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The Longue Durée of German Religious Conflict?

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Abstract

Is there a longue durée of religious conflict in modern German history? Or is it rather marked by caesura of such weight that historians must emphasize the breaks and the discontinuities in conflicts between Protestants and Catholics? Recently the distinguished historian Thomas A. Brady has argued that the ‘confessional culture of public life’ formed, if in radically changed shape, ‘the most important link between early modern and modern German histories’. He sees a ‘major strand of continuity’ in the transition from ‘an era of imperial convivencia, in which the confessions bound the Christian churches into an imperial legal and political framework, promoted discipline, and habituated themselves to coexistence’, to ‘the era of confessional rivalry and competition (1815–1918), in which the religious communities... strove to maintain or even enhance their positions in conditions of rapid political and social change’. In this transition, Brady places heavy emphasis on the great secularization of church property, completing, as he writes, ‘what the Reformation had begun’, but also bringing forth a religious revival, which was at the basis of ‘a culture of confrontation and competition’ between the major confessional groups ‘that arose with a movement toward a new Germany’.1

Keywords

Territorial State German Nation Mixed Marriage Religious Revival Grand Duchy 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Thomas A. Brady, Jr., German Histories in the Age of Reformations, 1400–1650 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 409–410.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Talal Asad has insightfully written that what is missing from religious history as currently practised is a correspondingly rich history of the secular. Too often, he insists, historians of religion treat secularization as a delusional mist of modernization theory to be dispelled (Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003)).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See especially Olaf Blaschke, ed., Konfessionen im Konflikt. Deutschland zwischen 1800 und 1970: Ein zweites konfessionelles Zeitalter (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2002).Google Scholar
  4. 9.
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  6. 15.
    Samuel Pufendorf, Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion in Reference to Civil Society, ed. with an intro. by Simone Zurbuchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002), p. 17.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    This expulsion probably had the tacit agreement of Prussia and the Emperor before it commenced, see Mack Walker, The Salzburg Transaction: Expulsion and Redemption in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992)Google Scholar
  8. 22.
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  9. 23.
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    Linda Colley, Britons: Torging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 369.Google Scholar
  11. 25.
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  12. 26.
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  18. 41.
    On these bi-confessional communities, see Benjamin J. Kaplan, Divided by Faith. Religious Conflict and the Practice ofFoleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 42.
    Lucian Hölscher, Geschichte der protestantischen Frömmigkeit in Deutschland (Munich: Beck, 2005), p. 157.Google Scholar
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    CA. Bayly, Fhe Birth of the Modern World, 1780–1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2008), pp. 34–5.Google Scholar
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  22. 56.
    On rituals of confrontation, see Etienne François, Die Unsichtbare Grenze: Protestanten und Katholiken in Augsburg 1648–1806 (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke, 1991), pp. 149–53.Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    Franz Schnabel, Deutsche Geschichte im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, vol. 4 (Freiburg in Br.: Herder, 1937), p. 121.Google Scholar
  24. 70.
    Michael B. Gross, The War against Catholicism. Liberalism and the Anti-Catholic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  25. 71.
    Thomas Mergel, Zwischen Klasse und Konfession: Katholisches Bürgertum im Rheinland, 1794–1914 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1994).Google Scholar
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    Andreas Biefang, Politisches Bürgertum in Deutschland, 1857–1868: Nationale Organisationen und Eliten (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1994), p. 301.Google Scholar
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    Rebecca Ayako Bennette, Fighting for the Soul of Germany: The Catholic Struggle for Inclusion after Unification (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 78.
    On what kept Protestants and Catholics and Jews apart and together, see Helmut Walser Smith, ed., Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800–1914, (Oxford: Berg, 2002).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Helmut Walser Smith 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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