The Meckhart Confession: Moderate Religion in an Age of Militancy
AuthorHough, Adam Glen
AdvisorKarant-Nunn, Susan C.
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.
EmbargoRelease after 9-Jul-2018
AbstractThis dissertation explores the formation and evolution of religious identities in the latter half of the sixteenth century, particularly as they developed in the bi-confessional imperial free city of Augsburg. Taking as its primary focus the city’s evangelical ministers, it argues that the agency of these local clerics—in both promoting and resisting the social, political, and cultural effects of confessionalization—has been underappreciated. By exploring manuscript city chronicles, interrogation transcripts, contemporary public histories, and, above all, these clerics’ own written works, this dissertation will shed light on the systemic “adversarialism” of early modern confessional identities and ideologies, as well as on those local clergy who recognized the inherent danger of allowing their society to by riven by two competing identities. The proponents of “moderation” referenced in the title of this work were those clerics who tried to keep their religion nominally ambiguous, eschewing polarizing confessional identities. In contrast, the “militants” were those who reduced complex theological and liturgical systems to the level of identity-politics. They took tragedies like war, famine, and plague, and redirected blame for these tribulations on rhetorically-constructed enemies of the faith. Principally, I have elected to focus this analysis on a family of preachers whose service to the city over three generations spans a period of nearly six decades (1528-1586)—the Meckharts. Insofar as my sources allow, I use these three men—Johann, Georg, and Johann Baptist—to provide a narrative anchor for my analysis of developments within the city respecting religious culture, community, and identity. Within this one family, we see clearly the push and pull of conflict and concord as both communities and individuals struggled to reconcile the Reformation with the emergence of confessions. In short, I argue that the real drama of confessionalization was not simply that which played out between princes and theologians, or even, for that matter, between religions; rather, it lay in the daily struggle of clerics in the proverbial trenches of their ministry, who were increasingly pressured to choose for themselves and for their congregations between doctrinal purity and civil peace.
Degree ProgramGraduate College