This article argues that the literary reception of Classical historians through Philipp Melanchthon and his students made a decisive contribution to the pluralization and secularization of early Lutheran scholarly culture. It focuses on Georg Major’s hitherto unexplored edition of Justin’s Epitoma, which was printed in Hagenau in 1526, with a second, extended edition appearing in Magdeburg in 1537. Major’s first edition of 1526 is here scrutinized in the broader context of the emergence of Protestant universal history and the forming of Melanchthon’s understanding of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel, which is traditionally seen by scholars as the starting point of the distinction between secular and sacred history. The second edition (1537) includes a general instruction for the study of histories. Based as it is on Cicero’s historical-methodological principles of consilia, acta, and eventus, laid out in De Oratore, this handbook for Protestant Latin-school pupils is rooted in the historical thought of Italian humanists.
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Georg Majors Edition des Justinus (1526/37) und die Chronica Carionis (1532)
Angelus Silesius describes the mystical deification of the human soul as its inclusion in the Trinity. He uses traditional comparisons and metaphors, as formed on biblical basis by the Fathers to illustrate the inner Trinitarian relations, but also geometric and naturalistic analogies to lead the soul in three ways into God. These are always figurative appellations which, paradoxically, according to negative theology, can also be negated for the very essence of God, which remains unnameable. In this mystical unity, which in the teaching of the church can only happen by grace, but not in a pantheistic fashion by nature, man preserves the creaturely difference to the Creator. Even in the earliest epigrams, Scheffler’s Catholic point of view is that God cannot resist this union of love, and that therefore only man, with his free will, is responsible for its success. The model of the saints and the ethical demand for the keeping of the commandments and the doing of the good works, which confirm the authenticity of this mysticism as well as their conformity with the ecclesiastical tradition, also fit in with this result.
Die Reformationsschauspiele von Martin Rinckart und die Reformpoetik von Martin Opitz
The essay focuses on the drama-pieces planned by Martin Rinckart to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Reformation in 1617. They are concentrated around Martin Luther as a “hero” for the protestant confession, like in Der Eißlebische Christliche Ritter where Luther figures as a warrior of true belief. Special attention is paid first to the relation between text and music with regard to the performances of the pieces; and second to the question why Rinckart has obviously realized only three of the seven planned pieces about the reformation and Luther. For answering, the essay argues that the reform in poetics and poetry initiated by Martin Opitz has challenged the poetical concept of Rinckart’s pieces in such a way that he was unable to continue them. Ironically, his most famous religious poem Nun danket alle Gott has been rescued out of the wreckage of his ambitious plan of a Luther-Heptalogy.
Court life in early modern Germany took place within different media settings. In the book market, commercially orientated publishers sold compilations dealing with the ceremonies, genealogies and staff directories of the different courts and dynasties. They drew on the local publications which were produced on behalf of, and at the expense of, the different courts. Both types of printed material dealt with the same subject matter, but they belonged to totally separate public spheres and were subject to distinct economic parameters. They differed from yet another, more basic media type, i.e. personal interaction at court, predicated on the presence of the people involved. The resulting changes of medium, from interaction to official court publications, and further to commercial compilations, play a key role in the overall understanding of communication within and between the courts. This understanding is also helpful in assessing the specific nature and success of the publications issued by the court of Sachsen-Gotha.
This article focuses on the Einleitung zur Ceremoniel-Wissenschafft Der grossen Herren by Julius Bernhard von Rohr, published in 1733, and reflects how art forms that combine text and image are part of the court festival. Specific textimage configurations are analyzed using the example of occasional literature concerning the funeral of Magdalena Sibylle, Duchess of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1648-1681).
Among the highly varied vehicles of communication in early modern German an European courts, the human body was both a crucial medium and symbolic form. The body of the prince was strategically used and glorified as a site of political representation, espexially in central German courts. This paper explores the performative functions of the ballets de cour as aestheticized, ritual expressions of power as well as the self-fashioning of the participating princes. Taking the representation of the prince in a ballet from 1687 as a case study, it focuses on the distinctive situation in the Court of Saxony-Gotha.
The funeral sermon of a deceased prince played a particular role within the system of communication of early modern courts. The Wohlverdiente Ehrenseule, printed in honour of Ernst I von Sachsen-Gotha und Altenburg, and the Personalia which it contained, carried multiple meanings. In the first instance they served to communicate an unquestioned acceptance of the new ruler as guarantor of the existing order, in the context of the state ceremony of mourning. They acquired additional meaning as part of the ostentatious printed account of the funeral, where they worked to communicate the newly created image of Duke Ernst set up by his oldest son Friedrich in the context of the latter’s conflict with his brothers. It has become clear that such ostentatious funeral publications can only be evaluated with an understanding of both their political implications and the complete medial system of the relevant court, because the commemoration of the deceased prince was not the consequence of his qualities as a ruler but rather of the message that his successor wished to communicate.