Cultural Impact of the Reformation: Section I.1: Abstracts

Thomas Töpfer (Leipzig, Germany)

The Construction of Protestant Educational Dominance in German-speaking Regions from the 16th Century up to now

The close connection between Protestantism and education is still almost a standardised answer to the question of the cultural impact of the Reformation. Not least, the Reformation Decade emphasised this link once again in its theme year ›Reformation and Education‹ in 2010 on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Philipp Melanchthon, but avoided as far as possible a confessional antagonistic interpretation. This contribution aims to show that from the beginning, the educational historical efficacy of Protestantism was connected to a particularly anti-Catholic discourse of dominance which can be observed in its effects even today. Beginning from the time of the Reformation and continuing to the present, this paper looks at the genesis of this discourse – originating in the 16th century as competing confessional concepts of education developed, prospering in the 18th century (interpreted as part of the Enlightenment process), and becoming highly influential in the 19th and 20th centuries by means of the term ›Bildung‹ (education) within the ›Kulturprotestantismus‹ (Culture-Protestantism).


Klaus-Dieter Beims (Plochingen, Germany)

Scholars in Wittenberg. Their Lives, Careers and Biographic Representations

In the beginning of the 17th century, the Calvinistic historian M. Adam from Heidelberg published about 90 biographies of 16th century scholars and scientists in Wittenberg. Using representative examples, their education, lives and career steps are outlined: what kind of career and/or social working areas had they been qualified for with their education in Wittenberg? How did a typical professor’s career evolve?

Besides that, fundamental aspects of the biographic representation of these scholars and scientists from Wittenberg are highlighted, for example the selection and the handling of different biographical information, as well as the constructive character of the biographies.


Daniel Bohnert (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)

Ordination and Examination during Lutheran Restauration from 1591/92 to around 1600. Theology as a Best Seller

The theology of the Reformation and its ideas of education circulated not only in the heartland of the Reformation, but were also exported to other Protestant territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire. The trans-territorial relevance of the University of Wittenberg (i. e. Leucorea) can be identified by its outstanding role as an institution for the education of functionaries of the church. In the 16th century, the Leucorea was already responsible for thousands of examinations and ordinations of church functionaries, and it could rightly be called the leading ›university of ordination‹ for Protestant territories and cities. This contribution focuses on ordination and examination in the time of the so-called Lutheran Restauration from 1591/92 to around 1600.


Franz Schollmeyer (Jena, Germany)

Lutheran Pamphlets about the Book of Concord

Jacob Andreä tried to unify the different Lutheran streams and to end the inner-Protestant conflicts which flamed up after the death of Martin Luther and the Augsburg Interim. The Formula of Concord from 1577, and the Book of Concord from 1580, could be seen as the most visible expressions of these efforts. In his thesis, Franz Schollmeyer discovers the literary strategies which were used by the authors of the Lutheran pamphlets either pro or contra the unification to discredit theological opponents, present their own position as the only true one and win over the public. Among others, texts written between 1568 and 1600 by Christoph Irenäus, Johannes Wigand, Nikolaus Selnecker, Jacob Andreä, Johann Habermann and Caspar Füger will be examined as well as some anonymous texts.


Jonathan Reinert (Jena, Germany)

Lutheran Passion of Christ Sermons in the 16th Century

Since Martin Luther, the ›Postil‹ in which the pericopes were interpreted along the liturgical year became an independent literary genre. Postils were then used for preachers’ education and instruction as well as for that of teachers and patres familias. They proved to be an excellent medium for the transfer of religious and other ideas. In his thesis, Jonathan Reinert scrutinizes the interpretation of Jesus Christ’s passion and death in the postils written by Luther, as well as those written by other theologians of his tradition (e. g. Johann Spangenberg, Johannes Wigand, Christoph Vischer). In addition, the literary reactions to stimuli and receptions of Luther’s ideas made by authors of postils of the Roman church (e. g. Friedrich Nausea, Johann Wild, Michael Helding) are examined.


Jan-Andrea Bernhard (Strada i. O. and Zurich, Switzerland)

Reformatory School Books (Catechisms, Abecedaria) in the Three Leagues. Relevance and Effect of the First Romansch Prints Concerning the Development of the Protestant Education System

So far, linguists have dealt with the first Romansch texts from a philological point of view, theologians have seen those early prints as part of the European history of theology, and historians have emphasised the role of the prints in the development of the Reformation in the Three Leagues.

In this contribution, the earliest almost forgotten Romansch prints (catechisms, abecedaria, etc.) will be scrutinised concerning their relevance for the development of the Protestant education system in the Three Leagues, and will be placed in a European context.


Sebastian Engelmann (Jena, Germany)

»The Position of the Human Being in the Whole Being«. Friedrich W. Dörpfeld’s Theory of Curriculum

This contribution focuses on the educator Friedrich W. Dörpfeld, who was connected to Pietism, and his theory of curriculum. Dörpfeld’s basic concept of experience-related presentation by using realia will be elaborated with respect to religious education. In the lesson, one is not meant »to make a speech about the pictures but to show the pictures.« (Dörpfeld) It will be shown that Dörpfeld substantiated the different subjects studied in an anthropological way, so that they »have to form an integrated whole, that is rooted in the position of the human being in the whole being, i.e. in its relationship to nature, to the human world and to God.« (Reble) (all quotes translated by the editor)


Norm Friesen (Boise, USA)

Luther’s »Lehrbüchlein«. Education and the Lesser Catechism

Martin Luther published both his ›greater‹ catechism for priests and his ›lesser‹ catechism for lay teachers and heads of families in 1529. The lesser catechism, widely popularized as Luther’s Haustafel, was enormously influential as a practical household code, and as Luther put it, as a »small confessional book, prayer book [and] textbook (Lehrbüchlein).« In the last of these senses, this book prefigured many elements familiar in education today, offering both a core curriculum – standardized down to the letter – and a catechetical method for its effective implementation. This presentation traces the impact of this text on later educational methods and materials, using German and American examples from the 16th to the 19th centuries.


Daniel Löffelmann (Jena, Germany)

The ›Freie Schulgemeinde‹. A 19th Century Pedagogical Concept as an Example for the Deep Impact of the Reformation

The idea of the ›freie Schulgemeinde‹ (free school-community) is a pedagogical concept which became prominent in the 19th century. F. W. Dörpfeld can be called the most well-known mastermind and advocate of this concept. The connection to the Reformation can be seen in the Reformatory (more of the Calvinistic tradition than of the Lutheran) structure of a school’s ideal organisation: While refusing a bureaucratic administration by the authorities as harmful to the school, the Presbyterian model is preferred. That means that the administration is the duty of the particular ecclesiastical or civil parish. As will be shown in this contribution, this concept of synodal ›self-government‹ is not least based on a specific idea of how and when humans learn.


Hanna Kauhaus (Jena, Germany)

The Concept of the German University – an Impact of the Reformation?

Besides Wilhelm von Humboldt, Friedrich Schleiermacher is one of the intellectual founders of the university reform in the early 19th century, which is continuing to have an effect as the ›Idee der deutschen Universität‹ (concept of the German university). By considering Schleiermacher’s text Gelegentliche Gedanken über Universitäten im deutschen Sinn (Occasional Thoughts on Universities in the German Sense) from 1808, this contribution will scrutinise whether and in what way the central ideas of this concept can be understood as a cultural impact of the Reformation. So, the presentation of Schleiermacher’s concept of university is linked with the methodological reflection on both the criteria according to which a concept or a cultural pattern can be understood as an impact of something (in particular: of the Reformation) on the one hand, and the gain in insight of such an understanding on the other hand.

Kulturelle Wirkungen der Reformation

7 to 11 August 2017

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