Early Modern Catholicism and Its Historiography

Innovation, Revitalization, and Integration

in Church History and Religious Culture
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This article analyses several key developments within the recent historiography on early modern Catholicism. It charts the transformation from church history to religious history, the use of important concepts such as identity and memory, and the focus on transnational and minority Catholicism, showing that over the last couple of decades the field of early modern Catholicism has been enriched and revitalized by cultural historical methods and concepts. This change of perspective and approach caused that the study of early modern Catholicism has become less isolated and more embedded in the wider study of the early modern period in general.

Early Modern Catholicism and Its Historiography

Innovation, Revitalization, and Integration

in Church History and Religious Culture




E.g. Cecilia Cristellon“Does the priest have to be there? Contested marriages before Roman tribunals,” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften 3 (2009) 10–30.


Olwen Hufton“Faith, hope and gender. Women’s religious experiences in the early modern period,” Mélanges de l’ École française de Rome—Italie et Méditerranée modernes et contemporaines 128:2 (2016) [http://mefrim.revues.org/2673]. For a recent example see: Caroline Bowden “Patronage and practice: assessing the significance of the English convents as cultural centres in Flanders in the seventeenth century” English studies 92:5 (2011) 483–495. Female Catholic laypeople have received ample attention too. E.g. Marit Monteiro Geestelijke maagden: leven tussen klooster en wereld in Noord-Nederland gedurende de zeventiende eeuw (Hilversum 1996). Joke Spaans De levens der maechden (Hilversum 2012).


Willem Frijhoff“Van ‘histoire de l’ Eglise’ naar ‘histoire religieuse’ […],” Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis 61 (1981) 113–153.


Craig Koslofsky“Explaining change,” in Oxford handbook585–600.


E.g. Earle Havens and Elisabeth Patton“Underground networks, prisons and the circulation of Counter-Reformation books in Elizabethan England,” in Early modern English Catholicism165–188.


Geert H. Janssen“Quo vadis? Catholic perceptions of flight and the revolt of the Low Countries, 1566–1609,” Renaissance Quarterly 64:2 (2011) 472–499.


Judith Pollmann“Being Catholic in early modern Europe,” in Ashgate companion165–182.


E.g. Benjamin J. Kaplan“Integrations vs segregation: religiously mixed marriage and the ‘verzuiling’ model of Dutch society,” in Catholic communities in Protestant states: Britain and the Netherlands c. 15701720 ed. Id. et al. (Manchester 2009) 48–66. Bertrand Forclaz “The emergence of confessional identities: family relationships and religious coexistence in seventeenth-century Utrecht” in Living with religious diversity in early modern Europe ed. C. Scott Dixon et al. (Farnham 2009) 249–266. See also the PhD research undertaken by Genji Yashura Functions of toleration and delimitation of the “public”: Catholics’ tactics for survival in Utrecht 1620s–1670s (Ph.D. diss. Tilburg University forthcoming).


Liesbeth Corens“Saints beyond borders: relics and the expatriate English Catholic community,” in Exile and the formation of religious identities in the early modern worlded. Jesse Spohnholz and Gary Waite (London 2014) 25–38. James E. Kelly “Creating an English Catholic identity: relics martyrs and English women religious in Counter-Reformation Europe” in Early modern English Catholicism 41–59.


Van der SteenMemory wars291.


Van der Linden“Memorializing the Wars of Religion”. Marianne Eekhout, “Celebrating a Trojan horse. Memories of the Dutch Revolt in Breda, 1590–1650,” in Memory before modernity127–147. Walsham The Reformation of the landscape.


Alexandra Walsham“The social history of the archive: record-keeping early modern Europe,” in Social history of the archive9–48.


Liesbeth Corens“Dislocation and record-keeping: the counter-archives of the Catholic diaspora,” in Social history of the archive269–287. Also see Michael Questier’s current research project titled ‘Challoner unbound: treason politics religion and martyrdom c. 1570–c. 1745’.


Christine Kooi“Sub jugo haereticorum: minority Catholicism in early modern Europe,” in Early modern Catholicism. Essays in honour of John W. O’Malley S.J. ed. Kathleen M. Comerford and Hilmar M. Pabel (Toronto 2001) 147–162.


Ditchfield“Decentering the Catholic Reformation”201 207.

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