That All May be One? Church Unity, Luther Memory, and Ideas of the German Nation, 1817-1883
AuthorLandry, Stan Michael
AdvisorCrane, Susan A.
Committee ChairCrane, Susan A.
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractThe early nineteenth century was a period in which the German confessional divide increasingly became a national-political problem. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (1806) and the Wars of Liberation (1813-1815), Germans became consumed with how to build a nation. Religion was still a salient manifestation of German identity and difference in the nineteenth century, and the confessional divide between Catholics and Protestants remained the most significant impediment to German national unity. Bridging the confessional divide was essential to realizing national unity, but one could only address the separation of the confessions by directly confronting, or at least thinking around, memories of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. This dissertation examines how proponents of church unity used and abused memories of Luther and the Reformation to imagine German confessional and national unity from 1817 through 1883. It employs the insights and methods of collective memory research to read the sermons and speeches, pamphlets and poems, histories and hagiographies produced by ecumenical clergy and laity to commemorate Luther and the Reformation, and to understand how efforts toward church unity informed contemporary ideas of German confessional and national identity and unity.Histories of nineteenth-century German society, culture, and politics have been predicated on the ostensible strength of the confessional divide. This dissertation, however, looks at nineteenth-century German history, and the history of nineteenth-century German nationalism in particular, from an interconfessional perspective--one that acknowledges the interaction and overlapping histories of German Catholics and Protestants rather than treating each group separately. Recent histories of the relationship between German religion and nationalism have considered how confessional alterity was used to construct confessionally and racially-exclusive ideas of the German nation. This dissertation complements those histories by revealing how notions of confessional unity, rather than difference, were employed in the construction of the German nation. As such, the history of ecumenism in nineteenth-century Germany represents an alternative history of German nationalism; one that imagined a German nation through a reunion of the separated confessions, rather than on the basis of iron and blood.