Christian History in Rural Germany

Transcending the Catholic and Protestant Narratives


Surely, Christian history in Germany principally followed the outlines of a Catholic and Protestant narrative, right? On the contrary, for Hesse, Hanau, and Fulda this dominant framework largely obscures the historical experience of most Christians, specifically rural Christians. The rural Christian narrative, animated for more than a millennium by agricultural and communal forces, principally followed an indigenous path characterized by long-term surges and setbacks. This path eventually bifurcated not in the 1517-1648 period but rather in the wake of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, and it did so not into Catholic and Protestant storylines but rather into those Christian corpora (Gemeinden) which maintained their local civil-sacred unity into the twentieth century and those which lost that unity after succumbing to Westphalia's divisive effects.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
David Mayes, Ph.D. (2002), University of Wisconsin-Madison, is Associate Professor of History at Sam Houston State University. His publications include Communal Christianity: The Life and Loss of a Peasant Vision in Early Modern Germany (Brill, 2004) and recent articles on rural communities, names and naming, and toleration.
Note on the Translation
List of Figures and Maps

Part 1: Surges: The Civil and the Sacred United

Introduction to Part 1

1 The Animating Forces of Christian History in Rural Germany, to 1648
2 Rural Gemeinden in an Age of Pluralization, 1517–1648
 1 Scales of Corpus Christianum, and How Each Fared in the Sixteenth Century
 2 The Christian Confessions and the Imperial Territories
 3 Rural Gemeinden Navigate through Pluralization
3 Mounting Another Surge, 1648–1800s
 1 Betterment by Localizing
 2 Maintenance of Custom and Status
4 Characteristics of Rural Christian Culture, 1648–1900s
 1 Crafting the Perspective
 2 Ordering the Church
 3 Repurposing the Particulars
 4 Sacralizing the Local
 5 Localizing the Cemetery
 6 Inscribing the Culture
5 Surging toward Crescendo, 1648–1900s
 1 Betterment by Switching
 2 Betterment by Devolving

Conclusion to Part 1

Part 2: Divergence: The Civil and the Sacred Disunited, 1648–

Introduction to Part 2

6 The Division of Local Sacred Communities, 1648–1817
 1 Alleviating Disunity and Priming Disunity
 2 The Empire’s Birthing of Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed as Triplets in 1648
 3 The Onset of Anachronistic History and Its Early Local Effects
7 Ministerial Conflict, 1648–1817
 1 Alleged Encroachments
 2 Financial Interests
 3 Personal Honor and Dignity
 4 State Authority and Order
 5 Persons of the Tertiary Denomination
8 Toleration Transformed, 1648–1817
 1 Emigration and Exile
 2 Auslauf
 3 House Churches
 4 New Church Buildings
 5 Simultaneum
 6 Freedom of Conscience
 7 Rural Collaborations and Unifications
9 Rural Fulda amid the Evangelical Union, 1817–1850s
 1 The Evangelical Union
 2 Sacred Communities Divided Anew in Rural Fulda
10 Rural Hanau amid the Evangelical Union, 1817–1860s
 1 Sacred Communities United and the Gemeinde Restored
 2 Authorities’ Anxiety about the Use of Multiple Churches
 3 A Switch in Strategy
11 Rural Upper Hesse amid the Evangelical Union, 1817–1900s
 1 The Union’s Inauspicious Start in the Region
 2 The Union Attempted in Frankenberg
 3 Collaborations and Unifications Continue in Rural Upper Hesse
 4 The Union Thwarted in Frankenberg
 5 Collaborations and Unifications Thwarted in Rural Upper Hesse

Conclusion to Part 2

This book is of interest to scholars, students, and libraries at secular as well as religious institutions, and also to historical societies in Hesse and in wider Germany.
  • Collapse
  • Expand