Reformation and everyday life

Short Paper Panels Programme

Sunday May 30, 2021

Short Paper Panels 1

Restoring Order in Household and Congregation

Chair: Mette Birkedal Brun

Jørgen Mührmann-Lund
A case of Pietist church discipline

In the 1740s some unusual cases appeared before the district court of Nørre Herred on the Baltic island of Bornholm. The cases were reported to the governor of the island by the parish priest of Klemensker parish, Anders Agerbeck, who also led the interrogations at court. The cases concerned a wide variety of minor offenses against moral order such as petty theft, vagrancy, adultery and domestic disturbance.

According to the Danish Code of 1683, the parish priest was supposed to enforce church discipline upon his parishioners. He had to appoint two parishioners to report those “sins” that were difficult to prosecute at the courts, such as domestic disturbances, heavy drinking and so on. At first, the sinners would be given a private warning, but the unrepentant ones risked an official warning in the presence of the two helpers, then a fine and ultimately the humiliation of a public confession in church in order to be allowed the sacrament of the eucharist.

However, in the first half of the 18th century, Pietist priests complained that church discipline had become too soft. The ritual of private confession had become too superficial and public confession was solely used to punish poor women guilty of sex out of wedlock. The practice of the radical Pietist priest, Anders Agerbeck, was an embodiment of this criticism, with the use of police methods to detect sinners who would be interrogated, punished with fines and public confession and sometimes reported to the authorities for prosecution in the courts. However, in 1744 he was tried before a commission for refusing communion to two soldiers guilty of sex outside of wedlock. I will use this case to discuss what was new about the church discipline of the Pietists.



Maria Nørby Pedersen:

Care, work and education to the poor. The early modern Danish state as a Lutheran authority.

In the 16th century, King Christian III and his councilors reformed Danish religion and society according to Lutheran theology. I doing so, the king also took final responsibility to care for the poor, as a household authority in charge of its subjects’ spiritual and worldly welfare. He and his successors reformed the basic structures of poor relief on local systems of relief, work demands, punishment and education. Danish research have often neglected the role of a religious informed worldview in the organization of early modern poor policies or they have placed basic structural characteristic of poor policies later in time i.e. with the enlightenment. However, this paper propose that the reformation period was formative for early modern poor policies precisely because of the religious reformations and the imaginations of household, authority and responsibility, which it carried. This paper will follow a selection of poor relief legislation, and propose that a religious perspective supplements our knowledge of early modern Danish poor policies with an understanding of the religious based ideas of authorities’ responsibilities within a household to care, correct and educate.

Nina Javette Koefoed

To bring him to improvement” - parental obligation to raise children as good Christians in 18th century Denmark.

According to the fourth commandment, to honour your father and your mother, children had to obey their parents – and all other authorities because they were in the place of parents. However, in his large catechism, Luther made it clear that the commandment also placed obligations on the parents to raise their children as good Christians and to pass on that responsibility to others, if they were not able to do so themselves. Like all the other commandments, the fourth made it into Danish legislation in the 17th century, both as an obligation to obey and as an obligation to raise children as good Christians and good subjects through piety, school and work. It is well known in the history of early modern Europe, how the state interfered with the household to regulated sexuality and marriage, often seen as a regulation of women. In this paper, I investigate the interaction between household and state when children did not obey, or parents did not raise them properly. I argue that provincial tugt workhouses established in the 18th century were seen as places for improvement of disobedient children, as well as places where the state could take over the responsibility to raise the children properly when the parents failed. They thus became part of a practice for state-interference in households were the parents did not fulfill the expectations placed on household-authorities.


Exegesis and Doctrine
Chair: Bo Kristian Holm

Tomasz Mantyk,

“Omnia poma, nova et vetera, dilecte mi, servavi tibi” (Song 7,14). Commentary on Song of Solomon as an example of exegetical method of Franciscus Titelmans.
Franciscus Titelmans (1502–1537) was one of the most prolific catholic biblical scholars on the eve of the Council of Trent. He is known, however, almost solely for his controversy with Erasmus of Rotterdam over the translation of the Vulgate. Consequently, he has been studied mostly as a background figure to the great Humanist.

In this paper I intend to look on Titelmans’s scholarship out of the polemical context. I shall analyse one of Titelmans’s most mature works, his commentary on the Song of Solomon, which was published posthumously. My aim is to present Titelmans’s methodology, showing how his deep respect for Church’s tradition, especially for Church Fathers, his philological skills and his interest in current Church’s situation intertwined in offering a deeply traditional and yet novel reading of the Song of Solomon.

Finally, I shall suggest, how understanding Tietlmans’s own biblical scholarship can shed light on his polemic with Erasmus. I will argue that his polemic with Erasmus was not so much an element of scholastic-humanist feud, as it was a clash of contrasting visions of the Church and more importantly, of the authority of the Bible itself.   

Daniel Lehmann,

Jews in Purgatory, Jews in Hell: Confessional Conflict in Johannes Buxtorf's Juden Schul

While a polemical portrayal of Jewish life, Johannes Buxtorf's highly influential Juden Schul (1603) was very much a Reformation text. Written—it has been proposed—with a Lutheran readership in mind, Buxtorf's work framed the daily, yearly, and cradle-to-grave practices and beliefs of contemporary Jews in rhetoric that echoed Protestant criticisms of Catholic adherence to Church tradition, stressing the rabbinic, rather than scriptural, underpinnings of the Jewish religion. Yet the Protestant Hebraist's unfavorable equation of Jews and Catholics only went so far. Buxtorf's descriptions of Jewish life are, not infrequently, tinged with a vocabulary that is confessionally charged; most notable, perhaps, are his repeated references to Purgatory, a Catholic doctrine rejected by Protestants, in Jewish ritual and thought. I would, however, suggest that Buxtorf used the term hesitantly, subsequently replacing Purgatory with Hell or invoking Hell as an alternative to Purgatory. My paper explores the implications of Buxtorf's marked reluctance to fully identify Judaism with Catholicism, arguing that the convergence of confessional conflict and anti-Jewish polemic in Juden Schul reflects a relatively nuanced, even if not exactly tolerant, attitude towards both Catholics and Jews—a paradoxical perspective that corresponds to and follows from Buxtorf's engagement with the particulars of Jewish life.

Leonardo Cohen & Mauricio Lapcik Minski

Magseph Assetat vs. Mazgaba Haymanot: Father Antonio Fernandes’ Refutation of Ethiopian Christian Doctrine

The Jesuit missionaries’ encounter with Ethiopian civilization at the outset of the seventeenth century is well-documented. Much of this scholarship revolves around the cultural, political, and religious influence of post-Tridentine Catholicism on Orthodox Christianity in Ethiopia. If we are to truly understand the interaction between these two Christian traditions, though, researchers will have to delve deeper into the theological controversies via the pertinent literary sources. To this end, the proposed paper will focus on Father António Fernandes’ Magseph Assetat (Against the Libels of the Ethiopians) in an effort to shed light on this proselytizer’s attempts to debunk contemporaneous Ethiopian religious texts.

Despite its historical importance and singularity, Magseph Assetat has yet to merit commensurate attention from scholars. Magseph Assetat is the only book written by the Society of Jesus’ representatives to have survived in ancient Ethiopic (Gǝʾǝz). This treatise epitomizes the controversy that arose in the early seventeenth century over Christological-cum-theological issues as well as ritual matters between Jesuit missionaries and Ethiopian dignitaries.

After revisions by Father Luis de Azevedo, Magseph Assetat was published in Goa in 1642. For all intents and purposes, the book came in response to Mäzgäbä Haymanot (Treasure of Faith) – an Ethiopian treatise explaining the basic tenets of Monophysite Christology, such as the revelation of divinity in three separate entities. Mäzgäbä Haymanot’s introduction surveys the first four ecumenical councils. Unlike the other three convocations, the decisions of the final one, the Council of Chalcedon, were rejected by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Over the course of Magseph Assetat’s 64 chapters, Fernandes undertook to refute the positions of the Ethiopian Church from a Catholic perspective.

Language and Sound
Chair: Jette Bendixen Rønkilde

Jakub Koryl
What did Luther want to hear? Introduction to the Acoustic History of Reformation
Over the last decades cultural turn in the studies on early-modern era is keen to ponder about the issues – like for instance body, sexuality, gender, family, emotions, fashion or private life and popular piety  – that were previously put on the sidelines of the historical narratives, misinterpreted or even completely ignored. Consequently, the complex image of reformation becomes now even more multilayered, problematic and for that reasons an intriguing challenge put out to the contemporary, transdisciplinary study of history. Proposed paper should be considered as a beneficiary of that cultural turn and therefore as an attempt to supplement and enrich the image of reformation everyday life we are still becoming familiar with. As such it aims at presenting the methodological proposal or simply an idea, a new insight into the cultural history of reformation which can be provisionally labeled ‘the acoustic history’ with the question ‘what did Luther (or anyone else) want to hear?’ as the main scope of inquiry. For it asks how not only the music but most of all the spoken word, both the biblical and common one, did influence the specific communities of listeners and readers. Acoustic history belongs then to inter- and transdisciplinary studies on intellectual, religious, political and aesthetic features of the collective identities, or – to put it more specifically – to the studies on the orality of literate communities, anthropology of senses and sound, and finally to the audio-ethnography. The framework of cultural history is broadly conceived by definition; proposed paper on the acoustic history of reformation tends to make it more extensive by introducing the undeveloped fields of cultural heritage.

Païvi Räisänen-Schröder:

Reading, singing and lived religion in in 16th century Anabaptism

Scholarly focus is increasingly shifting to the lived experiences of religion in the past. For the Reformation era, Anabaptists form an important, yet often overlooked, group of lay religious expression, which differed from many of the mainstream Reformation teachings, norms and practices. As Protestants, Anabaptists shared the emphasis on preaching, hearing and reading the Word of God. From this starting point, my paper will explore two central elements of Anabaptist lived religion in the 16th century, reading and singing, both practices with strong identity and community building dimensions.

The history of especially early modern laity’s reading is methodologically challenging, but I argue that the sources available, if read carefully, do allow at least some glimpses into what books and texts the people suspected of forbidden Anabaptism owned, borrowed, distributed, read and discussed. I will present preliminary findings from the duchy of Württemberg with its persistent Anabaptist minority as a case study and discuss the importance and uses of books, especially songbooks, among rank-and-file Anabaptists in the late 16th century. Anabaptist songbooks are especially fruitful to study, as they point to the communal character of early modern reading in general – far more than nowadays, reading was a social activity and the lines between reading, praying, preaching, discussing and, indeed, singing are sometimes hard to draw. These practices were deeply embedded in the Anabaptists’ lived experiences, which have been studied far less than the doctrinal teachings of their leaders.

Peter Benka:

Multilingual communities and the Reformation : The Case of Upper Hungarian free royal towns

Early modern Upper Hungarian royal towns were characterized by a relatively high level of multilingualism, involving speakers of varieties of German, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, and Ruthenian. In the everyday life of the communities, different languages fulfilled different social and cultural roles. In the sphere of pastoral care, the situation was addressed by employment of preachers for different language communities already in the 15th century. With the advent and acceptance of the Reformation, from the 1530s and 1540s onwards, this practice was both strengthened and modified. Ideals of using the languages that would be “understood by everyone” were included in the official documents of the town magistrates aimed at reforming the local Church practices. However, implementation of the declared ideals was not straightforward. What effects did the symbolic capital – or lack thereof – of a language variety have on hierarchies within the town clergies? What influence – if any – did changes in the demographics, or external factors such as pressure from other centres of political power, have on the language practices of the towns’ Lutheran Churches? In times of theological disputes, different language varieties could be viewed as representing certain confessional stances, an observation that was overinterpreted by some later historians, especially in the 19th century. Due to the emphasis traditionally put on the usage of vernaculars, the enduring importance of Latin has been often overlooked. These and similar questions of language use in the Church life, liturgy as well as preaching, in the Upper Hungarian royal towns will be addressed in the paper, using some of the methodological tools recently developed to analyse “social history of language”.

Itay Blumenzweig:

Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?: Sixteenth Century Perspective on Biblical Transliterations

The humanist movement played an invaluable role in shaping our understanding of text. “The defenders of the text,” to us Anthony Grafton’s term, introduced many of the philological principles which are used in philology up to this day. They were reluctant to trust blindly suspicious translations and invested significant efforts in the study of foreign languages, collection of ancient manuscript and the creation of corrected and annotated editions.  Yet although obsessed with textual edition and textual comparison, the humanists were far from fetishizing the written word. Classic philosophy and rhetoric had thought them that text is merely an imitation of the author’s speech. The implications of this view on the ad fontes enterprise were vast. For if text is indeed a visual imitation of voice, even the most ancient and accurate manuscript cannot be considered an original. The editor must have stepped in to the obscure sphere of orality.

To the study of the New Testament this was of crucial importance. For although many of the scholars at that time promoted the principle of graeca veritas, it was evident that Jesus and his companions spoke different language. There were only several cases in which they had unmediated access to the protagonists’ actual voice, for the Greek text sometimes transliterated Aramaic and Hebrew words into Greek letters. But even this entailed significant difficulties, for these transliterations were often heavily corrupted by generations of scribes who were not versed in Hebrew or Aramaic, leaving some serious doubts regarding their accurate rendering.

My paper discusses humanists’ attempted to reconstruct Jesus’ cry which appears in transliteration in Matthew (27:46) and Mark (15:34), thus exploring how scholars such as Nebrija, Erasmus, Alfonso de Zamora, Luther and Theodor Beza aspired to transcend the textual document and to imagine Jesus’ own voice.


Handling Conflicts
Chair: Sabine Hiebsch

Richard Kirwan

True Believers or Treacherous Imposters? Religious Converts at the University of Tübingen, 1556-1634

In the wake of the Peace of Augsburg, the notion that universities of the Empire should exemplify and promote religious orthodoxy became more ever pronounced. This led increasingly to the enforcement of orthodoxy among scholars and students. Those unwilling to conform were purged from their host institutions and many such exiles found refuge in universities of an alternative confessional stripe. By examining the case of the University of Tübingen, this paper will consider how a university responded to the influx of religious exiles. What motivated the university to offer succour to these scholars? How were their beliefs and behaviours monitored and modified? How did the Thirty Years’ War affect the flow and reception of refugees? In addition to exploring the actions of the university, the paper will consider the challenges faced by scholars and their kin as they attempted to negotiate new institutional structures and suspicious host communities.

Mattias Skat Sommer

Religion as an obstacle to everyday life

In 1698 the Lutheran pastor on the island of Nordstrand on the Frisian Westcoast of Schleswig, Otto Lorentzen Strandiger, was expelled from office by the ducal court at Gottorf and the synod in Schleswig. Officially, Lorentzen was expelled because he failed to comply with the synod’s understanding of ecclesiastical discipline, but in reality he lost his office due to a severe and prolonged conflict with the island’s patronage, a company of Roman-Catholic Dutch diking engineers who had obtained the rights to the island from the duke following a 1653 contract, octroy, between themselves and Gottorf. With the octroy came religious freedom to the island – something which was only allowed on a few sites in Lutheran Schleswig-Holstein, and seventeenth-century Europe in general. This meant that while the islanders – and their pastor – were Lutherans, the patronage was Roman-Catholic. However, Strandiger, claiming that the Roman-Catholics on the island were making life difficult for the Lutherans, put the limits of toleration to the test. This paper examines Strandiger’s actions on Nordstrand and his subsequent career as a “radicalized” non-confessional Protestant in Copenhagen, Flensburg and Hamburg by using archival sources from the Danish National Archives and the Schleswig-Holstein Landesarchiv. To Strandiger, religion proved to be an obstacle to everyday life.

Kyle Dieleman

Negotiating Community and Conflict in Small Dutch Reformed Communities

As Dutch communities adopted Reformed Protestantism establishing a Reformed identity within those communities was a complex and often conflicted process. The challenges of inculcating people in Reformed Protestantism did not just occur in theology but also in the lived experience of daily church and social life. My paper will attend to these challenges in small villages or rural communities in the Low Countries. In particular, my paper will discuss Dutch Reformed consistories in an effort to demonstrate how the daily life of churches were unique in a variety of ways. My paper will focus on the electing of elders and deacons as well as securing pastors and argue that these were complex processes that often required flexibility and negotiating conflict. This is particularly true among small communities. My paper will discuss the unique challenges small communities faced in electing elders and deacons. Similarly, small Reformed churches found themselves in conflict with other churches competing for pastors. Furthermore, pastors were often in conflict with their own churches and even with the men serving on the consistory. My overall thesis, then, is that the interactions described above indicate that Dutch Reformed churches were not monolithic but instead were made up of daily interactions among people whose lives intersected in a variety of ways, requiring negotiating unique local settings and conflicts. Furthermore, my research and paper demonstrates how the lines between ‘religious elites’ and ‘lay Christians’ were often quite blurred in smaller Dutch Reformed communities.

Gorm Harste

The reformation revolution in communication repeated in the 21st century?

“A major crisis should not be wasted”, at least not in serious Zeitdiagnosen. Or as Leibniz said “The present is pregnant with the past for the future”. Today we globally and synchronically experience a major series of crises which spread as a second order epidemic on the basis of the covid-19. At the same time we take part in a digital revolution in communication in a kind of analogy to the printing press revolution which released the reformation. The paper attempts to analyze the fruitfulness of this analogy. The transformation that took place in the decades around 1500 led to reactions and reinterpretations in liturgy, in textinterpretation, in power, discoveries, and worldviews. Today we are embedded into a quagmire of transformation accelerating faster than the resonance (H. Rosa) of our everyday can handle. One result has been conspiracy mythologies, another a reborn enlightenment about the world and the ecological environment our societal systems. At 1500, communication about bodily substance and real presence of speech acts was lifted to another level too. How far can we go along such similarities, analogies, or schemes?

Monday May 31, 2021
Short Paper Panel 2
Images of Authority
Chair: Charlotte Appel

Sasja Stopa:

Who is a trustworthy authority? - Changes to the Lutheran trust culture of 19th century Denmark in the transition from absolutism to liberal democracy
With the Constitutional Act of 1849, Denmark changed from an absolutist kingdom to a liberal democracy and this entailed a shift in how Danes perceived of their relation to authorities. The absolute monarchy governed by a king, who acted as the authoritative mask of God, transitioned into a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy, in which the main figure of authority became the citizen. In this paper, I examine the possible changes to the Lutheran trust culture of 19th century Denmark brought about by these changes in state-citizen relations.

According to the immensely influential pastor, politician etc. N.F.S. Grundtvig, democracy endangered the trust relation between the king and his subjects; “the mutual, outside of Denmark unique, fatherly as well as childish, trust!” (The Danish four-leaf clover. The King and the people). A concern for trust was, thus, at the heart of Grundtvig’s anti-democratic writings of the 1830’s and 40’s in which he maintained that the best means for securing the well-being of the people was “the sustainment and consolidation of trust between the king and the people” (“Til Provindsialstændernes Forsamling i Roskilde”).

In the paper, I argue that this relation of mutual trust between the king and the people - or rather between every kind of authority and their subjects - is a hallmark of the Lutheran confessional culture developing in Denmark from the 1536-reformation onwards. According to Martin Luther, these relations mirror and act out the human relation to God defined by mutual trust. However, as the nascent liberal democracy took shape, the dynamics of trust in God, state, and fellow citizens changed. Social hierarchies were democratized and the new democratic citizen arose as a trustworthy authority challenging the monarch as God’s chosen trustee. Women too, eventually, became state authorities and this feminization of authority might also have changed the perception of trust in state-citizen relations.


Sabine Hiebsch

The Early Modern Dutch Lutheran pastor in a comparative European Lutheran perspective

One of the consequences of the Lutheran reformation was the creation of a new ecclesial role: the Lutheran pastor.

But the new Lutheran pastors did not only have a central role in the organization of the congregations and the church (or the Landeskirchen in the German context), they also played a pivotal part in the organization of society. This was based on a Lutheran authority working closely together with a Lutheran church and its pastors.

In the Early Modern Netherlands however, the Lutherans were one of the tolerated religious minorities, opposite an authority that made the Reformed Church the privileged, public church, with the most rights, financial support and the highest visibility. My short presentation will examine the role of the Dutch Lutheran pastor as representative of a minority faith group without the support of a Lutheran authority. This will open up a comparative perspective on the development of Early Modern Lutheranism in a European context.

Anders Kirk Borggaard

Reforming the Pater patriae: the syncretism of humanist and Lutheran princely ideology in Niels Hemmingsen’s Funebris Oratio in memoriam ... Christiani Tertij (1559)

It is widely recognised that Renaissance humanism, and in particular the ideas on education and literature promoted by its followers, were essential to the development and success of the Lutheran Reformation. However, humanism did more than just provide a new method of reading based on language education and the principle of ad fontes. As a pan-European cultural programme devoted to Latin eloquence and the production of neo-Latin literature after an ideal centred on the imitation of ancient models, humanism offered a potent and widely accepted literary form which could be harnessed to address issues of the day – political as well as theological. This also applied to the ideal of the paternal ruler. When Martin Luther restructured the reformed society according to the Fourth Commandment and cast secular rulers as paternal figures, humanists had already been doing so for two centuries. Drawing on the authority of ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Seneca who promoted the ideal of the paternal ruler, and imitating the way in which the ancient Romans honoured their heroes and emperors with the title Pater patriae, humanists had eagerly adopted these concepts into their own writings, and by the time of the Reformation, the Pater patriae was a mainstay in humanist princely ideology.

In this paper, I will explore how the humanist concept of the paternal prince, the Pater patriae, came to influence the discourse on the responsibilities of the Lutheran prince during the early Reformation, using Niels Hemmingsen’s Funebris Oratio in memoriam ... Christiani Tertij (Copenhagen 1559) as a particularly informative case study. After giving an overview of the humanist ideology surrounding the figure of the paternal ruler, I will demonstrate how Hemmingsen consciously blends a distinctly humanist ideal with elements from Lutheran princely ideology, thereby creating a new syncretic ideal which he calls by the old name of the Pater patriae.


Magic and Spirituality

Chair: Nina J. Koefoed

Karin Sennefelt:

Barefoot in the snow: Exposure and fortification in the ‘book of nature’

Nature, like Scripture, was a ‘book’ written by God. Throughout nature, in creatures, landscapes, weather and the heavens, there were moral and spiritual lessons to teach human beings. Nature provided access to the divine, and a spiritual knowledge that was consistent with, but not identical to the Bible. This paper investigates how seventeenth-century Lutherans in Sweden interacted with the divine in nature. It looks at the world of connections and analogies that formed the relationship between the body and God’s creation, and it does so, not in scholarly literature, but in everyday life.

Using diaries and annotations in almanacs, the paper traces what signs and events in nature individuals deemed significant and drew spiritual meaning from. Dramatic weather events or astronomical phenomena featured rarely, as did apocalyptic warnings. Instead, what emerges is an ongoing interest in the more mundane changes in the weather—thunderstorms, iced-over lakes, and the rains in summer—where providence could me monitored day by day. Nature served to teach vulnerability to the elements, and the great dangers involved in moving through forests and across lakes. In that was also a lesson of the profound dichotomy between humans and the divine, and complete reliance on forces beyond earthly control. But exposure to nature also fortified body and soul. Submitting the body to extreme situations reminded the individual of the worldliness of their bodies and was a means of turning one’s attention to salvation.

Louise Nyholm Kallestrup

The Devil is awake. Pre-reformation church murals in a post-reformation church

The intention with this paper chapter is to discuss the ways in which Lutheran ideas of time and eschatology affected the formation of ideas about witches in post Reformation Denmark. The Devil as a creature roaming the human world was inhereted in the idea of the 16th century as the Last Days. When Lutheran Evangelical reformers disseminated their view on the Devil as active in the human world, their fear of God’s wrath and the admonition to do penance, they made use of a variety of media. This paper discusses how such ideas were mediated to the populace, especially how it fused and interacted with late medieval visual representations in parish churches, sermons and popular pamphlets. I argue that these media together created a synergy, which spurred on a certain atmosphere and mindset among the parishioners in which the idea of one’s neighbour collaborating with diabolical powers were if not natural, then at least more prone to believe so.

Yelena Mazour-Matusevich

Teresa of Avila's Late Medieval Connection(s)

The intention with this paper chapter is to discuss the ways in which Lutheran ideas of time and eschatology affected the formation of ideas about witches in post Reformation Denmark. The Devil as a creature roaming the human world was inhereted in the idea of the 16th century as the Last Days. When Lutheran Evangelical reformers disseminated their view on the Devil as active in the human world, their fear of God’s wrath and the admonition to do penance, they made use of a variety of media. This paper discusses how such ideas were mediated to the populace, especially how it fused and interacted with late medieval visual representations in parish churches, sermons and popular pamphlets. I argue that these media together created a synergy, which spurred on a certain atmosphere and mindset among the parishioners in which the idea of one’s neighbour collaborating with diabolical powers were if not natural, then at least more prone to believe so.


Chair: Bo Kristian Holm

Aleksandra Matczyńska

The argument over an epitaph. Some remarks on female artistic patronage in late sixteenth-century Silesia

One of the basic aims of women's art commissions in Lutheran countries was to commemorate and represent the family and the founder herself. In Silesia, objects founded by women were decorated with extensive foundational inscriptions and heraldic symbols. The most common forms of commemoration were epitaphs and tombstones, but elements of the family representation can also be found on the liturgical furnishing (e.g. altars, pulpits, baptismal fonts). For it was within the sacred space – in contrast to men who often used the secular space for these purposes – that they could find a place to memorialize themselves and their families. The responsibility to ensure a 'good memory' of the deceased relatives was a permanent feature of women's lives. It was part of the then extremely extensive culture of ars moriendi, but also a form of creating the prestige of the family. The main point of reference for this paper will be an argument from 1589, between the founder – Elżbieta Zborowska, who commissioned the epitaph for the deceased husband Andreas Dudith to the parish church of St. Elizabeth in Wrocław (Breslau) – and the artist Friedrich Gross. The founder rejected the project proposed by the sculptor, considering it to be full of 'unnecessary and primitive paintings'. She therefore asked two patricians, Nicolaus Rehdiger the Elder and Daniel Engelhardt, to design another project of the monument, as a result of which an inscriptional epitaph was created. Starting from this dispute, the forms of patron-artist relations and the determinants of commissioning works of art by Silesian women in the late 16th century will be considered. Selected objects financed by women will be discussed and analyzed in view of their iconography, forms of commemoration and representation of the family, as well as the selfcreation of the founder.

Carsten Bach-Nielsen

A Lutheran 16th Century Lutheran altarpiece between holiness and social life.

The village church of Egå on the outskirts of Aarhus was formerly a prebend to the chapter of Aarhus. It was furnished with a sumptuous renaissance altarpiece around 1600. This is a hybrid between the elder type of Lutheran Schriftaltar and emerging experiments with paintings referring to central concepts of the new religious teaching and practice. To whom does such an altarpiece communicate, and what was its overall liturgical purpose? Certainly, it must be regarded as an aid and requisite to the pastor with its painted liturgical texts. It also addresses the congregation through the words of the catechism, just as it points to the social event of baptism. In that way, it bridges the holy and the social spheres in the room.  The presentation will examine the texts and motives of the altarpiece and will point to its reception in neighboring churches.


Bonnie Noble

Albrecht Dürer's Melancholia (1514) and the Question of Truth

My paper presents a new interpretation of Dürer’s 1514 Melencolia I, with reference to 3 critical factors: mimesis (objects rendered in 3D), Melancholia (the allegorical identity of the main figure), and skepticism (the implausible composition). Mimesis, Melancholia, and skepticism combine in this picture to reveal a new understanding of visual perception and its representation in 16th century art.  Furthermore, such changes help explain the transition from late medieval to Early Modern. 

Scholars of Northern Renaissance Art agree that 15th century painting typically depicts patrons having holy visions.  However, in the 16th century, viewers and artists became suspicious of such alleged visions, questioning their holiness and even their reality. Why were holy visions acceptable, and then, seemingly overnight, become unacceptable? The answer lies in the epistemological shift toward skepticism that typical of Early Modern thinking.  

Skepticism about art and perception indicates a general doubt about visual experience.  Counterintuitively, such doubt took hold at a time when artists were better than ever at creating the illusion of reality with such tools as linear perspective and descriptive textures rendered in oil paint. 

Much visionary experience in the 15th century revolves around the Virgin; conversely, doubt about visions of the Virgin drove 16th century skepticism. For instance, the mystic Bridget of Sweden, whose visions became the basis for religious iconography, learned to trust her experiences from Christ Himself. In her Revelations, Christ assures her “… do not doubt that the good spirit of God is with you when you desire nothing but God”. In the opposite camp is Luther, who responds to miraculous sightings of the Virgin in a letter of 1520: “[M]iracles that happen in these places prove nothing, for the evil spirit can also work miracles.”

The shift from belief to skepticism catalyzes the arrival of the Early Modern period.


Individual Voices
Chair: Mattias Skat Sommer

Lars Cyril Nørgaard:

Zones of Privacy in Danish Funeral Sermons

In Danish libraires, a large number of printed funeral sermons can be identified: the precise number still remains to be determined. Outlining this impressive corpus, my paper will detail the many different areas of research, which it implies, and present a brief comparison to, e.g.,  German, English, and French sermon cultures. On this background, I will engage with the difficult notion of privacy as this comes to the fore in funeral sermons; a genre that is, inherently, public. Nevertheless, I will argue that private states are put to public use: these spaces serve a specific purpose within the rhetorical structure of the printed funeral sermon. Specifically, I shall focus on sermons by Jesper Brochmand (1585-1652), professor at the University and Bishop of Zealand.

John McCallum:

The Emotional Worlds of a Protestant Minister in Late Sixteenth Century Scotland

This paper will address the theme of Reformation and Everyday Life by exploring the lived emotional experiences of a Protestant minister in the aftermath of the Scottish Reformation. While Alec Ryrie’s work has revealed the rich affective framework of Protestant spirituality in general, and Louise Yeoman has considered the emotions of mid seventeenth-century Scottish covenanters, very little attention has been paid to the emotional experiences of the sixteenth century Scottish Reformation. Yet the substantial Autobiography and Diary of James Melville (1556-1614), together with Melville’s pastoral and devotional writing, offers unique opportunities to consider the emotional dynamics of Scottish Protestantism through a case-study of a parish minister. Moreover, such sources offer rich potential for this theme because of, not despite, their inherent subjectivity. The paper will therefore focus specifically on how emotion and emotions language informed his understanding and representation of the following subjects: his vocation as a minister and his own spiritual struggle; the controversial church politics of the 1580s and 1590s; his experience of personal and local relationships especially as son, husband, father and friend. This will help us to move towards a more nuanced understanding of the lived experiences of Scottish Protestantism in the generation after the Reformation

Ida Marie Schepelern Pedersen:

‘For too little doth he love Thee, who loves any thing with Thee, which he loveth not for Thee’: Conflicting Images of Earthly Love in the Writings of John Donne.

The complex circumstances of the Reformation in the British Isles would in time result in the institutionalisation of a unique and particular English confessional culture, which incorporated elements of both Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Arminian theology. In seeking insight into the contradictory temporal and spiritual demands placed upon early modern English citizens, we may look to the writings of early 17th century poet, scholar, clergyman and political debater John Donne (1572- 1631). That extensive corpus of poetry for which Donne is today chiefly remembered was, paradoxically, in actuality written for private use, and as such often presents us with the poet’s personal thoughts on issues of a sensitive nature. In his religious poetry, Donne often revisits the theme of love between man and woman: a sentiment again and again interpreted as at once affirmative of and antithetical to love of the divine. The paper will present an investigation of this premise. What was the “right” form of earthly love? Was the Protestant/Reformed ideal of love for other human beings as image of man’s love for God a practicable solution? Or was celibacy, as Catholicism would have it, in fact preferable? Due to Donne’s own exceptional confessional background, one may identify in his writing elements of Catholic as well as Protestant/Reformed theological positions. Drawing on Donne’s poetry and a short selection of his sermons and private letters, the paper aims at tracing the specific confessional lines of thought that informed Donne’s work, such as have demonstrably been of specific consequence in the establishment of the early Church of England, and thus, arguably, in Early Modern English everyday life.


 Short Paper Panel 3
Chair: Nina J. Koefoed

Jonathan Baddley

Carrying on the Work of Reformation’ Lay Preparation for the Lord’s Supper in Early Stuart England.  

As the push for further reformation of the English national church waxed in the early Stuart period, so too did the development of a distinctively protestant eucharistic piety. At the core of this newly logocentric understanding of the Lord’s Supper, was an intensive preparatory regime for the ‘right receiving’ of the elements. Supplied with an increasing number of printed preparation manuals as well as the dutiful instruction of local ministers through preparatory sermons, selfreflecting laity became keen to ensure their ‘worthy’ communication. Without the rigor of an institutionalized disciplinary scheme to oversee preparation, as was the case in places like Scotland, Geneva, or the Netherlands, the English were in this period, with a few notable caveats, left to their own devices for the ‘right reception’ of the ordinance. Through an examination of some of the most frequently printed preparation manuals of the early Stuart period, as well as extant seventeenth-century diaries, this paper would trace the contours of lay communion preparation amid the fierce struggle to continue the work of the Reformation in an English church but ‘halflie’ reformed. In so doing, it would offer a unique glimpse at the scope of the Reformation’s lasting effects on social, political, and religious life in early modern England.

Mette M. Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

‘Lying without the Church’: Women, Churching and Everyday Life in early modern Denmark

Condemned as Catholic superstition and vilified on account of its roots in Levitical impurity laws, the ritual of churching of women after childbirth was abolished at the Reformation, but soon reinstated. Judging by churching’s popularity in all spheres of early modern Denmark, the reinstatement was probably due to women’s needs. The Reformation had not diminished the risk of death and pain at childbirth and churching, with its choreography and stylised performance, was the ideal ritual for marking a woman’s return to normalcy. In early modern Denmark, churching was as common as baptism and celebrated at church and in the community. The rite offers a unique insight into women’s lives and yet despite its importance, it has largely fallen out of modern memory. This paper traces the early modern rite and outlines the time leading up to churching without which the rite cannot be understood. From the moment pregnancy was determined, a woman’s daily life was affected due to the rules that sought to protect but also restrict. This was especially true for the lying-in, tellingly called ‘lying without the church’, when the mother was temporarily suspended from church and communion and confined to her home for six weeks until her churching. A mother’s post-partum body – whether living or dead - was viewed with unease far into late modern Denmark.

Christina Petterson

Innerworldly Pietism and Practice: The Human Jesus and his Community in Herrnhut.

This paper looks at the change in the figure of Jesus in the collective understanding of the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine between the late 1720s and 1760. Based on archival research, it will demonstrate the Christological developments of the thoughts of the community leader, Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf and how it was implemented in the community. In these years, Jesus changed from being a redemptive figure within the community to an individual person with whom one could talk, kiss, and copulate. His presence was felt in the inner person, and at the same time experienced in a fleshy corporeal way in the Eucharist, which was increasingly emphasised as a somatic union between the believer and the martyred man. The increasingly physical figure of Jesus also meant an increased emphasis on his maleness, which also had a profound effect on the understanding of gender and marital relations within the community in Herrnhut. This Christology met with some resistance from some of the Moravian members in the congregation, and there was an ongoing struggle for the future theological direction of the community which culminated in the mid-1740s. This blood and wounds theology had a deep impact within the Moravian mission fields both within Europe and in the colonies. After Zinzendorf’s death in 1760, the community toned down some of the more extravagant aspects of this theological line.


Theology and Practice
Chair: Bo Kristian Holm

Sini Mikkola

Breaking down the inner walls, maintaining the way of living: Monasticism, everyday life and spatiality in Martin Luther

In regard to monasticism in the Reformation Era, The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology (2011) states that Martin Luther’s and his colleagues theological emphases led “to the rapid dissolution of monasteries in Protestant territories.” Even though the statement is partially correct, the picture of the swiftly emptying cloisters belongs first and foremost to the great narrative of the Reformation. The narrative, as such, can be – and has been – questioned in modern scholarship, especially among the studies concentrating on lived religion and everyday practices. However, simplistic myths of the vanishing of the monastic life are still repeated in numerous texts as well. Since the narrative is rather persistent, more in-depth scholarly discussion is needed in order to offer a more nuanced picture of the issue.

In this paper, I shall discuss the views of Martin Luther, who has been regarded as one of the central figures of the sixteenth-century polemic against the cloister. I examine monastic life as a theoretical and practical issue in Luther’s texts, by using the idea of spatiality as the basis of my discussion. Space is, thus, discussed as both literal and metaphorical in the paper. I make two central conclusions: first, from the viewpoint of spatiality, Luther’s theoretical and practical views on monasticism suggest in tandem that his intention was not to dissolve the cloisters but to reform them as spaces of inner and outer freedom. He could even discourage monks and nuns from abandoning their way of living. Second, I bring forward that the often-neglected women’s convents must be taken into account when investigating Luther’s views on monasticism (and when examining the whole topic of monasticism, for that matter) in order to create a more comprehensive picture of his thinking.

Marta Quatrale

Pillar or outcome? Luther's practical theological aim and its theopatical implication

An often misunderstood element in Luther’s Theology was the combination of its anti-scholastical, practical aim (“vera theologia est practica”) with its highly theoretical outcome. A reason for it might be found it the increasing role of such outcome, which at a given point seemed to have turned into a proper pillar of his own Theology. An example of this (at least apparent) contradiction is provided by the Christological background of the anti-roman doctrine of the Justification as fröhlicher Wechsel/admirabile commercium, which, due to its particular interpretation of the Doctrine of the so-called communicatio idiomatum, lead to the consistent, and nonetheless rejected formulation of a Doctrine of the Theopaschy. Aim of this paper is to sketch such consistent background, its development in the controversies of the second half of the 16th Century, as well as the attempt to save this peculiar element beside the Christological controversies, deriving it no longer from the Christological Doctrine of communicatio idiomatum, but rather from the one of so-called status exinanitionis et exaltationis, keeping a look on its originally practical aim.

Avner Shamir

Christ as Teacher in Early Reformation Bible Translations

Who was the historical Jesus before he became Christ? A healer, preacher, prophet, millenarian, and most of all a teacher. In the Gospels, Jesus is often addressed as teacher or master. Most Bible scholars today agree that the historical Jesus was seen and addressed as a Jewish teacher, namely rabbi – the title being recorded in Greek in Matthew, Mark and John. Since the knowledge of modern bible scholarship was naturally not available in the sixteenth century, contemporaries did not speculate about the historical nature of Christ. Yet in one sense the question of who was Jesus was unavoidable. When translators rendered the New Testament in vernacular languages for lay readers they had to make sense of the not-Christological, that is historical, titles of Jesus. Was Jesus a master? Teacher? Doctor? Or perhaps a rabbi? 

 My paper is an attempt to retrieve sixteenth-century concerns about the figure of the historical Jesus through an analysis of Reformation biblical translations. I focus on Martin Luther’s biblical translations, especially in relation to the pre-Luther German translations, but I also explore the English translations, from William Tyndale onwards, here too in relation to the pre-Reformation English Wycliffite bibles. Both Luther and the evangelical English translators seem to have struggled with the problem of how to render the title ‘rabbi’ and hence how to depict Christ the teacher.

Although the identity of Christ might have been a result of personal opinion, theological views and hermeneutic processes of reading and interpreting Scriptures, the difference in the way Jesus was depicted, I argue, was a result of different approaches to questions relating to translation as well as to the complex question of what the title ‘rabbi’ signified in the sixteenth century.



Away from the household
Chair: Carsten Bach-Nielsen

Linda Honey:

Marooned in Pre-colonial Canada: Ripples of the Reformation

In 1542, Marguerite de la Roque and two others were marooned on an uninhabited island off Quebec's Lower North Shore by her relative Jean François de la Roque, Viceroy of New France.

 Marguerite left no (extant) record of her ordeal. There are, however, three divergent sixteenth-century accounts of the exile each with historical elaborations and all written by French Catholics: 1) Queen Marguerite de Navarre, 2) the author and courtier François de Belleforest and, 3) André Thevet, the royal cosmographer and Franciscan friar. It is the position of this paper that the queen's account is the most faithful to the actual events.

 This paper argues that while many details of Marguerite's story are indeterminate, the spiritual practices noted in the accounts - the solace she found in prayer, meditations, hymns and, in particular, her reading of the New Testament - are recoverable, demonstrable, and significant, providing evidence  for the geographical reach of the Reformation and its effects  on everyday life - even life on a remote North American island.

 Additionally, in the face of tragedy upon tragedy and in the absence of clergy, it fell to Marguerite to perform functions that are reflective of Reformation practices.

 After two and a half years in exile,  Marguerite was rescued and repatriated. She spent the rest of her life gainfully employed teaching young girls to read and encouraging them to trust in God "who had been so merciful to her". Marguerite's experience was transformative through textualization, in particular through her Scripture reading and devotional practices. 

 This paper speaks to forms of Protestant devotional practice in earliest colonial times, and explores and contrasts Marguerite's spirituality with that of her contemporaries in France.

Charlotte Appel:

Protestant piety at sea?
Devotional literature for mariners in Danish, c.1580-1680.

Most seventeenth century religious books in Danish were aimed at a general audience: “the common man” or “all good Christians”. In some cases, however, pastors and publishers targeted their devotional titles directly at a more limited audience or specific situations. This applies to a small group of titles aimed at mariners and seafaring people, beginning with Tilemann Henningsen: En liden ny Skibsbog vdaff den hellige Bibelske Schrifft (1580) and including books by Hansen Dalby, Mikkelsen Aalborg, Praetorius and Westerman. Most of these publications were partly or primarily translations from German and Dutch.

In this paper, I will analyze Danish devotional books for mariners with regard to contents and materiality in order to investigate to which extent and how they differed from other religious books. This will lead to a discussion of three questions concerning the intended use and uses in practice, as far as we can approach the latter via the books themselves and other sources: Were devotional books seen as having special importance to life at sea due to the absence (totally or partially) of churches, pastors and the standard Christian household? Were the books meant to protect against perils and death at sea? How should we characterize the ‘confessional profile’ of this literature? Especially the trans-confessional and transnational exchanges in relation to transport and travelling seem to call for further research.

Per Seesko:

Lutheran Household Away From Home? - The Authority of the Praeceptors in Instructions for Travelers from 16th and 17th century Denmark.

In the period between the Reformation of 1536 and the institution of Absolutism in 1660, a peregrinatio or journey through foreign countries spanning several years came to be seen as the important last step of the education of young noblemen in Denmark, as was also the case in other parts of Europe.

Young men, whose families could afford to send them away, were supposed to acquire qualifications that would prepare them for a prominent role in public life and put them ahead in the competition for lucrative state offices. Alongside visiting important centers of learning, they would also acquire language skills and knowledge of the geographical, cultural, juridical and political circumstances of foreign countries. In addition, they would polish their appearance and manners through the practice of excercitia, such as riding, fencing and dancing, and by associating with learned and influential men underway. On the other hand, they should stay away from bad influences, including such as would follow from travelling through countries dominated by other confessions.

During an era, when the relations between members of the household as well as relations in a wider societal perspective were shaped by the imperatives of responsibility and obedience taught in Luther’s Catechisms, these journeys exposed young noblemen in their formative years to dangers of many sorts, while being away from their parents’ watchful eyes. Most, however, travelled in the company of a praeceptor, typically an older non-noble student, carefully selected by their parents.

This paper explores the relations between parents, sons and praeceptors as they were ideally expressed in the written instructions issued to young travelers before embarking on their journeys. How did parents seek to maintain the structures of responsibility and obedience of the Lutheran household on a distance?

Tuesday June 1, 2021

Short paper panels 4
Temporal authorities
Chair: Per Ingesman

Søren Frank Jensen:

David for Kings and Commoners? Court Preacher Nikolaus Selnecker's (1530-92) Interpretation of the Psalter

Characterised by Martin Luther (1483-1546) as the quintessential devotional manual, the Psalter was treasured across protestant confessions as a cornerstone in both public worship and private piety in the post-Reformation era. Nikolaus Selnecker (1530-92), court preacher, choir director, and tutor at the Electoral Court of Saxony from 1558-64, shared his peers' veneration of the Psalms, and his particular penchant materialised in a sprawling three-volume commentary in which he interprets all 150 biblical Psalms in sermons, illustrations, prayers, poems, and songs. Selnecker indicates that he preached the commentary at the Dresden court before publishing it, and he explains that the aim of this publication was to convey comfort and guidance to the common man and the simpleminded Christian. According to the author’s declaration, the commentary thus appears to straddle the spheres of electors and commoners in its instruction for a Christian way of life unfolding within the shifting confessional boundaries of second-generation Lutheranism. The first edition was published in 1563-64, but throughout his life, Selnecker kept returning to the commentary, revising and republishing it. After his death, further editions appeared well into the seventeenth century.

Selnecker's commentary evokes reflection regarding ideals of the Christian everyday life for rulers and their subjects, prescribed public and private devotion, and Biblical interpretation as a mode of spiritual direction. This paper will engage with these topics in Selnecker's interpretation of the Psalter by focusing on his casting of King David as a malleable model for the early modern Christian.

Bo Kristian Holm:

The Lutheran Transformation of the Ideal of the Benevolent Ruler as the Basis of both Absolutism and Social Responsibility.

Lutheran ideas about authority contain both benevolence and mutual obligations and are framed by the household as the basic social imaginary and as the primary organizational principle from family to state. Firstly, I will argue that ancient Roman ideas of benevolence shaping both the images of gods and the ideals for rulers (as in Seneca’s De beneficiis) were integrated in Lutheran theology and combined with biblical images of father and king. Thereby, Lutheranism continued a tradition from patristic theology but gave it a new and clearly ”anti-Machiavellian” emphasis.  Secondly, I will claim that this new emphasis was pivotal for the societal development in the Nordic Countries. Using Denmark as example, I will show how the ideal of the benevolent ruler and the imagery of the household father formed the background for a positive attitude towards absolutism and supported strong and long-lasting ideals about social responsibility.

Jan Je

The bright of culture’s bloom at the twilight of the dynasty or the fundation activity of Mazovian duchess Anna Radziwiłł

Anna Radziwiłł, spouse of Konrad III the Red and the mother of the last Mazovian dukes, was undoubtly one of the most significant duchesses of the Duchy of Mazovia. Only few years after getting married duchess Anna Radziwiłł had to confront herself with the death of her husband, duke Konrad III the Red in 1503 when the independence of the Duchy was endangered by incorporation to the Kingdom of Poland. Thanks to her determination and prudent activity duchess Anna not only saved the independence of Mazovia but also ruled over it by the next 14 years providing it progress. In this time she cared about growth of the culture in the lands remaining under her control, mostly by funding new temples and monasteries or by renewing already existing and damaged. This activity not only confirmed her devotion, but it was also going to win the Polish episcopacy over and to gain its advocacy. The political situation of the duchess was still frail and the aid of the hierarchs of the Polish Church would be priceless to her.



Chair: Sasja Emilie Mathiasen Stopa

Marta Wojtkowska-Maksymik

Changes in the image of a woman and the perception of her role in the 16th-century Poland (on the example of selected works by Protestant writers: Jan Seklucjan, Erazm Gliczner, Mikołaj Rej, and Marcin Czechowicz)

The beginning and development of the Reformation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth resulted in the increased interest in women’s topics, in particular the subject of women’s responsibilities (at home and in church), personal patterns, marriage, and women’s religious education. A woman, especially a virtuous, beautiful, pious and good wife or daughter, became for the first time in the history of Polish literature an independent heroine of the following literary texts (often dedicated to women and published for them): Oeconomia albo Gospodarstwo (On Economy or Household, 1546) by Jan Seklucjan, Książki o wychowaniu dzieci (Books on the Upbinging of Children, 1558) by Erazm Gliczner, Żywot człowieka poczciwego (Life on a Virtuous Man, 1567/68) by Mikołaj Rej, Zwierściadłka panieniek chrystyjańskich (A Mirron for Christian Ladies, 1582) by Marcin Czechowic. This paper will be devoted to their discussion and analysis. Among the authors we find Lutherans (Seklucjan, Gliczner), a Calvinist (Rej) and an Arian (Czechowic). In pedagogical treaties and farm guides, they not only addressed topics related to women, but also discussed women’s issues from a new religious perspective. In addition, they highlighted the problem of equality between men and women and expressed their belief that women had virtues that enabled a happy life on earth and posthumous salvation. The authors of the texts included in the paper also attempted to reconcile the mulier fortis model already formed in biblical texts (characterized most fully in the Book of Proverbs) with the realities prevailing in 16th-century Poland and the guidelines contained in the tables of duties of Protestant catechisms (beginning with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism of 1529).

Holly Fletcher:

Matters of Weight: Disciplining the Body in Reformation Germany

In his ‘Christianopolis’  from 1619, Johann Valentin Andreae described a utopian Christian society, characterised by order and uniformity. Discussing the sharing out of food, Andreae stated that each citizen would receive an equal amount so that they would never have to suffer hunger, but would also ‘never fatten the body to such an extent that the spirit became weighed down by it’. He continued: ‘for they are not worth life, who only find merit in gluttony and fattening...they will be pulled down to hell by the weight of their full paunches, whilst the lean-looking servants of God will fly to heaven’. For Andreae then, the weight and shape of the body could be of critical significance to orderly Christian society, as the size of the body was shown to reflect both moderation and piety.

This paper will explore how ideas about bodyweight and shape came to be intertwined with notions of family, community and society in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth-centuries in Germany. Examining Andreae’s text alongside legal documents such as police and church ordinances, as well as the Lutheran ‘devil books’, I will reflect on attempts to discipline the body in this period, considering the implications of this for understandings of bodily form. Luther’s own large size has been linked to both his theology and his success as a reformer, yet this paper will take this further. It will explore the significance of bodyweight beyond the figure of the Luther, questioning its role as part of the lived religion of German society in the aftermath of the Reformation.


Eleanor Barnett:

Pious Eating in Protestant England and Catholic Italy, c. 1560 - c. 1640.

Historians of the European Reformations are increasingly concerned with the lived experiences of ordinary people, rather than seeking top-down narratives to explain the tumultuous religious change of the early modern period. As the most essential everyday activity, eating was inextricably tied to the expression and practice of religious identities, but has so far received little scholarly attention in the context of the Reformations. Through a rich source-base of published household piety guidebooks, manuscript recipe books, and material culture, this paper considers how Christians across the confessional divide imbued eating with piety. It argues that at a time when visible expressions of religious identity were of particular consequence, Protestants and Catholics in England and Italy respectively created and enforced distinct ways of eating that reflected their distinct theological and social standpoints. The paper will comment on three central contemporary concerns in turn: who prepared and cooked food, how food was blessed at the table, and the material environments in which people dined. By comparing Protestant and Catholic eating practices in this way, this paper gets closer to the lived religion of ordinary people, and helps to explain the construction of these diverging confessional identities in Reformation Europe.


Private Life and the Threats of Marriage in the Early Modern Period
Chair: Nina J. Koefoed

Natacha Klein Käfer
Rituals to regulate private lives: negotiating marital power through love spells

This paper will examine the early modern use of “love spells” as a form of solving marital problems. Today, we tend to associate love spells with conquering the affection of a desired partner. However, early modern legal trials show that most instances of the use of love spells are requests by married women whose husbands had forsaken their marital duties (abandoned them, engaged in adultery, or became violent). By looking at legal sources surrounding the use of love spells in Northern Europe and their colonial lands, this paper will explore how everyday women from different religious confessions would seek supernatural help as a form of influencing intra-couple dynamics of power without having to go through the public scrutiny required by formal legal interventions.

Natália da Silva Perez:

The Legal Standing of Strategies of Sexual Privacy

I will comparatively examine legal sources dealing with women’s abilities to choose how to enjoy and protect their sexual privacy in early modern Europe, whether they were married or unmarried. Examples of material examined will include laws and regulations on the married couple’s private life, as well as police and court records on cases of marital dispute. I will also examine the legal conditions and opportunities available to women who remained single (e.g. Beguines living in communities, nuns in convents). What protections were there for single women’s private property? How was their civil or criminal status before the law if they were married or unmarried? What protections or burdens existed for widowed women? How were women’s religious vows treated before the law? What differences can be found in the letter of the law regarding women belonging to different religious or confessional communities? I will focus on sources selected from particular cities and towns in Northern Europe and related colonies.

Paolo Astorri:

Parental Authority, Privacy, and the Reformation of Marriage

The Lutheran Reformation reshaped the dynamics between family and marriage.  A valid marriage required the approval of the parents and the presence of witnesses. The couple must express their vows publicly in the Church and get their marriage registered in the Church registers. Such a transformation of the concept of marriage, which for the Catholic Church did not require parental approval raised new issues: was it necessary the consent of both parents? Was there any right for sons and daughters to obtain the consent? Which were the strategies for the couple to get married without parental consent? How women could be protected in case of double (clandestine and public) marriages? This paper proposes to address these and other questions looking at Lutheran legal and theological tracts (e.g.  Joachim von Beust (1522-1597), Tractatus connubiorum, 1583) and at marriage laws (e.g. Dresdener Eheordnung, 1556). It will also compare the new regulation of marriage with the one enforced in the Roman Catholic lands.


Chair: Bo Kristian Holm

Carlos Caldas:

Between Pathos and Logos – A Comparison of the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 and the Westminster Confession of 1646

One of the many characteristics of the Reformation and post Reformation period was the struggle for the formation and definition of identities. There was in that time a great concern in establishing landmarks which would delimitate the frontiers of the different actors in the religious screen. Therefore, there were some questions that needed to be answered, such as: what does it mean to be an Evangelical (Lutheran)? What does it mean to be a Reformed? What are the main differences between these new groups and the centuries old established Catholic tradition? In order to try to find answers to those questions many catechisms and confessions of faith were produced. These materials had obvious pedagogical purposes – to teach the adherents of the new churches what they were supposed to believe in – but they had also a very practical purpose: to draw the theoretical contours of the aforementioned new groups.

Looking specifically to the Reformed tradition, one can observe that two very important documents were written in that time: the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and the Westminster Confession of Faith (1643-1646). This paper intends to demonstrate that while the Heidelberg Catechism has a strong pastoral emphasis, the Westminster Confession has a very rationalistic tone. One could say that the Heidelberg Catechism is marked by pathos, and the Westminster Confession is marked by logos. So, the proposal of this paper is to present a descriptive and critical comparison between these two texts of the Reformed tradition.

Urban Claesson:

Household(s) in Nordic Catechisms - Variations upon a Theme by Luther

How was the household taught in early modern Denmark and Sweden? Luther’s comments on the fourth and sixth commandments in his Small Catechism along with the table of duties reveal how the household was formulated for general education. This paper, presenting research funded by the Swedish Research Foundation "Riksbankens jubileumsfond", focus upon differences in various expositions of the Lutheran catechism published in Dioceses in Denmark and Sweden during the 17th century. In contrast to other spiritual books that were often translated from German, Nordic authors mainly wrote these explanations. The authors were often bishops, producing these textbooks as ways of coping with challenges of everyday life that they faced in their dioceses. My main question is; how was the household presented in different expositions of Luther’s Small Catechism? The preliminary results of my research show interesting variations between textbooks within the Nordic Realm concerning how to keep a household together.

Jette Bendixen Rønkilde:

Teaching, learning, doing – Pontoppidan’s catechism as a source of lived theology

“Get them, while they are young”, could have been the mindset behind making the rite of confirmation mandatory in the Danish State Church in the early 18th Century. The King, Christian VI, in 1736 issued a decree consolidating the practice of confirmation as essential to formation of the youth. The confirmation and the preceding teaching became necessary prerequisites not just to take communion in church but to engage in the possibilities of adult life, both as a part of the work force and to establish a family. The confirmation aimed at establishing both a common religious knowledge and prepare the youth for central aspects of Christian practice, such as prayer, Scripture reading and the sacraments – and at the same time teach ordinary people of their duties in society and support them in the formation of their Christian faith. In support of that specific purpose, the King commissioned his court cleric, Erik Pontoppidan, to write a ‘confirmation manual’. The resulting catechism Sandhed til Gudfrygtighed from 1737 became the first authorized catechism in Denmark aimed at teaching Christianity. The aim of this paper is an examination of the catechism’s expositions of the sacraments. Specifically, the paper will offer an in-depth approach to how essential religious knowledge was combined with hands-on practical know-how, and this becomes particularly evident when addressing both meaning and participatory regulations in connection with the Lord´s supper. As a result, the paper will show how key theological terms and concepts are taught by being embedded in concrete practice as a lived theology.