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Archeologies of Confession: Writing the German Reformation, 1517-2017

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Volume 16

Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association

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Archeologies of Confession

Writing the German Reformation, 1517-2017

Edited by Carina L. Johnson, David M. Luebke, Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer, and Jesse Spohnholz

352 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-540-2 $179.00/£132.00 Hb Published (May 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78920-496-4 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (June 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78533-541-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…a valuable collection through and through.” • Historische Zeitschrift

“As a group, the essays take up a variety of our predecessors and are carefully researched and argued.  There is not a weak link among them.” • German History

“This is a wide-ranging collection which raises some challenging questions for historians about the reliability of earlier scholarship. Two key issues emerge: the danger of assuming a confessional clarity and separation in the early years of the Reformation (or even later) which did not actually come into being until later, and the need to check even accepted narratives of identity formation against archival material. The points are well made and the examples adduced are convincing evidence for this double need.” • The English Historical Review

“This impressive collection of essays deals effectively with the question of confessional histories, offering a convincing evaluation of how the events of the Reformation were regarded and interpreted by contemporaries as well as later generations.” • Andrew Spicer, Oxford Brookes University

Archeologies of Confession comprises a fascinating series of original and stimulating essays. It will be invaluable for scholars of the Reformation and of German religious history more broadly.” • Joachim Whaley, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge


Modern religious identities are rooted in collective memories that are constantly made and remade across generations. How do these mutations of memory distort our picture of historical change and the ways that historical actors perceive it? Can one give voice to those whom history has forgotten? The essays collected here examine the formation of religious identities during the Reformation in Germany through case studies of remembering and forgetting—instances in which patterns and practices of religious plurality were excised from historical memory. By tracing their ramifications through the centuries, Archeologies of Confession carefully reconstructs the often surprising histories of plurality that have otherwise been lost or obscured.

Carina L. Johnson is Professor of History at Pitzer College and serves as extended faculty at Claremont Graduate University. She specializes in the cultural history of the sixteenth-century Habsburg Empire, particularly in relation to the extra-European world. Her publications include Cultural Hierarchy in Sixteenth-Century Europe: The Ottomans and Mexicans (2011).

David M. Luebke is Professor of History at the University of Oregon and has specialized in the history of social protest movements in early modern Germany as well as the formation of religious denominations during and after the Protestant Reformation. His publications include Hometown Religion: Regimes of Coexistence in Early Modern Westphalia (2016) and, as co-editor, the Spektrum volumes Conversion and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Germany (2012) and Mixed Matches: Transgressive Unions in Germany from the Reformation to the Enlightenment (2014).

Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer is the Susan C. Karant-Nunn Chair for Reformation and Early Modern European History in the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies at the University of Arizona. Her publications include From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife: Clerical Marriage and the Process of Reform in the Early German Reformation (2012), She is co-editor of Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany: Essays in Honor of H. C. Erik Midelfort (2009), Names and Naming in Early Modern Germany (2019), and Topographies of Tolerance and Intolerance: Responses to Religious Pluralism in Reformation Europe (2018).

Jesse Spohnholz is Professor of History at Washington State University. His research focuses on confessional coexistence, religious exile, gender, and memory of the Reformation  in the early modern Netherlands and northwest Germany. His books include The Tactics of Toleration: A Refugee Community in the Age of Religious Wars (2011) and The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition (2017).

Subject: Early Modern History Religion
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Reformations Lost and Found
Carina L. Johnson


Chapter 1. Misremembering Hybridity: The Myth of Goldenstedt
David M. Luebke

Chapter 2. A Luther for Everyone: Irenicism and Orthodoxy at the German Reformation Anniversaries of 1817
Stan Landry

Chapter 3. Challenging Plurality: Wilhelm Horning and the Histories of Alsatian Lutheranism
Anthony J. Steinhoff

Chapter 4. Confessional Histories of Women and the Reformation from the Eightteenth to the Twenty-First Century
Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Chapter 5. Catholics as Foreign Bodies: The County of Mark as a Protestant Territory in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Prussian Historiography
Ralf-Peter Fuchs


Chapter 6. A Catholic Genealogy of Protestant Reason
Richard Schaefer

Chapter 7. Fighting or Fostering Plurality? Ernst Salomon Cyprian as a Historian of Lutheranism in the Early Eighteenth Century
Alexander Schunka

Chapter 8. Heresy and the Protestant Enlightenment: Johann Lorenz von Mosheim’s History of Michael Servetus
Michael Printy

Chapter 9. The Great Fire of 1711: Reconceptualizing the Jewish Ghetto and Jewish-Christian Relations in Early Modern Frankfurt am Main
Dean Phillip Bell


Chapter 10. The Early Roots of Confessional Memory. Martin Luther Burns the Papal Bull on 10 December 1520
Natalie Krentz

Chapter 11. Early Modern German Historians Confront the Reformation’s First Executions
Robert Christman

Chapter 12. Prison Tales: The Miraculous Escape of Stephen Agricola and the Creation of Lutheran Heroes during the Sixteenth Century
Marjorie E. Plummer

Chapter 13. Invented Memories: The ‘Convent of Wesel’ and the Origins of German and Dutch Calvinism
Jesse Spohnholz


Chapter 14. ‘Our Misfortune’: National Unity versus Religious Plurality in the Making of Modern Germany
Thomas A. Brady, Jr.


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