1st Edition

Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany Essays in Honor of H.C. Erik Midelfort

Edited By Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer Copyright 2009

    While the assumption of a sharp distinction between learned culture and lay society has been broadly challenged over the past three decades, the question of how ideas moved and were received and transformed by diverse individuals and groups stands as a continuing challenge to social and intellectual historians, especially with the emergence and integration of the methodologies of cultural history. This collection of essays, influenced by the scholarship of H.C. Erik Midelfort, explores the new methodologies of cultural transmission in the context of early modern Germany. Bringing together articles by European and North American scholars: this volume presents studies ranging from analyses of individual worldviews and actions, influenced by classical and contemporary intellectual history, to examinations of how ideas of the Reformation and Scientific Revolution found their way into the everyday lives of Germans of all classes. Other essays examine the ways in which individual thinkers appropriated classical, medieval, and contemporary ideas of service in new contexts, discuss the means by which groups delineated social, intellectual, and religious boundaries, explore efforts to control the circulation of information, and investigate the ways in which shifting or conflicting ideas and perceptions were played out in the daily lives of persons, families, and communities. By examining the ways in which people expected ideas to influence others and the unexpected ways the ideas really spread, the volume as a whole adds significant features to our conceptual map of life in early modern Europe.

    Contents: Foreword; Introduction: witch-women and madmen: digging postholes with H.C. Erik Midelfort, Thomas A. Brady Jr; Part 1 Laity: Serfs 'are not cows or calves': Urbanus Rhegius's theological effort to legitimate unfreedom and to promote personal liberty, Peter Blickle; Layers of literacy in a 16th-century case of fraud, Helmut Graser and B. Ann Tlusty; Immigration and civic identity in 16th-century Cologne, Janis M. Gibbs; Melancholy murderers: suicide by proxy and the insanity defense, Kathy Stuart. Part 2 Clergy: Venus in Wittenburg: Cranach, Luther, and sensuality, Lyndal Roper; 'The much married Michael Kramer': evangelical clergy and bigamy in Ernestine Saxony, 1522-1542, Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer; Penance, confession, and the self in early modern Lutheranism, Thomas Robisheaux; Crime and Christianity in early sensationalism, Joy Wiltenberg. Part 3 Humanists, Doctors, and Professors: Reuchlin and the University of Tübingen, Sönke Lorenze; Welfare land: Johannes Eberlin von Günzburg and the reformation of folly, David Lederer; Alexander Seitz and the medical calling; physic, faith, and reform, Robin B. Barnes; Johannes Crato von Krafftheim (1519-1585): imperial physician, Irenicist, and anti-Paracelsian, Charles D Gunnoe Jr and Jole Shackelford; Witchcraft and the media, Wolfgang Behringer. Part 4 Jurists and Magistrates: Experiments in pain: reason and the development of judicial torture, Laura Stokes; 'Lies as truth': policing print and oral culture in the early modern city, Allyson F. Creasman; Leprosy and the defeat of diagnosis in 16th-century Germany, Mitchell Lewis Hammond; Collecting testimony and parsing texts in Zurich: documentary strategies for defending reformed identities in the Thurgau, 1600-1656, Randolph C. Head; Conclusion: the good, the bad, and the airborne: levitation and the history of the impossible in early modern Europe, Carlos M.N. Eire; Bibliography of H.C. Erik Midelfort's publications; Select bibliography; Index.


    Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer is Professor of History at Western Kentucky University, USA.

    Robin B. Barnes is Professor of History at Davidson College, USA.

    '... Erik Midelfort is one of America's premier historians. This superb Festschrift of nineteen articles by colleagues and former students explores social dimensions of the intellectual life and 'cultural margins' of German society to which he has awakened Reformation scholars over the past four decades.' Lutheran Quarterly