Cultural Shifts and Ritual Transformations in Reformation Europe

Essays in Honor of Susan C. Karant-Nunn


This volume honors the work of a scholar who has been active in the field of early modern history for over four decades. In that time, Susan Karant-Nunn’s work challenged established orthodoxies, pushed the envelope of historical genres, and opened up new avenues of research and understanding, which came to define the contours of the field itself. Like this rich career, the chapters in this volume cover a broad range of historical genres from social, cultural and art history, to the history of gender, masculinity, and emotion, and range geographically from the Holy Roman Empire, France, and the Netherlands, to Geneva and Austria. Based on a vast array of archival and secondary sources, the contributions open up new horizons of research and commentary on all aspects of early modern life.

Contributors: James Blakeley, Robert J. Christman, Victoria Christman, Amy Nelson Burnett, Pia Cuneo, Ute Lotz-Heumann, Amy Newhouse, Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer, Helmut Puff, Lyndal Roper, Karen E. Spierling, James D. Tracy, Mara R. Wade, David Whitford, and Charles Zika.

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Victoria Christman, Ph.D. (2005), University of Arizona, is Professor of History at Luther College. Her research focuses on religious coexistence in the sixteenth-century Low Countries, and her publications include Pragmatic Toleration: The Politics of Religious Heterodoxy in Early Reformation Antwerp, 1515–1555 (Rochester, 2015).

Marjorie Plummer, Ph.D. (1996), Virginia, is Susan C. Karant-Nunn Professor of Reformation and Early Modern History at University of Arizona. Her publications include From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife (Ashgate, 2012) and articles on convents, marriage, and religious plurality in Germany.
"this is a collection that will be of great interest to all scholars of the Reformation. These essays are astonishingly engaging. The essays [...] may seem to be super-specific (and they are), but potential readers ought not let that scare them off. These contributions are festooned with incredibly interesting historical facts.[...] Reformation scholars, persons interested in gender studies, and those inclined to the investigation of the minutest details of early modern European history will all enjoy making their way through this collection. I think you will enjoy it. And so I recommend it to you."

Jim West (ThD), Ming Hua Theological College / Charles Sturt University, in Zwinglius Redivivus (
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
James J. Blakeley and Robert J. Christman

part 1: The Early Reformation in Saxony

1 Simultaneously Bride and Whore: Martin Luther, the Bride of Christ, and the Limits of Hyperbole
David M. Whitford

2 Luther and Gender
Lyndal Roper

3 High Noon on the Road to Damascus: A Reformation Showdown and the Role of Horses in Lucas Cranach the Younger’s Conversion of Paul (1549)
Pia F. Cuneo

4 Aging and Retirement of Former Nuns after the Reforming of the Convent in Ernestine Saxony
Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer

part 2: Devotional Ritual and Popular Religion

5 Streitkultur Meets the Culture of Persuasion: The Flensburg Disputation of 1529
Amy Nelson Burnett

6 How to Make a Holy Well: Local Practices and Official Responses in Early Modern Germany
Ute Lotz-Heumann

7 Distinguishing between Saints and Spirits. Or How to Tell the Difference between the Virgin Mary and Mary the Ghost?
Kathryn A. Edwards

part 3: Cultural History and the Religious and Political Self

8 Advice from a Lutheran Politique: Ambassador David Ungnad’s Circular Letter to the Austrian Estates, 1576
James Tracy

9 Emblematic Strategies in the Devotions and Dynasty of Dorothea, Princess of Anhalt
Mara R. Wade

10 “Rebellious Sister?” Mary of Hungary, Queen-Regent of the Netherlands, 1531–1555
Victoria Christman

part 4: Culture in Motion: Emotion, Space, and Gender

11 Compassion in Punishment: The Visual Evidence in Sixteenth-Century Depictions of Calvary
Charles Zika

12 Above the Skin: Cloth and the Body’s Boundary in Early Modern Nuremberg
Amy Newhouse

13 Masculinities in Sixteenth-Century Imagery: A Contribution to Early Modern Gender History
Helmut Puff

14 ‘One Must Speak the Truth Rather than Staying Silent’: Women, Scandal, and the Genevan Consistory
Karen E. Spierling

Epilogue: A Festival of Festschriften
Merry Wiesner-Hanks

This volume will be of interest to academic researchers and graduate students focusing on intellectual, social, cultural, and art history in central Europe during the Reformation era. Keywords: early modern history, Martin Luther, social history, cultural history, art history, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Geneva, nuns, gender, Habsburgs, Ottoman Empire, emotions, religious rituals.
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