays that demonstrate a theory advanced by Schilling based on one or two examples tend to be somewhat schematic. This pattern, which recurs throughout the book, detracts from the ability of the volume's authors to advance new conclusions. The strongest contributions, most notably Lotz-Heumann and Isaiasz's entries, praise Schilling's work while also placing it in a new light. This important project of reinterpreting and recasting Schilling's ideas will continue to engage scholars for generations to come.
. The standard introductions to this concept include Wolfgang Reinhard, "Zwang zur Konfessionalisierung? Prolegomena zu einer Theorie des Konfessionellen Zeitalters," Zeitschrift für historische Forschung 10 (1983): 257-277; and Heinz Schilling, "Die Konfessionalisierung im Reich. Religiöser und gesellschaftlicher Wandel in Deutschland zwischen 1555 und 1620," Historische Zeitschrift 246 (1988): 1-45. See also "H-German Forum: Confessionalization," at http://www.h-net.org/~german/discuss/Confessionalization/Confess_index.htm.
. Heinz Schilling, Konfessionskonflikt und Staatsbildung (Gütersloh: Mohn, 1981).
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Christopher Close. Review of Isaiasz, Vera; Lotz-Heumann, Ute; Mommertz, Monika; Pohlig, Matthias, eds., Stadt und Religion in der frÃ¼hen Neuzeit: Soziale Ordnungen und ihre ReprÃ¤sentationen.
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