The disastrous protestant defeat in the Schmalkaldic War (1546-47) and the promulgation of the Ausburg Interim (1548) left the fate of German Protestantism in doubt. In the wake of these events, a single protestant town, Magdeburg, offered organized, sustained resistance to Emperor Charles V's drive to consolidate Habsburg hegemony and reinstitute uniform Roman Catholic worship throughout Germany. In a flood of printed pamphlets, Magdeburg's leaders justified their refusal to surrender with forceful appeals to religious belief and German tradition. Magdeburg's resistance, interdiction and eventual siege attracted admiring attention from across Europe. The teachings developed and disseminated by Protestant thinkers in defence of the city's stance would ultimately influence political theorists in Switzerland, France, Scotland and even North America. Magdeburg's ordeal formed a signal crisis in the emergence of German Lutheran confessional identity. The Chancery of God is the first English language monograph on Magdeburg's anti-Imperial resistance and pamphlet campaign. The book offers an analysis of Magdeburg's printed output (over 200 publications) during the crucial years of 1546-51, texts which present a broad spectrum of arguments for resistance and suggest a coherent identity and worldview that is characteristically and self-consciously Protestant.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Pamphlets and policy; 'German liberty'; 'God's Word, pure and clear': the interim controversy; Urban theology and the siegeworks; Religion and the 'Magdeburg worldview'; Afterword; Bibliography; Index.
Nathan Rein is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Ursinus College, USA.
’Rein’s book is a must read for religious historians and political theorists...’ Religious Studies Review ’Overall, this is a must-read for students of German religious and political history in the mid-sixteenth century. The scope of the treatment goes well beyond the geographical or temporal limits described in the title: indeed, careful consideration of Rein’s thesis may well force scholars to rethink some of the standard approaches to the history of Confessionalization and of the origins of modern theories of political resistance.’ Catholic Historical Review ’... [Rein] has crafted a book that will be equally useful to scholars and students both as a detailed analysis of the marriage between politics and religion in the Lutheran reformation and as an insightful introduction to the broader contours of contemporary research in sixteenth-century religious history. ... This book, then, besides being a welcome contribution to specialized Reformation history, is also potentially useful in the classroom.’ Sixteenth Century Journal