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.

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Jeremy Spencer

Abstract

This intended paper will address the dialogue between Brecht’s theory and method and the authors associated with the development of so-called “Screen Theory” of the British film magazine Screen between 1971 and 1979. Authors such as Stephen Heath did not read Brecht to appeal to the authority of a person but to articulate a “truly dialectical practice” in a new situation, namely, the reflection on cinema and the intervention of the practice of film in ideology. Heath was concerned with how Brecht’s theory and practice could be used to understand film as an “ideological intervention” and therefore the “possible actuality” of Brecht’s dialectical work. This paper explores the actuality of Brecht’s ideas—his “critical lessons”—in the context of Screen, as part of the magazine’s defence of political modernism or the “politics of form,” how they were mobilised in relation to political cinema, semiotic theory, and psychoanalysis.

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José María Durán

Abstract

This essay explores the claim made by the so-called dialogical aesthetics that the emphasis of today’s socially engaged art lies on a modality of engagement and theatricality that follows the footsteps of the historical avant-garde. It asks if the framework of dialogism is an adequate one for the analysis of today’s socially engaged art practices that claim to be transformative. In searching for an answer, it examines the intersection of thinkers such as Brecht, Althusser, Voloshinov and Medvedev in the context of contemporary art practices.

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Philip Glahn

Abstract

This essay discusses Brecht’s “technics of aesthetics,” his attitude toward class struggle as the active engagement with the tools of intellectual-as-material production, as articulated through the playwright’s disdain for the passive politicking and complicit posturing of his contemporaries in the face of capitalist exploitation and fascist violence. Accusing the “Tuis” or “Tellekt-uell-ins,” including Thomas Mann, Andre Gide, Georg Lukacs, and the “Frankfurtists,” of wanting to save Geist and Kultur rather than addressing questions of ownership and power, Brecht instead sought a proletarian understanding of art as active contest over the mechanisms of representation and imagination, the devices that link the perception of the given to inscribed as well as latent histories and thus multiple, potential futures. Brecht’s attempt at determining a “useful” position of artistic agency and solidarity is traced through his writings on popular culture and communication apparatuses, his poetry, letters and plans to pen a “Tui-novel.”

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Peter Zazzali

Abstract

In describing Charles Laughton’s agreement to play the title role in Galileo, Brecht observed that the actor wanted to make a “contribution” to society through the “dissemination [of] ideas…about how people really lived together.” Performed in Los Angeles in 1947 during the aftermath of the Second World War and on the cusp of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s so-called “Red Scare,” Laughton’s Galileo was apt for the politics of its time, insofar as the play jointly addressed institutional dogmatism, government corruption, and the fearful ignorance of the body politic. Laughton’s performance exemplified Brecht’s gestic approach to acting by defamiliarizing himself from the role in favor of underscoring the drama’s sociopolitical messages. As such, his approach was in stark contrast to the widely practiced Stanislavskian method in which actors were expected to “find themselves” in a role towards creating a character that “truthfully” represented human behavior. What was Laughton’s self-awareness or consciousness of his performance? Whereas the Stanislavskian actor uses himself to subconsciously gel with a character, Brecht’s theory is the opposite: “the actor should refrain from living himself into the part…” These two varying approaches raise questions about the acknowledgement and function of the “self” in an actor’s work, thereby offering an intriguing point of analysis for Brechtian performance. This article will examine the Brechtian actor’s aesthetic through the lens of consciousness. Thus, it will account for the actor’s praxis relative to the sociopolitical implications of Brecht’s epic theatre.

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Kevin S. Amidon

Abstract

Taxonomic tropes and themes, particularly gender and class, but also race, function together in Brecht’s plays to create overdetermined characterizations. Parallel to these characterizations, he developed a multilayered theory of performance that emphasizes how those who enact text should approach the representation of diverse human types and groups. His encounter with Chinese acting established foundational elements in this theory. In parallel to his theoretical thinking about performance and race in the mid-1930s, Brecht was developing his stance toward operatic representation. While these two conceptual spheres, race and opera, might appear far apart in their content, they parallel each other closely in their theoretical stakes. The work of Joy Calico reveals that the way the voice becomes fungible through operatic performance both repelled and fascinated Brecht, such that this voice-object of opera accompanied his work as a kind of dialectical foil throughout his career. When read through the lens of race, this insight can be extended to reveal how the acting body itself becomes a fungible object, one that Brecht’s theories of estrangement and gestus strive, however inadequately, to make aesthetically and politically productive.

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Norman Roessler

Abstract

This conclusion explores the importance of the book in context of the extant literature that has tried to either link Brecht and theatre to philosophy or seal them off from each other entirely. It posits the existence of a false dichotomy between theatre and philosophy that can be traced back to Aristotle and argues that Brecht can and needs to be re-functionalized today so he can become a model figure used to cleave the theatre/ philosophy divide.