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Seminar Group 'Katharina Schütz Zell'

CaSeminars take place weekly on Thursdays from 10-11 am in S1.69 (starting in week 1)

Tutor: Beat (email)
Members: Adam, Calum, Claudia, Daniel, Desiree, Gregory, Jacob, Jess, Kevin, Kieran, Liv, Morgan, Neal, Tom H., Tom M., Will
Access to Module Forum and Seminar Resources 

Summer week 2 [NB: no classes in week 1, as term starts on Wednesday!] - Conclusion
  • Last lecture on Tuesday 30 April, 2-3, exceptionally in H5.45 ! Seminars at normal times & in normal venues but please bring a device with web access
  • In our final class we will try to put all the pieces together, to look back over the whole module and to refresh our memories of the main sections.
  • Please post a c. 100 word FORUM contribution on one or more of the following questions: Was the Reformation inevitable? What were the core messages? How did Church and Empire change in the 16th century? Could the Reformation be termed a 'success'? Did it sow the seeds of religious tolerance? How do historians try to make sense of the events and processes of the sixteenth century?
  • Priority reading: H. Hillerbrand, ‘Was there a Reformation in the sixteenth century?’, in Church History 72 (2003) & one of the week's e-resources
[Have a good and productive vacation !]
Spring week 10 - Charles V, a failure?
Could the Holy Roman Emperor have stopped the Reformation; why did Charles V abdicate; was he simply not up to the job? We will explore such questions through a debate:
  • Yes, Charles V should be seen as a failure (side to be taken by those of you with surnames beginning A-L);
  • No, Charles V was a successful ruler (surnames M-Z);
  • In preparation, consider the portraits on the seminar page, read W. Blockmans, Emperor Charles V: 1500-1558 (2002), esp. ch. 7: ' The image in balance', and look at further suggested priority readings.
Spring week 9 - Confessional Identities
From the second quarter of the sixteenth century, the various religious denominations strove for closer definition of their beliefs/rituals/lifestyles and attempted to forge homogeneous bodies of followers; which tools were applied and to what extent did distinct confessional identities emerge within the population at large? In preparation, can you please read:
  • the extracts from Martin Luther's problematic late work On the Jews and their Lies (1543) [all]
  • Marc R. Forster's book on Catholic Revival [task for those of you whose surnames begin with A-H]
  • Bridget Heal's essay on 'Art and Identity' [surnames K-R]
  • Wolfgang Reinhard's essay on 'Pressures towards Confessionalization?' [for those with surnames beginning with S-Z; there are several copies of this collection in the UL but please do not take them out and re-shelf the book after use]
How could theological ideas be transformed into a new ecclesiastical structure? Which roles did the secular authorities play in this process? What kinds of instruments helped Church leaders and princes to move from late medieval Catholicism to Lutheran regimes? To get a flavour for the types of sources documenting these efforts and to bring in a variety of scholarly perspectives please:
  • take a close look at Luther's Small Catechism of 1529 (and, ideally, the other primary materials accessible from the seminar page)
  • read at least one of the following secondary texts (as assigned in the seminar or by email):

W. Bradford Smith, Reformation and the German Territorial State: Upper Franconia 1300-1630 (2008)
T. A. Brady, The Politics of the Reformation in Germany (1997)
R. Cahill, Philipp of Hesse and the Reformation (2002)
C. S. Dixon,The Reformation and Rural Society (1994)
" , L. Schorn-Schütte (eds), The Protestant Clergy of Early Modern Europe (2003) [esp. essay by Goodale]
H. Grimm, Lazarus Spengler: A Lay Leader of the Reformation (1978)
S. H. Hendrix, ‘Loyalty, piety or opportunism: German princes and the Reformation’, J. Interdisc. H. 25 (1994)
H. Schilling, ‘Confessionalization’, in his: Religion, Political Culture and the Emergence of Early Modern Society (1992)
R. W. Scribner, ‘Politics and the institutionalisation of reform in Germany’, in New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 2, ed. G. R. Elton (1990 edn only)

Spring week 7 - Debate
  • Proposition: 'The Reformation enhanced the position of women in German society'
  • Please prepare for your assigned stand by looking through the seminar materials, esp.
    • Primary sources: Luther on Women and the female voices of Grumbach, Pirckheimer and Schütz Zell
    • Secondary works: upbeat assessment in Ozment, When Fathers Ruled compared to critical views expressed by Karant-Nunn or Roper and consult general gender surveys by Stjerna or Wiesner
  • Upload your best arguments and evidence onto the respective thread in our module forum
Spring week 6 - Reading Week (please make headway on your long essays, with consideration of the points / resources covered in week 2 below, and - if you haven't done so already - submit your formative review)
Why did imperial free cities (not) change their religion, how could the urban Church be reformed and what were the implications? To discuss such questions, please read:
  • Peter Blickle, The Communal Reformation: The Quest for Salvation in 16thC Germany (Atlantic Highlands, 1992), esp. ch. 3: 'Burghers' Reformation', 63-97
  • R.W. Scribner, 'Why was there no Reformation in Cologne?', in: Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 49 (1976), 117-41
  • ... and, for constitutional / visual / geographical contextualization, browse the e-resources listed on the seminar page
Please remember that the second short (review) assignment is due this week.
Spring week 4 - The Kingdom of Münster
What was important for the 'radical' reformers of the early 16thC? Why did the Lutheran / Zwinglian approaches seem wanting to them? How could they survive in the face of ferocious persecution? How 'typical' was the Münster experience?
  • The primary source we will be discussing is 'The Schleitheim Confession' of the Swiss Brethren (1527) - how did their beliefs / practices differ from the mainstream Protestants? What was important to Anabaptists?
  • Choose one item from the priority / further reading on the seminar page and upload a 150-word review to the FORUM
Spring week 3 - The Peasants' War
This seminar focuses on the impact of the Reformation in rural settings, both in terms of lay expectations / responses to the religious changes and their (contested) influence on the massive rising in the mid-1520s. In preparation, please read:
  • The Wendelstein Church Ordinances of 1524 (providing us with insights into the reception of evangelical doctrines in a Franconian village)
  • The Twelve Articles of the Upper Swabian Peasants (late February 1525)
  • One secondary literature item from the priority readings on the seminar webpage to feed into our discussions
Spring Week 2 - Essay-writing
Both lecture and seminar are intended to support the writing of extended essays. We will explore the wide range of available resoures (in the lecture slot) and talk about the nitty-gritty of planning, researching a 4.5K piece (in the seminar). Please prepare by settling on a topic and starting / continuing your reading for it. Another related task is the next short assignment, taking the form of a book review, due in week 5 of the Spring Term. This will help you to critically assess existing scholarship, so choose a title which relates to your essay or anticipated exam topic. Elsewhere on the site, we have a general guide to reviewing.
Spring Week 1 - The Reformed
This seminar will focus on the doctrines / organization of the Zwinglian movement emanating from Zurich in the Swiss Confederation (which, together with Calvinism based in Geneva, formed the 'Reformed' confession) and the differences compared to the 'Lutheran' ideas we examined so far in Germany. In preparation, please read:
Autumn Week 10 - no classes; please think about long essay topics: suggested titles appear on each seminar page; do let me know if I can help to firm up ideas or identify materials. Use the vacation to get some key reading done.
Autumn Week 9 - Communication and Media
This week we are discussing ways, means and obstacles for the dissemination of knowledge about the new evangelical teachings.
  • Find a woodcut illustration, preferably from the large edition The Single-Leaf Woodcut, ed. Strauss in the UL, any general book on the German Reformation or by browsing our digital resources; consider its message, method, likely impact and be prepared to share your thoughts briefly with the group;
  • Read Bernd Moeller's essay 'What was preached in German towns in the early Reformation?', in: Scott Dixon (ed.), The German Reformation: The Essential Readings (Oxford, 1999), 33-52, as a starting-point to think about the role of sermons and instruction from the pulpit.
Autumn Week 8 - Luther's Message
The focus of this seminar will be on the core Lutheran doctrines and the ways in which they diverged from the medieval Catholic tradition. In preparation, please familiarize yourselves with the outline provided in:
  • A. E. McGrath, Reformation Thought (fourth edn 2012 or earlier versions)
  • To get a flavour of Luther's language, style and arguments also look at one of the key 1520s tracts ('Address to the Nobility', 'Babylonian Captivity', 'Freedom of a Christian'), ideally in the translations in the American Works edn (UL classmark: BR 330.E6) or an online version (through our digital resources page)
Also, please remember that the first 2K short essay is due at the end of this week; submit via Tabula, complete with footnotes and bibliography of (primary / secondary) works consulted.
Autumn Week 7 - Luther: Man & Myth
We will discuss the personality, life story, achievements/challenges and overall assessment of Martin Luther
  • Priority reading: Ulinka Rublack, Reformation Europe (Cambridge, 2005), ch. 1: 'Martin' Luther's Truth', pp. 12-64
  • Those wishing to go deeper should tackle a Luther biography, e.g. the work by Bainton, Brecht, Kittelson, Mullett, Roper ..., and delve into the multi-volume edition of Luther's Works in the UL (see also our digital resources page for samples / further scholarship)
  • Before the seminar, post a c. 100 word-statement on the question of Luther's 'greatness' on the module forum
Reading Week - please use this time to prepare for the formative and long essays (due in week 8 of the Autumn and week 10 of the Spring terms respectively)
Autumn Week 5 - A Church in Decline?
This seminar will take the form of a debate between two prominent scholarly positions:
  • 'The late medieval Church was a vibrant and powerful institution' (Calum, Claudia, Daniel, Jacob, Jess, Kieran, Olivia, Thomas H.)
  • 'The late medieval Church underwent terminal decline' (Adam, Gregory, Kevin, Morgan, Neal, Thomas M., Will)
Go through the reading and sources of the last few weeks, compiling arguments for your respective positions - for once, be one-sided and partisan. Try to muster 'proof' (using pamphlets, quantitative evidence, scholarly verdicts) rather than just relying on impressions. You will have some time at the beginning of the class to prepare an effective opening statement.
All please read the follosing primary source:
  • Johannes Geiler von Keysersberg, 'Sermon on the Ants' (March 20, 1508) - work of a noted Strasbourg preacher
In addition, we have four expert groups leading on one thematic aspect (you will have some time at the beginning of the class to gather your ideas gathered from the suggested reading into a joint presentation):
  • Adam, Morgan, Tom M., Will - parish-focused religion (e.g. masses/sacraments, rites of passage, church building, pious bequests ...): Blickle, 'Peasant Piety'; Kümin & Marshall, 'Church & People'; Moeller, 'Religious Life'
  • Gregory, Kevin, Kieran - extra-parochial spirituality (e.g. Devotio Moderna, pilgrimages ...): Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418); Soergel, 'Pilgrimages'; Zika, 'Pilgrimages'
  • Daniel, Jacob, Neal, Olivia - Humanism (represented by protagonists like Erasmus, Reuchlin ...): works by Bernstein, Brann, Spitz, Overfield
  • Calum, Claudia, Jess, Thomas H. - unorthodox and magical practices (Hussites, pagan beliefs, witchcraft ...): Scribner, Popular Culture, chs. 1-2, and works by Fudge and Gurevich
  • One focal point of the discussions will be the 'The Statement of Grievances presented to the Diet of Worms in 1521', in: G. Strauss (ed.), Manifestations of Discontent in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation (Bloomington, 1971), 52-63, to be considered alongside the socio-economic passages of the 'Reformatio' examined last week;
  • To help us determine the respective fortunes of the peasantry, town burghers and other social groups, we'll also draw on the specialized literature listed on the seminar page. Try to report what light these works shed on the seminar questions relating to agrarian developments, the experience of living in towns and how 'hard' late medieval life was in the Holy Roman Empire. Can we divide the works up as follows (please do not take these items out of the library):
    • Abel, Fluctuations: Adam, Brian
    • Eisenstein, Printing Revolution: Calum, Claudia
    • Du Boulay, Germany: Daniel, Gregory
    • Kümin, 'German village', with associated bibliography: Jacob, Jess
    • Rösener, Peasants: Kieran, Liv
    • Scott, Society and Economy: Morgan, Neal
    • Scribner (ed.), Economic History: Tom H., Will
    • Strauss (ed.), Pre-Reformation Germany: Tom M.


Autumn Week 2 - Politics & Tensions

Our discussions will revolve around these three aspects:
  • The concerns and proposals expressed in the Reformatio Sigismundi', a tract written in the 1430s and edited in: G. Strauss (ed.), Manifestations of Discontent in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation (Bloomington, 1971), 3-31
  • The survey of conditions in the Holy Roman Empire during the late Middle Ages provided by M. Hughes, Early Modern Germany 1477-1806 (Basingstoke, 1992), ch. 2: Germany on the Eve of the Reformation
  • The Reformation-related books you found in the Library; please select one each, either a title from the seminar bibliography or any other interesting text you found nearby on the shelves, and prepare a 1-minute summary of theme and coverage

Autumn Week 1 - Introduction and Organization [click on title for access to seminar materials]

  • Welcome to the seminars - please prepare for the first session by reading the following general survey article: