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Edited by Ralph L. Piedmont and David O. Moberg

Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (RSSSR) publishes reports of innovative studies that pertain empirically or theoretically to the scientific study of religion, including spirituality, regardless of their academic discipline or professional orientation. It is academically eclectic, not restricted to any one particular theoretical orientation or research method. Most articles report the findings of quantitative or qualitative investigations, but some deal with methodology, theory, or applications of social science studies in the field of religion.

The Aesthetics of Horror

The Life and Thought of Richard von Kralik


Richard Geehr

Austrian-born Richard von Kralik (1852–1934), the so-called poet laureate of Christian Socialism, espoused such hauntingly familiar themes as the “Christian-Germanic ideal of beauty” and the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Kralik wielded the tool of propaganda for the Christian Socialists and realized the powerful draw of nationalism when couched in art, poetry, music, and literature. Although Kralik seems to have had no direct influence upon Adolf Hitler, his quest for “pure” German culture and his use of propaganda to achieve those ends share a marked resemblance to the tactics of the Third Reich. Professor Richard Geehr pays meticulous attention to historical detail, avails himself of all available sources, and assesses judiciously Richard von Kralik’s life and influence in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Austria.

Communal Christianity

The Life and Loss of a Peasant Vision in Early Modern Germany


David Mayes

David Mayes proposes a new religious paradigm in early modern rural Germany. “Communal Christianity,” the religious practice prevalent among peasants in mid-sixteenth-century rural Upper Hesse is juxtaposed with the more formally organized “Confessional” sects (e.g. Lutheran, Calvinist). The author describes Communal Christianity’s characteristics and persistence in the face of attempts at confessionalization during the period of 1576-1648 and links its success in part to the decree of the 1555 Religious Peace of Augsburg that only one confessionalized Christian sect be officially recognized in a territory. Confessional sects became marginalized, and more locally well-established peasant communes retained power. The 1648 Peace of Westphalia encouraged reconciliation of confessionalized Christian sects, paradoxically spurring the decline of Communal Christianity in certain locales.


Martin Wein

In History of the Jews in the Bohemian Lands, Martin Wein traces the interaction of Czechs and Jews, but also of Christian German-speakers, Slovaks, and other groups in the Bohemian lands and in Czechoslovakia throughout the first half of the twentieth century. This period saw accelerated nation-building and nation-cleansing in the context of hegemony exercised by a changing cast of great powers, namely Austria-Hungary, France, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. The author examines Christian-Jewish and inner-Jewish relations in various periods and provinces, including in Subcarpathian Ruthenia, emphasizing interreligious alliances of Jews with Protestants, such as T. G. Masaryk, and political parties, for example a number of Social Democratic ones. The writings of Prague’s Czech-German-Jewish founders of theories of nationalism, Hans Kohn, Karl W. Deutsch, and Ernest Gellner, help to interpret this history.

Ways of Knowing

Ten Interdisciplinary Essays


Edited by Mary Lindemann

"Knowing" itself is a problematic concept and what was once seen as the clear objective of "knowing," that is to discover "truth" or "reality," has become increasingly less certain. This is even more the case when scholars move from the present to examine epistemology in the past. Two fundamental questions arise: What constituted knowledge in the context of early modern Germany and how was knowledge gathered, assembled, organized, deployed, and interpreted? Ways of Knowing seeks to answer these questions. Taking their cues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including art, German literature, social, political, medical, and religious history, the contributors offer readers a rich and insightful portrait of knowing and knowledge in early modern Germany. Investigators look at what people “knew” in early modern Germany and how they “knew” it. Four essays in part one consider how knowledge was created and organized. In part two, six authors examine how knowledge was evaluated and how it functioned, especially in the realms of belief, law, politics, and medicine.

Contributors include: Robert Beachy, Susan R. Boettcher, Jason Coy, Pia F. Cuneo, Mitchell Lewis Hammond, Mary Lindemann, Francisca Loetz, Terence McIntosh, Janice L. Neri, Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre, and Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly.

The Reformation of Charity

The Secular and the Religious in Early Modern Poor Relief


Edited by Thomas Max Safley

Early modern Europe witnessed changes in the social, political, and ecclesiastical structures supporting poor relief, but notions that sharp fault lines divide rationalized, secular poor relief from morally and spiritually motivated ecclesiastical charity need rethinking. Spiritual ideals shaped political and social poor relief structures just as much as rationalization and effective administration colored ecclesiastical charity efforts. Poor relief reflects a local community. A community’s unique history, culture, political agenda, social mores, and religious ideals converge to shape how it responds to poverty, whatever the context: religious, political, or private (the élite). Sweeping statements and broad generalizations must be placed under the lamp of local circumstances. Theory and practice must unite. These studies take seriously the richness and humanity of early modern poor relief, the danger and desperation of poverty in a community, as well as the calculation and generosity of local charity.

Contributors include: David d’Andrea, Susan E. Dinan, Nicholas Eckstein, S. Amanda Eurich, Timothy G. Fehler, Peer Friess, Philip L. Kintner, Charles H. Parker, Thomas Max Safley, Joke Spaans, Mary S. Sprunger, snd Lee Palmer Wandel.


Edited by Esther Peperkamp and Malgorzata Rajtar

The radical process of religious change in eastern Germany poses a real challenge to social researchers. Common explanations view either the socialist past or larger scale processes of modernization to be the cause of eastern German secularization, but fail to address historical contingencies and individual agency. This book focuses on the interplay between local bureaucracies and individual lives. Contextualizing individual choices is essential in order to gain insight into how religious meaning is produced, reproduced, contested, discontinued, and disrupted. Bringing together the disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, and sociology, what unites the articles is their qualitative approach. The collection of articles lays out an impressive mosaic of the religious and the secular in the GDR and contemporary eastern Germany.

Contributors are Irene Becci, Anja Frank, Uta Karstein, Anna Körs, Esther Peperkamp, Małgorzata Rajtar, Thomas Schmidt-Lux, Nikolai Vukov, Kirstin Wappler, and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr.


Michele Zelinsky Hanson

Debate over the usefulness of the confessionalization paradigm for understanding how Europeans responded to religious differences resulting from the Reformation has obscured people's experiences during the early years of reform. Based on interrogations recorded in Augsburg, Germany, in the first half of the sixteenth century, the compelling portraits of individual believers presented in this book provide a rare insight into the lives of ordinary people during one of the most controversial periods in religious history. Speaking about their faith and encounters with others in their own words, they rephrase the debate in terms of contemporary experiences. The resulting study challenges previous assumptions about the importance of belief in constructing religious identities and reveals the potential for accommodation amidst conflict.

Between Opposition and Collaboration

Nobles, Bishops, and the German Reformations in the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg, 1555–1619


Richard Ninness

This study of the Catholic Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg and its largely Protestant aristocracy demonstrates that shared family ties and traditional privilege could reduce religious based conflict. These findings raise fundamental questions about current interpretations of the Reformation era. Prince-bishops regularly appointed Lutheran nobles to administrative positions, and those Lutheran appointees served their Catholic overlords ably and loyally. Bamberg was a center for social interaction, business transactions, and career opportunities for aristocrats. As these nobles saw it, birthright and kinship ties made them suitable for service in the prince-bishopric. Catholic leaders concurred, confessional differences notwithstanding. This study tells the complicated story of how Lutheran nobles and their Catholic relatives struggled to maintain solidarity and cooperation during an era of religious strife and animosity


Edited by Randolph C. Head and Daniel Christensen

This interdisciplinary collection of essays about early modern Germany addresses the tensions, both fruitful and destructive, between normative systems of order on the one hand, and a growing diversity of practices on the other. Individual essays address crucial struggles over religious orthodoxy after the Reformation, the transformation of political loyalties through propaganda and literature, and efforts to redefine both canonical forms and new challenges to them in literature, music, and the arts. Bringing together the most exciting papers from the 2005 conference of Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär, an international research and conference group, the collection offers fresh comparative insights into the terrifying as well as exhilarating predicaments that the people of the Holy Roman Empire faced between the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Contributors include: Claudia Benthien, Robert von Friedeburg, Markus Friedrich, Claire Gantet, Susan Lewis Hammond, Thomas Kaufmann, Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, Benjamin Marschke, Nathan Baruch Rein, and Ashley West.