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Society and Religion in Münster, 1535-1618

Society and Religion in Münster, 1535-1618

R. Po-chia Hsia
Copyright Date: 1984
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 306
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  • Book Info
    Society and Religion in Münster, 1535-1618
    Book Description:

    In the years between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, the significant urban center of Münster was profoundly shaped by the forces of religious change. Using a rich variety of Church and city sources-including necrologies, endowment records, City Council records, and Jesuit drama-R. Po-chia Hsia describes in vivid detail how the Counter-Reformation evolved in the daily life of real people.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16190-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. 1-5)

    Günther Grass’s allegorical novel,Das Treffen in Telgte, which describes the attempt to revive German letters at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, brings together most of the prominent writers of the day, who were all Protestants. Forced to convene in a desolate, war-torn little town, they scoffed at the idea of meeting in proximity to the Catholic diplomats who were haggling over the terms of peace in nearby “papist Münster.” One may be puzzled by Grass’s summoning of writers only from Protestant Germany to deliberate on the revival of German literature. The answer, however, is simple. In seventeenth...

  7. CHAPTER ONE From Occupation to the Restoration of Civic Liberties
    (pp. 6-30)

    In the night of June 24, 1535, acting on information provided by a turncoat, the troops of Bishop Franz von Waldeck stole across the moat, scaled the city wall, and overpowered the nightwatch. Before the Anabaptists in Münster discovered the surprise assault, more than five hundred episcopal soldiers had made their way into the city. Street fighting continued into the first morning hours when the Saint Ludger’s gate was thrown open and the besieging army poured in to finish off the defenders. Three hundred burghers threw up a wagon train (Wagenburg) and dug in at the main market; the rest...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Church and City
    (pp. 31-58)

    Viewed from the air, Münster resembles two concentric circles radiating out from the cathedral—the smaller one the ecclesiastical immunity, the larger, the town area which surrounded it—representing a classic development of the city which grew around an episcopal see.¹ Many ecclesiastical immunities dotted the larger urban “ring” and further carved up the spatial unity of the city of the burghers. In the sixteenth century, prior to the coming of the Jesuits, Münster accommodated within its walls a cathedral, four parish churches, two Benedictine convents, one Augustinian nunnery, four beguinages, and four male cloisters. The collegiate Church of Saint...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Ad majorem Dei gloriam
    (pp. 59-92)

    “From those who live in Münster, not a few things have been accomplished for the greater glory of God and the salvation of men.” Thus begins the 1596Litterae Annuaeof the Jesuit College in Münster.¹ Whereas in 1588 the Jesuits still complained that Catholic faith in Münster “was not pure and poisoned by the Lutherans,”² in 1596 they reported triumphantly: “How much have we strengthened the ruins of the Church in these places and restored it! Not only do we have the zeal of the young, the goodwill of all burghers towards us also grows day by day.”³ Behind...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Formation of Parties
    (pp. 93-122)

    The burghers who returned to Münster in 1535 after the suppression of the Anabaptist rebellion included those who were sympathetic to the Reformation movement before it took on a revolutionary and Anabaptist turn. Sentiments which underlay the Reformation were too strongly rooted in the discontent with the Roman Church to be immediately destroyed by the restoration of the Catholic ruling regime. After 1535, while Anabaptists were being relentlessly hunted down, burghers with Lutheran sympathies in Münster prudently kept their religious convictions to themselves. Since only Catholic worship was allowed—although the police ordinance of 1558 did not explicitly bar Protestants...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE In Defense of Civic Liberties
    (pp. 123-149)

    As early as 1580, John of Nassau, the brother of William of Orange, cautioned Münster that the United Provinces could not tolerate the election of Ernst of Bavaria to the Münster episcopal see,¹ warning of Dutch intervention should the Catholic Wittelsbach candidature be successful. In 1583, when warfare broke out over the deposition of Gebhard Truchsess, the archbishop of Cologne turned Calvinist, both Dutch and Spanish troops poured into the Rhineland and Westphalia to support their respective candidates. Ernst of Bavaria, chosen by the Catholic canons of Cologne to be their next archbishop, triumphed over Truchsess, thanks to Spanish military...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Changes in Civic Culture
    (pp. 150-176)

    It was not primarily through political pressure that the Counter-Reformation gained influence in Münster, but rather through the introduction of a new culture, through linguistic and educational innovations, through the printing press, and through assaults on traditional popular culture. The three-quarters of a century between the suppression of the Anabaptist revolt and the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, especially the forty years after the advent of the Jesuits in Münster, saw drastic and fundamental changes in the culture of Westphalia.

    At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Münster was bound by trade, marriage, population movements, language, and customs to...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN A Profile of Popular Piety
    (pp. 177-198)

    To understand the impact of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation on popular religious attitudes in the sixteenth century, we now turn to perhaps the most solemn moment in life and to records which capture, however fleetingly, the concerns and moods of that moment: death and last testament. The more than twelve hundred wills of burghers in Münster which have come down to us from the period under consideration are repositories of the wealth, kinship, love, fear, and piety of men and women caught up in a time of rapid historical change. Through these wills, we come to know our Münsteraners...

    (pp. 199-206)

    Of the complexity of changes between 1535 and 1618 there were but two essential developments: first, the conflict between city and territorial state and, closely associated with it, the tensions between different forms of religiosity; second, the gradual, but successful, implementation of the Counter-Reformation and its impact on the lives of the people.

    The half century after the defeat of the Anabaptists saw a successful accommodation between Catholics and Protestants in Münster. After 1555, Lutherans could reside (though not worship) in Münster, and even the once-feared Anabaptists (now pacifist Mennonites) were no longer hunted down. An atmosphere of religious toleration...

  15. APPENDIX ONE A Prosopography of Magistrates in Münster, 1536–1618
    (pp. 207-254)
  16. APPENDIX TWO The Jesuits in Münster, 1588–1618
    (pp. 255-260)
  17. APPENDIX THREE Benefactors of the Münster Jesuits, 1588–1618
    (pp. 261-267)
  18. APPENDIX FOUR Protestants in Münster, 1560–1620
    (pp. 268-272)
    (pp. 273-296)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 297-306)