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The Negotiated Reformation
Imperial Cities and the Politics of Urban Reform, 1525–1550


  • Date Published: February 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108447454

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About the Authors
  • Utilizing evidence from numerous imperial cities, this book offers an explanation for the spread and survival of urban reform during the sixteenth century. By analyzing the operation of regional political constellations, it reveals a common process of negotiation that shaped the Reformation in the Holy Roman Empire. It reevaluates traditional models of reform that leave unexplored the religious implications of flexible systems of communication and support among cities. Such networks influenced urban reform in fundamental ways, affecting how Protestant preachers moved from city to city, as well as what versions of the Reformation city councils introduced. This fusion of religion and politics meant that with local variations, negotiation within a regional framework sat at the heart of urban reform. The Negotiated Reformation therefore explains not only how the Reformation spread to almost every imperial city in southern Germany, but also how it survived imperial attempts to repress religious reform.

    • Offers a detailed regional study of the urban Reformation, which is unique among English language monographs
    • Reevaluates not just traditional models for the Reformation's spread, but also explains the ultimate survival of the Reformation in the Holy Roman Empire, which is also unique among the newer literature
    • Utilizes a variety of primary sources from several different archives, which allows it to address authoritatively the process of reform in more than one city
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this fresh examination of the German Reformation Christopher W. Close charts a new approach to one of its central puzzles: how and why the cities became the backbone of early Protestantism. Viewing towns as parts of wider urban networks, Close suggests that the success, survival, and resilience of the early reform movement hinged on a carefully tended process of mutual support, communication, collaboration, and coercion that he calls the 'negotiated Reformation.' This intriguing new model of urban religious reform promises to re-animate the debate about the triumph of the Reformation in the German cities and might even lend itself to broader applications for other parts of Europe where Protestantism and urban political cultures evolved hand in hand. The impressive research is paired with searching insights into urban politics as German towns were drawn into an era of religious and political upheaval. Very highly recommended.' Thomas Robisheaux, Duke University

    'The depth of Christopher W. Close's superb analysis of the Reformation in Eastern Swabia demonstrates the progress in our understanding of the Reformation in the Imperial cities and of the interplay of political and religious forces in the German Reformation. … This book makes a significant contribution to the scholarship on the Reformation in the cities and on Imperial politics in the decades before the religious Peace of Augsburg. The Negotiated Reformation will be a source of reference for any future study of urban reform movements in the Holy Roman Empire.' Peter Wallace, Hartwick College

    'Close has identified an important aspect of the political and religious culture of sixteenth-century Germany by emphasizing the negotiated character of the Reformation … the political context presented here should not be ignored …' The Journal of Central European History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108447454
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Consultation and the urban hierarchy
    2. Imperial cities and collective politics
    3. Preachers, consultation, and the spread of urban reform in southern Germany
    4. The urban reformation in Donauworth
    5. The urban reformation in Kaufbeuren
    6. Negotiation and the rural reformation in eastern Swabia
    7. Eastern Swabia and the Schmalkaldic War

  • Author

    Christopher W. Close, St Joseph's University, Philadelphia
    Christopher W. Close received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently teaching at Princeton University, New Jersey. He has held visiting professorships at several institutions including Kutztown University, Pennsylvania and the College of New Jersey. His articles have appeared in The Sixteenth Century Journal and Central European History.

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