Honor your fathers: The emergence of a patriarchal ideology in early modern Germany.
AuthorBast, Robert James.
KeywordsPaternalism -- Germany.
Committee ChairOberman, Heiko A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHow did the domestic, ecclesiological and political treatises of the early modern era come to be dominated by the language of paternal authority? Hitherto scholars have attributed this phenomenon to Protestantism, characterized by married clerics dependent on the protection of governing powers. That view is challenged by a broad survey of catechetical literature, sermons, and government ordinances in Germany from the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. Already in the thirteenth century, clerics were showing new interest in defining standards of conduct for the laity through the Ten Commandments. A narrow reading of the fourth commandment--Honor your Father and your Mother--came to serve as the rubric under which reformers in each subsequent age and all major confessions worked to shore up the authority of male leadership in the household, the Church, and the body politic. Priests and preachers promoted this program as an antidote to the turmoil caused by the plagues, war, rebellions and movements of reform that mark the end of feudal Europe. Though the program left its traces on each institution it was intended to shape, in the latter half of the sixteenth century it scored its most spectacular success: Protestant and Catholic rulers made the model of the disciplining father their own.