1st Edition

Bodies in Early Modern Religious Dissent Naked, Veiled, Vilified, Worshiped

Edited By Elisabeth Fischer, Xenia von Tippelskirch Copyright 2021
    290 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In early modern times, religious affiliation was often communicated through bodily practices. Despite various attempts at definition, these practices remained extremely fluid and lent themselves to individual appropriation and to evasion of church and state control. Because bodily practices prompted much debate, they serve as a useful starting point for examining denominational divisions, allowing scholars to explore the actions of smaller and more radical divergent groups. The focus on bodies and conflicts over bodily practices are the starting point for the contributors to this volume who depart from established national and denominational historiographies to probe the often-ambiguous phenomena occurring at the interstices of confessional boundaries. In this way, the authors examine a variety of religious living conditions, socio-cultural groups, and spiritual networks of early modern Europe and the Americas. The cases gathered here skillfully demonstrate the diverse ways in which regional and local differences affected the interpretation of bodily signs.

    This book will appeal to scholars and students of early modern Europe and the Americas, as well as those interested in religious and gender history, and the history of dissent.

    Part 1: Prologue

    1. Introduction. Corporeality and Early Modern Religious Dissent

    Xenia von Tippelskirch

    2. Body, Remember: A Plaidoyer for the History of the Body’s Expressiveness

    Gianna Pomata

    Part 2: Body and Soul

    3. "God be Praised that I did not Sweat to Death." The Power of the Body and Martin Luther’s Concept of Melancholy

    Julian Herlitze and Anne-Charlott Trepp

    4. A Pure Abode for an Unblemished Soul: Medical, Spiritual, and Political Significances of Bodily Characteristics in Johann Christian Senckenberg’s Journals

    Vera Faßhauer

    5. Bloody Bodies: Embodied Moravian Piety in Atlantic World Travel Diaries, 1735-1765

    Benjamin Pietrenka

    Part 3: Naked/Veiled

    6. "[…] that we strip them all bare and naked" (Hans Folz) — Nakedness as a Physical Practice in the Religious Dissent between Jews and Christians in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

    Robert Jütte

    7. From Quakers to Femen. Practices in Protest Nudity

    Jean-Pierre Cavaillé

    8. The Postures and Impostures of Clothing: Jean de Labadie’s Sartorial Ambiguities

    Julien Goeury

    Part 4: Bodies in the Contact Zone

    9. Contaminating Infidels, Burnt Bodies, and Saved Souls: Sodomy and Catholicism in the Early Modern Age

    Vincenzo Lavenia

    10. Like Squirrels: Religious Dissent and the Body of the "Savage" in Marie de l’Incarnation’s Writings

    Michael Leemann

    11. Corpses in the Contact Zone: Holy Bodies as Ambivalent Signifiers in the Seventeenth-Century French Canadian Missions

    Sünne Juterczenka

    Part 5: Holy Bodies

    12. Observing the Observant Self: Female Reader Portraits, Marian Imagery, and the Emergence of Skepticism in Illuminated Prayer Books and Devotional Art (ca. 1475-1566)

    Jutta Sperling

    13. Mysticism and Sanctity in the Eighteenth Century: The Stigmatized Body of Maria Columba Schonath (1730–1787), Poor Souls, and the Discernment of Spirits

    Elisabeth Fischer


    Elisabeth Fischer is an archivist at the state archive in Stuttgart, Germany. Her research interests include the history of early modern Catholicism, especially of religious orders, as well as gender and body history.

    Xenia von Tippelskirch teaches Renaissance history at Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. Her research interests include the histories of religious dissent in early modern Europe, reading, knowledge transmission, gender, and material culture.