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Antike Universalgeschichte und Säkularisierung im Melanchthonkreis

Georg Majors Edition des Justinus (1526/37) und die Chronica Carionis (1532)

Carsten Nahrendorf

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.

Rainer Hillenbrand

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.

“Einen Newen Reformatorem

Die Reformationsschauspiele von Martin Rinckart und die Reformpoetik von Martin Opitz

Dirk Rose

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.

Dmitry Nikolaev


This paper discusses the impact of linguistic contact on the make-up of consonantal inventories of the languages of Eurasia. New measures for studying the importance of language contact for the development of phonological inventories are proposed, and two empirical studies are reported. First, using two different measures of dissimilarity of phonemic inventories (the Jaccard dissimilarity measure and the novel Closest-Relative Cumulative Jaccard Dissimilarity measure), it is demonstrated that language contact—operationalized as languages being connected by an edge in a neighbor network—makes a significant contribution to between-inventory differences when phylogenetic variables are controlled for. Second, a novel measure of the exposure of a language to a particular segment—the Neighbor-Pressure Metric (NPM)—is proposed as a means of quantifying language contact with respect to phonological inventories. It is shown that addition of NPM helps achieve higher prediction accuracy than using bare phylogenetic data and that distributions of different consonants display a different degree of dependence on language-contact processes. Finally, more complex models for predicting consonant inventories are briefly explored, demonstrating the presence of complex non-linear relationships between inventories of neighboring languages.

Jérôme Michaud


A puzzling fact about linguistic norms is that they are mainly stable, but the conventional variant sometimes changes. These transitions seem to be mostly S-shaped and, therefore, directed. Previous models have suggested possible mechanisms to explain these directed changes, mainly based on a bias favoring the innovative variant. What is still debated is the origin of such a bias. In this paper, we propose a refined taxonomy of mechanisms of language change and identify a family of mechanisms explaining self-actuated language changes. We exemplify this type of mechanism with the preference-based selection mechanism that relies on agents having dynamic preferences for different variants of the linguistic norm. The key point is that if these preferences align through social interactions, then new changes can be actuated even in the absence of external triggers. We present results of a multi-agent model and demonstrate that the model produces trajectories that are typical of language change.

Modeling change in contact settings

A case study of phonological convergence

Katia Chirkova and Tao Gong


Convergence is an oft-used notion in contact linguistics and historical linguistics. Yet it is problematic as an explanatory account for the changes it represents. In this study, we model one specific case of convergence (Duoxu, an endangered Tibeto-Burman language with 9 remaining speakers) to contribute to a more systematic understanding of the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. The goals are (1) to address the role of some linguistic and social factors assumed to have an effect on the process of convergence, and (2) to test the following explanations of empirical observations related to phonological convergence: (a) the loss of phonological segments in a language that has undergone convergence is correlated with the relative frequency and markedness of these segments in the combined bilingual repertoire, and (b) widespread bilingualism is a prerequisite for convergence. The results of our agent-based simulation affirm the importance of frequency and markedness of phonological segments in the process of convergence. At the same time, they suggest that the explanation related to widespread bilingualism may not be valid. Our study suggests computer simulations as a promising tool for investigation of complex cases of language change in contact settings.

Brian D. Joseph


I explore here how aware speakers are of the history of their language as they use it and how aware of typology they are. I advocate for a speaker-oriented viewpoint and argue ultimately that speakers know little to nothing about language history and less about typology, and yet they behave in ways that essentially create typology and history. I offer a number of examples, mainly from Sanskrit and Greek, covering sound change and grammatical change and discuss issues regarding naturalness, gradualness, and social indexing.

Tamari Lomtadze and Reuven Enoch


The Judeo-Georgian language has not yet been fully studied. Up to the end of the 20th century, only religion, traditions, and customs had been considered key identity markers of Georgian Jews. The first comprehensive scholarly works relating to Judeo-Georgian appeared at the turn of the century. This article builds on previous research on the speech varieties of Georgian Jews. The purpose of the present article is to demonstrate that alongside religion, customs, traditions, and culture, language was one of the main identity markers of the Jews in Georgia. The variety of Georgian spoken by the Jews differed from standard Georgian in prosodic (intonational), grammatical, and lexical features. The sociocultural and ethnolinguistic distinctiveness of their speech was reflected primarily in the use of Hebraisms.


Marianna Gkiouleka


This chapter explores a number of adverbial structures that are used by the speakers of Pontic dialect, an “inner Asia-Minor dialect”, in order to answer the question “Where?”, to describe space. To this end, it focuses on data that are driven from both written and spoken sources. I address the structures and dynamics of adverbial constructions that capture the perception of space. More specifically, I investigate a broad number of [Adv Adv] constructions that are attested innovations of this dialect, consisting of a set of morphologically simple adverbs and which I view as outcomes of a compounding process. Throughout the different sub-sections of the chapter, I address the following questions: i) what is adverb as a category; ii) what constitutes an adverb and how an adverb is formed; iii) how is space expressed through this part-of-speech category; iv) which morphological processes are activated in order to create adverbial constructs in Pontic.