Making Catholicism Cosmopolitan: Italy and the Transformation of Central Europe


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Making Catholicism Cosmopolitan: Italy and the Transformation of Central Europe
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Louthan, Howard
Louthan, Howard
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1 Making Catholicism Cosmopolitan: Italy and the Transformation of Central Europe Howard Louthan, ACLS Fellowship 2007 Project Overview act of defiance triggered a great seemed assuredly Protestant as the new believers were poised to gain a majority with the electoral college. Many of the Swiss cantons were in full revolt. In Bohemia Catholics may have constituted only ten percent of the populace. The church had become a minority religion in Poland while to the south in Hungary the nobility warmly embraced Calvinism. Even a city such as Vienna was now decidedly Lutheran. There were of course important Catholic po ckets where the Lutheran and Calvinist onslaught had been stoutly resisted, and critical supporters such as the Habsburgs and Wittelsbachs would help the church regain its equilibrium as it steadied itself and then launched its counter offensive. But more important were changes that were transforming the nature of Catholicism itself. Back in Rome ecclesiastical leadership had finally recognized theologically. At the same time the entire culture of Catholicism was changing, creatively adapting itself to a new social context. This project will consider the broad scope of this dramatic transformation that changed a faith perceived in many corners as a parochial vestige of an outdated society into a dynamic and cosmopolitan confessional culture that stretched across day Ukraine to the southern Low Countries. In the seventeenth century the results of these changes were stunning Though religious freedom was a foundational right of Polish society, a majority of the elites abandoned Protestantism and returned to Rome. Within the Empire Catholicism made equally impressive gains despite the new guarantees of Westphalia that recogn ized both Calvinism and Lutheranism. The study of the Catholic or Counter Reformation in the Central European context, however, has long been a problematic field of research. Three particular issues need to be addressed. Chronology: Scholars of the Refo rmation era have been generally slow to examine the


2 Catholic revival must trace developments from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the eighteenth. Geography: N ationalist biases have wrecked havoc with the study of the region. All too often, German and Slavic spec by setting borders that have more to do with political developments in the nineteenth and twen tieth centuries than with the cultural activity of the sixteenth and seventeenth. The challenge today is to recover the geographic diversity of Central Europe and reclaim a region ranging from Lww to Louvain where a common Catholic culture took root and flourished. Religion: Scholars have frequently reduced the story of the Reformation to a c revival must expand its religious focus and critically evaluate the complicated interplay of a multi confessional society where Calvinists and Lutherans mixed with the Orthodox, Utraquist, Unitarian, Jewish and even Muslim communities. My project is an attempt to restore unity to this fractured field of study by examining that was most critical for its ultimate success. For this undertaking I will consider five broad areas of activity where Italians played a decisive role shaping a new confessional culture north of the Alps. By working thematically, I will cut across thos e traditional linguistic, geographic, religious, and disciplinary boundaries that have long divided this area of study. Formation of Confessional Elites For generations students from Central Europe had journeyed south to attend Italian universities. With the coming of the Reformation, however, there was an important new development with these long established patterns of academic migration. Nearly all of Central eir


3 Missionary and Educational Activity a dedicated corps of missionaries who came north from Italy to help their co religionists turn back the Protestant advance. Changes within Italy in the sixteenth century brought renewal to older religious orders and led to the creation of newer ones. The Jesuits, Capuchins, Piarists and Ursulines were the most prominent of these new orders, and they brought their zeal to the task of evangelization north of the Alps. Negotiating with non Catholic Communities The Catholic advance in Central Europe has bee n frequently characterized as a simple and often violent confrontation between Protestant and Catholic. When one looks at the Central Lutherans to Utraquists, from the Orthodox to Unitarians the church throughout this period pursued a variety of strategies to bring these wayward Christians into the Catholic fold. A proper understanding of early modern Catholicism north of the Alps must take into account a full range of communities. New Patterns of Devotion and Piety As Catholicism reestablished itself in Central Europe, its growing appeal was based to a substantial degree on new and attractive forms of popular piety that were enthusiastically devotional practi ces they would frequently implement back at home. Patterns of pilgrimage, new expressions of Marian devotion, and activities of confraternities were frequently inspired by Italian examples. Art and Architecture Finally, there was the distinct aesthetic a ppeal of early modern Catholicism. Central models. Though the general contours of this aesthetic exchange are well known, more work needs to be done to trace how specific models were received and adapted north of the Alps. The Jesuit church in Rome, Il Ges, was the basis for many houses of worship that were constructed across Central Europe. By focusing on one such example, we can move beyond some long


4 accepted generalizations and work towards a more detailed understanding of how Italian influence shaped and molded Central European confessional sensibilities. Summary and Schedule This broad and ambitious undertaking consciously cuts across traditional chronologi cal, disciplinary and geographic divisions as I rethink the very nature of Central Europe in the early modern period. Ranging from art history to history of science, I will be covering a wide spectrum of activity to track the development of a common relig ious culture that crossed artificial geographic divisions that too frequently still define scholarship today. My early scholarly work has prepared me for this more adventurous project. My first book focused on the transnational religious culture of late s ixteenth century Austria. Since then, I have a spent a number of years working in the archives and libraries of Germany, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic as I have examined the Catholic resurgence of this region. Most recently, I have reached the f inal stages of a related project on the Bohemian lands and the cosmopolitan nature of its Counter Reformation. In the past six years I have co organized three international conferences that have been designed to bring scholars from a variety of disciplin es together in an effort to present a more unified picture of the religious world of premodern Europe. One volume has recently been published ( Conciliation and Confession ) while the other two are in preparation. I am now ready for this broad assessment of Central Europe, but to complete the research I must consider the Italian perspective. I plan to work in Rome where an extended stay would enable me to use the Vatican Library, the Biblioteca Angelica, the Propagande Fide Archives, the Archivum Romanum So cietatis Jesu (ARSI) and a number of other critical collections in the city. An academic year in Rome would complement my work in Central European archives and complete my primary research. Select Bibliography Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man who Knew Everything ed. Paula Findlen, New York, 2004. Baroko v Itlii ed. V. Herold, Prague, 2003. Bireley, Robert. The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450 1700 Washington, D.C., 1999.


5 Black, Christopher. Italian Confraternities in the Sixtee nth Century Cambridge, 1989. Religious Orders of the Catholic Reformation ed. R.L. DeMolen, New York, 1994, 98 136. Cantimori, Delio. Eretici italiani del Cinquencento Florence, 1967. Chipps Sm ith, Jeffrey. Sensuous worship: Jesuits and the Art of the early Catholic Reformation in Germany Princeton, 2002. Delumeau, Jean. Rassurer et protger : Paris, 1989. Ditchfield, Simon. Liturgy, Sancti ty and History in Tridentine Italy Cambridge, 1995. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 47 (1996), 98 112. Evans, R.J.W. The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1550 1700 Oxford, 1979. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 43 (1994), 269 96. Gudziak, Borys. Crisis and R efor m: the Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarchate of Const antinople, the Genesis of the Union of Brest Cambridge, 1998. Hellyer, Marcus. Catholic Physics : Jesuit Natural Philosophy in Early Modern Germany Notre Dame, 2005. Hsia, R. Po Chia. The World of Catholic Renewal 1540 1770 Cambridge, 1998. Italia e Boe mi a nella cornice del Rinascimento Europeo ed. Sante Graciotti, Florence, 1999. Jedin, Hubert. Geschichte des Konzils von Trient Freiburg, 1950. The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences and the Arts, 1540 1773 The Jesuits II : Cu ltures, Sciences and the Arts, 1540 1773 Kaufmann, Thomas. Court Cloister and City: The Art and Culture of Central Europe, 1450 1800 Chicago, 1995. Kloczowski, Jerzy. A History of Polish Christianity Cambridge, 2000. Kr oess, Alois. Geschichte der Bhmischen Provinz der Gesellschaft Jesu Vienna, 1910. Valerian Magni, 1586 Ecclesiastical History 55 (2004), 681 699. Ma 1700) Prague, 2004. vol. 2. Turin, 1974, 975 1079. The First Jesuits Cambridge, 1993. Plokhii, S. P apstvo i Ukraina Kiev, 1989. Prtner, Regina. The Counter Reformation in Central Europe Oxford, 2001. Hungary, 1600 rth Carolina, 1990. Sallmann, Jean Michel. Naples et ses saints l'ge baroque : 1540 1750 Paris. 1994. century religious history: the post Journal of Modern History 61 (1989) 269 284. Quaderni Storici 20 (1985), 181 223. (Opole, 1948).


6 Winkelbauer, T homas. sterreichische Geschichte, 1522 1699: Stndefreiheit und Frstenmacht 2 vols. Vienna, 2003. Wojtyska, Henry Damien. Cardinal Hosius Legate to the Council of Trent Rome, 1967. PUBLICATION LIST BOOKS AND MONOGRAPHS Conciliation and Confession: T he Struggle for Unity in the Age of Reform, 1415 1648 ed. Howard Louthan and Randall Zachman, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004. (vi, 298 pp.) John Comenius: The Labyrinth of the World Classics of Western Spirituality, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, with Andrea Sterk, 1998. (x, 250 pp.) The Quest for Compromise: Peacemakers in Counter Reformation Vienna Studies in Early Modern History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. (xvi, 185 pp.) Reforming a Counter Reform Court: Johannis Crato and the Austrian Habsburgs Studies in Reformed History and Theology, Princeton, vol. 2, no. 3, 1994. (vii, 44 pp.) ARTICLES/REVIEW ARTICLES Embodiments of Power: Baroque Citi es in Early Modern Europe ed. G. Cohen, New York: Berghahn Books, forthcoming. Early Modern Europe: From Crisis to Stability eds. P. Benedict and M. Gutman, Newark: University of De laware Press, 2005, 52 79. (28 pp.) in Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe eds. Will Coster and Andrew Spicer, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 282 30 1. (20 pp.) Mediating Confessions in Central Europe: The Ecumenical Activity of Valerian Magni (1588 1661) Journal of Ecclesiastical History 55 (2004), 681 699. (19 pp.) From Rudolfine Prague to Vasa Poland: Valerian Magni and the Twilight of Irenicism in Central Europe Conciliation and Confession ed. Howard Louthan and Randall


7 Zachman, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004, 199 227. (29 pp.) Europe 1450 to 1789: Encycl opedia of the Early Modern World vol. 1, (New 80. (6 pp.) Acta Comeniana 17 (2003), 274 278. (5 pp.) Catholicism and Austrian Culture ed. Ritchie Robinson and Judith Benniston, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1999, 3 15. (13 pp.) Acta Comeniana 13 (1999), 165 178. (14 pp.) Mitteleuropa ed. Manfred Lechner and Dietmar Seiler, Vienna, 1999, 250 254. (5 pp.) of the Labyrinth Bulletin de la Socit canadienne 6 (1998), 15 24. (10 pp.) The Labyrinth of the World in Light of his Subsequent Kosma s: Czechoslovak and Central European Journal 12 (1996), 100 119. (20 pp.) The Journal of Unconventional History 5 (1994), 43 57. (15 pp.) Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 23 (1992), 101 110. (10 pp.) Over thirty book reviews