The Counter-Reformation in the Villages: Religion and Reform in the Bishopric of Speyer, 1560-1720

Marc R. Forster

Published by Cornell University Press, 1992
ISBN 10: 0801425662 / ISBN 13: 9780801425660
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Synopsis: Located in the middle Rhine valley, the Bishopric of Speyer was a confessionally diverse, primarily rural region dotted with villages and several small cities. In this book, Marc Forster reconstructs and analyzes the history of the Catholic Counter-Reformation there from the later sixteenth to the early eighteenth century.
Drawing on a wide variety of archival sources, including visitation reports, Cathedral Chapter minutes, and court records, he examines the impact of the reforms of the Council of Trent on Protestant/Catholic relations, on the nature of popular religion, and on the relationship between the village clergy and their parishioners. Forster demonstrates that the strong confessional loyalties that characterized the villages of the bishopric by about 1700 were rooted in communal loyalty to traditional, pre-Tridentine Catholicism, and that the episcopal hierarchy was also highly traditional and concerned primarily with local issues. As a result, Catholic authorities were reluctant to enforce "reformed" Catholicism, with its emphasis on a celibate and educated clergy and a disciplined and moral laity. This hesitant policy contrasted sharply with the determined effort of the region's Calvinist rulers to suppress traditional religious practices.
Forster stresses the tenacity of traditional religiosity and suggests that the confessional loyalties dividing village from village in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Speyer were the result not of state building or a conscious policy of "confessionalization" but of the local population's attachment to long-standing religious practices. A social history that will interest students of religion, village life, popular culture and the development of local elites, his book is an important contribution to one of the most active areas in Reformation and early modern history.

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Title: The Counter-Reformation in the Villages: ...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 1992
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1.

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Forster, Marc R.
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ISBN 10: 0801425662 ISBN 13: 9780801425660
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Forster, Marc R.
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Marc R. Forster
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