Pestilence and Reformation: Catholic preaching and a recurring crisis in sixteenth-century Germany
AuthorFrymire, John Marshall
AdvisorOberman, Heiko 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.
AbstractThis study examines some of the plague sermons of German Catholic preachers during the sixteenth century, the era of the Reformation. It takes the question, "What was preached?" and applies it to a hitherto neglected genre of sources to investigate how Catholic preachers responded to a recurring, pre-Reformation crisis---plague---and how they interpreted that crisis during an era of revolutionary religious change. Special attention is given to the themes of astrology and the causes of plague, interpretations of epidemic disease in terms of divine wrath, plague prevention and social discipline. By comparing some of the Catholic plague sermons with those of their Protestant counterparts, similarities emerge to reveal a shared "Catholic" tradition, just as differences become apparent that reflect many of the debates between the confessions in sixteenth-century Germany. The theme of Catholic preaching and the German Reformation itself, however, has received little attention in the field, despite the fact that scholars have begun to devote much research and exposition to Protestant sermons during the period. Contrary to common opinion--that Catholics failed to measure up to their evangelical counterparts in the pulpits--this study also sketches some of the contours of Catholic preaching during the first three decades of the Reformation: major preachers, the sources, and some of the themes they emphasized. Conceived as both a thesis and as an outline for further research, it is argued here that the Catholic response from the pulpits was of greater scope and higher quality than has hitherto been assumed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College