Managing religious diversity in post-Reformation German cities (completed)

Maximilian Scholz


In the seventeenth century, the Lutheran theological faculties at Jena, Leipzig and Wittenberg issued theological advice (Gutachten) regarding the proper treatment of Catholics, Jews and Muslims in Lutheran lands. The theological advice came as a response to questions about everyday life posed by pious Lutherans. Under what circumstances is it permissible to bury a Catholic in a Lutheran churchyard? How should a good Protestant merchant behave while visiting a Muslim country? How should Protestants treat Jews? My historical research examines the answers issued to such questions in order to understand the posture of German cities towards Catholics, Jews and Muslims in the centuries after the Reformation.

Theological Gutachten present an ideal source base for a historical investigation of the interplay between German theology and Protestant–Catholic, Protestant–Jewish and Protestant–Muslim relationships in German territories and cities. Princes and city councils struggling with issues of religious diversity and religious boundaries specifically sought out the faculties at Jena, Leipzig and Wittenberg for their advice. Religious boundaries were paramount in the thinking of German rulers in the seventeenth century, and my project opens a window on to the construction of such religious boundaries.

 

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