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Ritual, Religion, and German Home Towns

  • David M. Luebke (a1)
Abstract

German Home Towns is a very forward-looking book. I say that not because it proved so influential—although it certainly had a profound impact on my generation of historians. My point is more prosaic, namely that German Home Towns occupies a set point in time and social milieu, the inaugural moment of an attenuated phase of stability for a peculiar type of human community in central Europe. That moment, of course, is 1648; the milieu is that of walled and privileged towns—large and differentiated enough for self-sufficiency in most economic functions, but not so large or so differentiated as to generate the degrees of stratification and anonymity that characterized larger commercial or manufacturing cities. In contrast to metropolitan centers, “home towns” embraced all inhabitants in a web of face-to-face relations, at once integrating, enabling, and controlling all inhabitants through guilds and the political systems built around them. Usually, almost all hometown inhabitants were citizens, too—again in contrast to larger cities, with their substrates of noncitizen residents. From the vantage of 1648, and within the stream of early modern German history, German Home Towns peers into a future of confrontation with “movers and doers”—those vanguards of the “general estate,” as Walker called them, who trampled idiosyncrasy, leveled difference, and, with some help from Napoleon, replaced both local corporatism and the imperial “incubator” with provincial and national systems of general, liberal delegation.

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1 Gotthard Axel, Der Augsburger Religionsfrieden (Münster: Aschendorff, 2004), 271–80.

2 On the normative year, see Fuchs Ralf-Peter, Ein “Medium” zum Frieden. Die Normaljahrsregel und die Beendigung des Dreissigjährigen Krieges (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2010).

3 Moeller Bernd made the seminal argument in Reichsstadt und Reformation (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus G. Mohn, 1962), translated by Brady Thomas A. Jr. and Midelfort H. C. Erik as Imperial Cities and the Reformation: Three Essays (Durham, NC: Labyrinth Press, 1982), 44, 48. The thesis that the communalization of religious life lay at the heart of urban Reformation has been argued most forcefully by Blickle Peter, Gemeindereformation. Die Menschen des 16. Jahrhunderts auf dem Weg zum Heil (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1987), translated by Dunlap Thomas as Communal Reformation: The Quest for Salvation in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1992). For a socially more nuanced interpretation than either Moeller or Blickle provides, see Brady Thomas A. Jr., “In Search of the Godly City: The Domestication of Religion in the German Urban Reformation,” in The German People and the Reformation, ed. Hsia R. Po-Chia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,1988), 1431.

4 Thus according to Andrew Pettegree's memorable verdict, toleration was a “loser's creed,” advocated only from the margins of power. See Pettegree Andrew, “The Politics of Toleration in the Free Netherlands, 1572–1620,” in Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation, ed. Grell Ole Peter and Scribner Bob (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 182–98.

5 Dixon C. Scott, “Urban Order and Religious Coexistence in the German Imperial City: Augsburg and Donauwörth, 1548–1608,” Central European History 40 (2007): 133.

6 Spohnholz Jesse, “Multiconfessional Celebration of the Eucharist in Sixteenth-Century Wesel,” Sixteenth-Century Journal 39 (2008): 705–29, here 711; Spohnholz Jesse, The Tactics of Toleration: A Refugee Community in the Age of Religious Wars (Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 2011), 3642, 67–68. Only Wesel's tiny population of Anabaptists, presumably, recused themselves.

7 Spohnholz, “Multiconfessional Celebration,” 718–19.

8 Luebke David M., “Confessions of the Dead: Interpreting Burial Practice in the Late Reformation,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History 101 (2010): 5579; Luebke David M., “Churchyard and Confession: Grave Desecration, Burial Practice, and Social Order during the Confessional Age—The Case of Warendorf,” in Leben bei den Toten. Kirchhöfe in der ländlichen Gesellschaft der Vormoderne, ed. Freitag Werner and Brademann Jan (Münster: Rhema, 2007), 193211. For the response of the town council in Warendorf, see Kreisarchiv Warendorf (KAW) Stadt Warendorf A 94, 9r-12r, June 30, 1597.

9 Bischöfliches Archiv Münster (hereafter BAM) Generalvikariat (hereafter GV) Rhede St. Gudula A 1, “Protocollum Visitationis Archidiaconatus Admodum Reuerendi ac Nobilis Domini Joannis à Velen Thesaurarii Maorios Ecclesiae Diui Pauli Monasteriensis Anno 1614 20 Aprilis”; BAM GV Borken St. Remigius 7, “Status misirabilis Borckensis descriptio quoad vitam, mores, et religionem” [ca. 1620]; Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen/Abteilung Westfalen (hereafter LNRW/AW), Fürstentum Münster, Landesarchiv 295, nr. 2 1/2, 9r-v, “Berichtt wegen beschehener inquisition des vermeindten newen Warendorffischen Kirchoffs. Ist dises mit zustandt Licentiaten Velthaus Richtern durch die Beampten inquirirt,” July 14, 1614.

10 See Stollberg-Rilinger Barbara, “Symbolische Kommunikation in der Vormoderne. Begriffe—Thesen—Forschungsperspektiven,” Zeitschrift für historische Forschung 31 (2004): 489527.

11 Schlögl Rudolf, “Kommunikation und Vergesellschaftung unter Anwesenden. Formen des Sozialen und ihre Transformation in der Frühen Neuzeit,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 34 (2008): 155224, here 171–73. See also Schlögl Rudolf, “Interaktion und Herrschaft. Probleme der politischen Kommunikation in der Stadt,” in Was heißt Kulturgeschichte des Politischen?, ed. Stollberg-Rilinger Barbara (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2005), 115–28; and Schlögl Rudolf, “Vergesellschaftung unter Anwesenden. Zur kommunikativen Form des Politischen in der vormodernen Stadt,” in Interaktion und Herrschaft. Die Politik der frühneuzeitlichen Stadt, ed. Schlögl Rudolf (Konstanz: UVK, 2004), 960.

12 See Stollberg-Rilinger Barbara, “Zeremoniell als politisches Verfahren. Rangordnung und Rangstreit als Strukturmerkmale des frühneuzeitlichen Reichstags,” in Neue Studien zur frühneuzeitlichen Reichsgeschichte, ed. Kunisch Johannes (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1997), 91132.

13 See the reflections of Martschukat Jürgen and Jürgen Steffen Patzold in the introduction to their book Geschichtswissenschaft und “performative turn.” Ritual, Inszenierung und Performanz vom Mittelalter bis zur Neuzeit (Cologne: Böhlau, 2003), 131, here 10; and Giesen Bernhard, “Performing the Sacred: A Durkheimian Perspective on the Performative Turn in the Social Sciences,” in Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual, ed. Alexander Jeffrey C., Giesen Bernhard, and Mast Jason L. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 325–67.

14 Schindling Anton, “Konfessionalisierung und Grenzen von Konfessionalisierbarkeit,” in Die Territorien des Reichs im Zeitalter der Konfessionalisierung. Land und Konfession, 1500–1650, ed. Schindling Norbert et al. , 7 vols. (Münster: Aschendorff, 1989–1997), vol. 7, 945, here 24–28.

15 Merz Johannes, “Die Landstadt im geistlichen Territorium. Ein methodischer Beitrag zum Thema ‘Stadt und Reformation’ am Beispiel Frankens,” Archiv für mittelrheinische Kirchengeschichte 46 (1994): 5582, here 69; Kiermayr Reinhold, “The Reformation in Duderstadt, 1525–1576 and the Declaratio Ferdinandea,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 75 (1984): 234–55.

16 Dixon, “Urban Order,” 20–21.

17 Stieve Felix, Der Ursprung des dreißigjährigen Krieges, 1607–1619. Der Kampf um Donauwörth (Munich: Rieger, 1875), 1718.

18 For a useful survey, see Kersken Norbert, “Konfessionelle Behauptung und Koexistenz—Simultankirchen im 16. Jahrhundert,” in Konfessionelle Pluralität als Herausforderung. Koexistenz und Konflikt im Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit, ed. Bahlcke Joachim et al. (Leipzig: LUV, 2006), 287302. On confessional coexistence in the southern German towns, see Häberlein Mark, “Konfessionelle Grenzen, religiöse Minderheiten und Herrschaftspraxis in süddeutschen Städten und Territorien der frühen Neuzeit,” in Staatsbildung als kultureller Prozess. Strukturwandel und Legitimation von Herrschaft in der frühen Neuzeit, ed. Asch Ronald G. and Freist Dagmar (Cologne: Böhlau, 2004), 151–90; Warmbrunn Paul, Zwei Konfessionen in einer Stadt. Das Zusammenleben von Katholiken und Protestanten in den paritätischen Reichsstädten Augsburg, Biberach, Ravensburg und Dinkelsbühl von 1548 bis 1648 (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1983); and Zschunke Peter, Konfession und Alltag in Oppenheim. Beiträge zur Geschichte von Bevölkerung und Gesellschaft einer gemischtkonfessionellen Kleinstadt in der frühen Neuzeit (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1984).

19 Kersken, “Konfessionelle Behauptung,” 300–02.

20 Johannes Merz, “Landstädte und Reformation,” in Die Territorien des Reichs, ed. Schindling et al., vol. 7, 107–36.

21 Po-chia Hsia R., Society and Religion in Münster, 1535–1618 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 201–02.

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Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
  • URL: /core/journals/central-european-history
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