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Imperial Villages

Cultures of Political Freedom in the German Lands c. 1300-1800

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Beat Kümin

Hundreds of rural communities tasted political freedom in the Holy Roman Empire. For shorter or longer periods, villagers managed local affairs without subjection to territorial overlords. In this first book-length study, Beat Kümin focuses on the five case studies of Gochsheim and Sennfeld (in present-day Bavaria), Sulzbach and Soden (Hesse) and Gersau (Switzerland). Adopting a comparative perspective across the late medieval and early modern periods, the analysis of multiple sources reveals distinct extents of rural self-government, the forging of communalized confessions and an enduring attachment to the empire. Negotiating inner tensions as well as mounting centralization pressures, Reichsdörfer provide privileged insights into rural micro-political cultures while their stories resonate with resurgent desires for greater local autonomy in Europe today.
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Francois Soyer

In Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in the Early Modern Iberian World: Narratives of Fear and Hatred, François Soyer offers the first detailed historical analysis of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Spain, Portugal and their overseas colonies between 1450 and 1750. These conspiracy theories accused Jews and conversos, the descendants of medieval Jewish converts to Christianity, of deadly plots and blamed them for a range of social, religious, military and economic problems. Ultimately, many Iberian antisemitic conspiracy theorists aimed to create a ‘moral panic’ about the converso presence in Iberian society, thereby justifying the legitimacy of ethnic discrimination within the Church and society. Moreover, they were also exploited by some churchmen seeking to impose an idealized sense of communal identity upon the lay faithful.
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Tahera Qutbuddin

In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.
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The Banishment of Beverland

Sex, Sin, and Scholarship in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic

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Karen Eline Hollewand

Hadriaan Beverland (1650-1716) was banished from Holland in 1679. Why did this humanist scholar get into so much trouble? To answer this question, this book positions Beverland’s sexual studies in their historical context for the first time. Beverland argued that sexual lust was the original sin and highlighted the importance of sex in human nature, ancient history, and his own society. His audacious works hit a raw nerve: Dutch theologians accused him of atheism, humanist scholars abandoned him, and the University of Leiden banished him.

By positioning Beverland’s extraordinary scholarship in the context of the Dutch Republic, this book examines how Beverland’s radical studies challenged the intellectual, ecclesiastical, and political elite and thus provides a fresh perspective upon the Dutch Republic in the last decades of its Golden Age.
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Edited by Jeremy Gunn, Jeroen Temperman and Malcolm D. Evans

As the tensions involving religion and society increase, the European Court of Human Rights and the Freedom of Religion or Belief is the first systematic analysis of the first twenty-five years of the European Court's religion jurisprudence. The Court is one of the most significant institutions confronting the interactions among states, religious groups, minorities, and dissenters. In the 25 years since its first religion case, Kokkinakis v. Greece, the Court has inserted itself squarely into the international human rights debate regarding the freedom of religion or belief. The authors demonstrate the positive contributions and the significant flaws of the Court's jurisprudence involving religion, society, and secularism.
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Great Immortality

Studies on European Cultural Sainthood

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Edited by Jón Karl Helgason and Marijan Dović

In Great Immortality, twenty scholars from considerably different cultural backgrounds explore the ways in which certain poets, writers, and artists in Europe have become major figures of cultural memory. Through individual case studies, many of the contributors expand and challenge the concepts of cultural sainthood and canonization as developed by Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason in National Poets, Cultural Saints: Canonization and Commemorative Cults of Writers in Europe (Brill, 2017). Even though the major focus of the book is the nineteenth-century cults of national poets, the volume examines a wide variety of cases in a very broad temporal and geographical framework – from Dante and Petrarch to the most recent attempts to sanctify artists by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and from the rise of a medieval Icelandic author of sagas to the veneration of a poet and national leader in Georgia.

Contributors are: Bojan Baskar, Marijan Dović, Sveinn Yngvi Egilsson, David Fishelov, Jernej Habjan, Simon Halink, Jón Karl Helgason, Harald Hendrix, Andraž Jež, Marko Juvan, Alenka Koron, Roman Koropeckyj, Joep Leerssen, Christian Noack, Jaume Subirana, Magí Sunyer, Andreas Stynen, Andrei Terian, Bela Tsipuria, and Luka Vidmar.
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Edited by Sarah Joan Moran and Amanda C. Pipkin

Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500-1750 brings together research on women and gender across the Low Countries, a culturally contiguous region that was split by the Eighty Years War into the Protestant Dutch Republic in the North and the Spanish-controlled, Catholic Hapsburg Netherlands in the South.
The authors of this interdisciplinary volume highlight women’s experiences of social class, as family members, before the law, and as authors, artists, and patrons, as well as the workings of gender in art and literature. In studies ranging from microhistories to surveys, the book reveals the Low Countries as a remarkable historical laboratory for its topic and points to the opportunities the region holds for future scholarly investigations.

Contributors include: Martine van Elk, Martha Howell, Martha Moffitt Peacock, Sarah Joan Moran, Amanda Pipkin, Katlijne van der Stighelen, Margit Thøfner, Diane Wolfthal
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Edited by F. Tyler Sergent

A Companion to William of Saint-Thierry provides eight new studies on this noted twelfth-century Cistercian writer by some of the most prolific English-language William scholars from North America and Europe and is structured around William’s life, thought, and influence. A Benedictine abbot who became a Cistercian monk, William of Saint-Thierry (c. 1085-1148) lived through the first half of the twelfth century, a time of significant reform within western Christian monasticism. Although William was directly involved in these reforming efforts while at the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Thierry, his lasting legacy in Christian tradition comes through his written works, many as a Cistercian monk, that showcase his keen intellect, creative thinking, and at times profound insight for spiritual life and its fulfilment. Contributors include: David N. Bell, Thomas X. Davis, E. Rozanne Elder, Brian Patrick McGuire, Glenn E. Myers, Nathaniel Peters, Aage Rydstrøm-Poulsen, and F. Tyler Sergent
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Anne Thompson

In Parish Clergy Wives in Elizabethan England, Anne Thompson shifts the emphasis from the institution of clerical marriage to the people and personalities involved. Women who have hitherto been defined by their supposed obscurity and unsuitability are shown to have anticipated and exhibited the character, virtues, and duties associated with the archetypal clergy wife of later centuries. Through adept use of an extensive and eclectic range of archival material, Anne Thompson offers insights into the perception and lived experience of ministers’ wives. In challenging accepted views on the social status of clergy wives and their role and reception within the community, new light is thrown on a neglected but crucial aspect of religious, social, and women’s history.
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Edited by Konrad Eisenbichler

After the State and the Church, the most well organized membership system of medieval and early modern Europe was the confraternity. In cities, towns, and villages it would have been difficult for someone not to be a member of a confraternity, the recipient of its charity, or aware of its presence in the community. In A Companion to Medieval and Early Modern Confraternities, Konrad Eisenbichler brings together an international group of scholars to examine confraternities from various perspectives: their origins and development, their devotional practices, their charitable activities, and their contributions to literature, music, and art. The result is a picture of confraternities as important venues for the acquisition of spiritual riches, material wealth, and social capital. Contributors include: Alyssa Abraham, Davide Adamoli, Christopher F. Black, Dominika Burdzy , David D’Andrea, Konrad Eisenbichler, Anna Esposito, Federica Francesconi, Marina Gazzini, Jonathan Glixon, Colm Lennon, William R. Levin, Murdo J. MacLeod, Nerida Newbigin, Dylan Reid, Gervase Rosser, Nicholas Terpstra, Paul Trio, Anne-Laure Van Bruaene, Beata Wojciechowska, and Danilo Zardin.