Introducing: Cultures of Lutheranism

by the Past & Present editorial team

Five hundred years ago today Martin Luther nailed a handwritten pamphlet to a church door in small university town in central Germany and kick started a chain of events that led inexorably to major cultural, social and arguably economic change. To mark this major anniversary, Past & Present is delighted to present the full details of its 2017 thematic supplementary issue Cultures of Lutheranism: Reformation Repertories in Early Modern Germany.

Cover image copyright Oxford University Press 2017, all rights reserved

Edited by Birkbeck’s Kat Hill, Past & Present’s latest Supplement offers a new cultural interpretation of the Lutheran Reformation in early modern Germany. It offers a collaborative account of the Reformation as a cultural event, and interrogates what Lutheran culture meant and how Lutherans were made.

It goes beyond an account of theological arguments, confessional controversies, and ecclesiastical institutions, to consider how Lutheran culture remoulded men and women’s experiences and forged new identities, and how the Lutheran Reformation transformed individual subjectivity. All the contributors explore the cultural repertoires offer by Lutheranism and available to individuals as they sought to negotiate the world of theology, sex and family, the past and future, or everyday experiences.

Focusing on these repertoires in a variety of German contexts, the contributors explore how Lutheranism shaped new attitudes to the body; the ways in which Lutheran ideas and practices could affect emotions and the senses; how Lutheran ideas and practices produced new material cultures; how Lutherans used and shared spaces and co-existed with other confessional groups; and the importance of memory providence and history. They examine cultural practices without neglecting the role of theology and ideas, and they also examine the diversity of reformation movements and shared contexts.

They move beyond cultural histories which have focused on the “high culture” of confessions, and examine a catalogue of repertories whilst acknowledging that men and women deployed such repertories in a variety of ways. They also provide a model for change by understanding how cultural options were used altered and transformed.

Cultures of Lutheranism: Reformation Repertories in Early Modern Germany” is due to be released by our publishers Oxford University Press in November 2017. Hard and electronic copies can be ordered through their website. 

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