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Purity and Pollution in Protestant Ritual Ethics

  • Klaus C. Yoder


Purification of the Church is frequently invoked to narrate Protestant justifications for the break from Rome during the Reformation. It also functions to link the Reformation to a process of modern disenchantment. However, little attention has been paid to the rhetoric of pollution and precisely how the reformers articulated the dangers of polluted ritual. The historical location of the sources examined here is the middle decades of the 16th century when Protestants were dealing with political setbacks to the Reformation cause in the Holy Roman Empire, particularly the imposition of the Augsburg Interim by Charles V. This law was designed to find some middle ground between Catholics and Protestants until the schism would be settled at the Council of Trent. However, the debates about whether certain ceremonies, supposedly non-binding with respect to doctrinal commitments, could be used for politically expedient purposes, pushed Protestant thinkers to reassess the power and dangers of liturgical practices and paraphernalia. This article interprets the discourse of pollution in Protestant controversies about compromise in ritual matters by treating the responses of two theologians writing against the Interim from different parts of Germany: Joachim Westphal and Wolfgang Musculus. By laying out the causes of ritual pollution and its negative effects upon body and soul according to individuals who worked for reform in both their intellectual activity as well as their pastoral service, this article demonstrates the importance of ritual matters for Protestant moral thought.



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1 Hendrix, Scott, Recultivating the Vineyard: The Reformation Agendas of Christianization (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004); and Keane, Webb, Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkley: University of California Press, 2007).

2 Christian Grosse notes the lack of developed treatments of the rhetoric of pollution in his essay, Places of Sanctification: The Liturgical Sacrality of Genevan Reformed Churches, 1535–1566,” in Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe, ed. Coster, Will and Spicer, Andrew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 61n3.

3 Even some of the best scholarship is vague on the semantics of pollution. See for example Chris Elwood's discussion of the social implications of the Reformed Lord's Supper in The Body Broken: The Calvinist Doctrine of the Eucharist and the Symbolization of Power in Sixteenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 155.

4 The literature on this subject has grown considerably in the past decade. For an introduction, see Das Interim 1548/50: Herrschaftskrise und Glaubenskonflikt, ed. Schorn-Schütte, Luise. (Gütersloh: Gütersloher, 2005). See Chris Elwood, The Body Broken, for an overview of the French situation.

5 See Johannes Hermann, “Augsburg-Leipzig-Passau: das Leipziger Interim nach Akten des Landeshauptarchives Dresden 1547–1552,” (Ph.D. diss., Karl-Marx-Universität Leipzig, 1962); Ißleib, Simon, “Das Interim in Sachsen 1548–1552,” in  Aufsätze und Beiträge zu Kurfürst Moritz von Sachsen (1877—1907) (Cologne: Böhlau, 1989), 1: 531574 ; Wartenberg, Günther, “Philipp Melanchthon und die sächsisch-albertinische Interimspolitik,” Lutherjahrbuch 55 (1988): 6082 .

6 A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., s.v. “ἀδιαφορέω.”

7 Berbig, Hans Joachim, “Zur rechtlichen Relevanz von Ritus und Zeremoniell im romisch-deutschen Imperium,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte Stuttgart 92, series 4, no. 30 (1981): 204249 ; Hoke, Rudolf, “Ein theologisches Gutachten von staatsrechtlicher Tragweite,” in Ex Aequo Et Bono: Willibald M. Plöchl Zum 70 Geburtstag: Forschungen Zur Rechts-Und Kulturgeschichte, ed. Plöchl, Willibald M., Leisching, Peter, Pototschnig, Franz, and Potz, Richard (Innsbruck: Universitätsverlag Wagner, 1977), 107117 .

8 Gorski, Philip S., “Historicizing the Secularization Debate: Church, State, and Society in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ca. 1300 to 1700,” American Sociological Review 65, no. 1 (Feb. 2000): 148149 . See Weber, Max, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Parsons, Talcott (London: Routledge, 1992); Thomas, Keith, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

9 Muir, Edward, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 163201 ; Keane, Christian Moderns, 1–34, 196–222.

10 Ibid., 80, 223–254.

11 Koerner, , The Reformation of the Image (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 416418 .

12 Ibid., 418.

13 Ibid., 379, 420.

14 Karant-Nunn, , The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (Abingdon: Routledge, 1997), 201.

15 Ibid., 191–192.

16 Scribner, Robert W., “The Reformation, Popular Magic, and the ‘Disenchantment of the World,’Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23, no. 3 (Winter 1993): 475494 ; Walsham, Alexandra, “The Reformation and ‘The Disenchantment of the World’ Reassessed,” The Historical Journal 51, no. 2 (2008): 497528 .

17 Michalski, Sergiusz, The Reformation and the Visual Arts: The Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), 7598 ; Koerner, The Reformation of the Image, 83–103.

18 The phrase comes from Taylor, Charles, A Secular Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 26.

19 An important example of this trend is Delumeau's, Jean Catholicism Between Luther and Voltaire: A New View of the Counter-Reformation, trans. Moiser, Jeremy (London: Burns and Oates, 1977), 175202 . A more recent representative would be an essay by Lentes, Thomas, “Andacht und Gebärde: Das religiöse Ausdrucksverhalten,” Kulturelle Reformation: Sinnformationen im Umbruch, ed. Jussen, Berhard and Koslofsky, Craig (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1999), 2968 .

20 Amsdorf, Nicholas, Daß nie nöter gewest ist wider den Römischen Antichrist zu schreiben. . . .  (Magdeburg: Michael Lotter, 1551), A iij/v, Amsdorf relies on this anti-Judaic and anti-Semitic rhetoric to cast doubt upon the prospect of ritual compromises with the Catholics.

21 One important mode of pollution that I have do not have the space to take on in this article pertains to the notion that the enactment of anachronistic observances would prompt a reversion to an outdated, or pernicious, form of religion. The logic here is supersessionist with respect to perceived Jewish elements surviving in Christian worship. This is then applied analogously to the traditions of late medieval Latin Christianity. I refer to an example of this rhetoric below in the case of John Hooper's argument against vestments. See John Henry Primus, The Vestments Controversy: An Historical Study of the Earliest Tensions Within the Church of England in the Reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth. (Ph.D. diss., University of Amsterdam, 1960).

22 For a discussion of how apocalyptic tropes, of which idolatry-pollution is but one example, impacted the violent aspects of culture and politics during confessionalization, see Heinz Schilling, “Die Konfessionalisierung im Reich: Religiöser und gesellschaftlicher Wandel in Deutschland zwischen 1555 und 1620,” Historische Zeitschrift, Band 246, Heft 1 (February 1988): 41.

23 Dingel, Irene, “Westphal, Joachim,” Theologische Realenzyklopädie, ed. Müller, Gerhard (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2003), 35:712715 ; Visser, Derek, “Westphal, Joachim,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, ed. Hillerbrand, Hans J. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 4:268.

24 See Dingel, Irene, “Calvin in the Context of Lutheran Consolidation,” Reformation & Renaissance Review 12, no. 2–3 (2010): 161168 ; Pettegree, Andrew, “The London Exile Community and the Second Sacramentarían Controversy, 1553–1560,” Archiv Für Reformationsgeschichte 78, no. 1 (December 1987): 223252 .

25 The Canon is compromised of the verses ‘Te igitur,’ ‘Memento [vivorum,]’ ‘Communicantes,’ ‘Hanc Igitur,’ ‘Quam Oblationem,’ ‘Qui Pridie,’ ‘Unde de memores,’ ‘Supra Quae,’ ‘Supplices Te Rogamus,’ ‘Memento [defunctorum],’ ‘Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus,’ and ‘Per Quem Haec Omnia.’ See Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, s.v. “Canon of the Mass.”

26 For the authorship and biographies of all of possible contributors from Hamburg, see De rebus adiaphoris epistolaEinleitung,” in Der Adiaphoristische Streit (1548–1560), ed. Dingel, Irene, Lies, Jan Martin, and Schneider, Hans-Otto (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2012), 4359 . For the observation on the seminal quality of this letter, see Sdzuj, Reimund B., Adiaphorie und Kunst: Studien zur Genealogie ästhetischen Denkens (Tübingen: Max Niedermeyer, 2005), 140.

27 Their letter and Melanchthon's response appear in Philippi Melanthonis Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia (hereafter cited as CR 7), ed. Bretschneider, Karl Gottlieb and Bindseil, Heinrich Ernst, (Halle: C. A. Schwetschke, 1840), 7:366386 . For the need for a clear appraisal from Wittenberg, see CR 7, 369.

28 Ibid., 369.

29 For a treatment of Magdeburg's “Chancery of God” in English, see Rein, Nathan B., The Chancery of God: Protestant Print, Polemic, and Propaganda Against the Empire, Magdeburg, 1546–1551 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008). For the relevant German scholarship, see Kaufman, Thomas, Das Ende Der Reformation: Magdeburgs “Herrgotts Kanzlei” (1548–1551/2) (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003); and Moritz, Anja, Interim und Apokalypse: Die religiösen Vereinheitlichungsversuche Karls V. Im Spiegel der magdeburgischen Publizistik 1548–1551/52 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009).

30 CR 7, 372.

31 Ibid., 372–373.

32 Ibid., 373.

33 The word used by the Pastors is a Greek term from the New Testament, ἐθελοθρησχεία (Col. 2:23), or will-worship (CR 7, 377).

34 CR 7, 373–374. “Adiaphora autem, quae vere sic vocantur, inclusa sunt certis finibus, quos, si transgrediuntur, Adiaphora esse desinunt, fiuntque corruptelae, profantiones, seminaria superstitionis, conscientiarum laquei et aptae occasiones reducendi veterem abusum et impietatem.”

35 At the start of his most extensive treatment of the controversy, Flacius uses a condensed formulation of the principle enunciated in the open letter as his “rule” for the entire work. See Liber de veris et falsis adiaphoris, in quo integre propemodum adiaphorica controversia explicatur (Magdeburg: Michael Lotter, 1549) *1/v,

36 CR 7, 367–368.

37 Ibid., 369. Here, the Pastors reference Melanchthon's explanation to the ministers in Frankfurt am Main from January 29, 1549 about bearing servitude in adiaphoric matters to avoid graver dangers (CR 7, 321–326).

38 Ibid., 374.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid., 367.

41 See Melanchthon's theorization of this problem in his oration on the ages of the Church, CR 11, 784–785.

42 This problem of the ethical stakes of ritual has direct bearing on the stated purpose of the letter, which is to demand a clear statement on the legitimate use of adiaphora by Melanchthon and the other professors of Wittenberg. Because of their silence on the matter, theologians and pastors of ill-repute among the Lutherans such as Johann Agricola, the court preacher of Brandenburg, had spread rumors that the Wittenbergers were willing to accept the changes in worship prescribed by the Augsburg Interim (CR 7, 292–296). Agricola was one of the authors of the Interim, and thus had a vested interest in its success. The Hamburg Pastors also express their suspicion against the character and motives of the courtiers of Dresden, the new power center in electoral Saxony, whose sympathies were more humanist-Catholic than Protestant, and who were more interested in appeasing the emperor in order to secure political gain than preserving the fruits of the Reformation. Melanchthon himself acknowledged this danger posed by the courtiers (Ibid., 232–234).

43 Ibid., 375.

44 Ibid., 384–385.

45 See Kaufman, Das Ende der Reformation, 464–474.

46 Reimund B. Sdzuj, Adiaphorie und Kunst, 140. Sdzuj cites his source as Flacius, Bericht . . . von etlichen Artikeln der christlichen Lehr (Jena: Thomas Rebart, 1559) E i/r–E i/v.

47 Briefsammlung des Hamburgischen Superintendenten Joachim Westphal aus den Jahren 1530 bis 1575, ed. Sillem, C. H. W. (Hamburg: Lucas Gräfe and Sillem, 1903), 1:96.

48 Westphal, Joachim, Duo Scripta M. Ioachimi Westphal Hamburg (Magdeburg: Michael Lotter, 1549), Translated into German as Zwo Schrifften M. Joachimi Westphali, Pfarherrn zu Hamburg (Magdeburg: Christian Rödinger, 1550), Here I use the Latin edition (hereafter cited as Duo Scripta).

49 Duo Scripta, A 3/r.

50 Ibid., A 2/v.

51 Ibid., A 3/r–A 3/v.

52 Ibid., A 4/r–A 4/v: “Longe alia est rerum natura, cum per se absolute, et e diuerso, cum per comparationem seu relationem considerantur. Alia item est oratio de rebus consideratis in se, et in relatione ad aliud. Mutant enim naturam et conditionem rerum minutißimarum circumstantiae et relationes, quae accedunt. Saepe accessoria ex paruis magna faciunt.”

53 For the dissidents’ perspective on the Schmalkaldic War, see Anja Moritz, Interim und Apocalypse, 102–108, 211–234.

54 Duo Scripta, A 6/r.

55 Ibid.: “Non tantum autem, quae nostri eleuant et tanquam leuia abijuciunt, magna censentur summorum hominum consilijs contentione, adfectatione, sed etiam eorundem opinione, iudicio, et existimatione. In caeremonijs uel minima magnifaciunt, Habent enim pro diuinis cultibus omnia, abgrogatis uel imminutis caermonijs, putant cultum Dei abrogatum et imminutum.”

56 Ibid., A 5/r–A 5/v.

57 Ibid., A 6/r.

58 D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Briefwechsel), ed. Knaake, J. F. K. and Clemen, Otto (Weimar: H. Böhlau, 1934), 5:527.

59 This test does not mean that Luther did not recognize adiaphoric elements of worship. His point about institution pertains to the way a practice is not only created, but also commanded. In the same letter, he acknowledges that there are many elements of worship that are accidents, that is, particular to a given community. He goes on to argue that these are not included in the divine words of institution, therefore they cannot be mandated or considered essential to Christian practice (ibid., 526).

60 For the importance of experience as a source of authority in this period, see Kaufman, Thomas, “‘Erfahrungsmuster’ in der frühen Reformation,” Historische Zeitschrift, Beiheft 31 (2001): 281306 .

61 “Accidenta” used in Duo Scripta, A 3/v; “additamenta” used in ibid., A 4/v; “appendices” used in ibid., A 6/v.

62 Ibid., A 6/v: “Adminiculua superstitionum et idolatriae.”

63 Scholarship on the Reformation has recently begun to employ the category of sacred space to conceptualize the impact of reforms on the lived experience of Christianity. See Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe, ed. Coster and Spicer. For a valuable case study on changing concepts of sacred space in a site of worship controlled by different confessions at different points in history, see Hahn, Philip, “Sensing Sacred Space: Ulm Minster, the Reformation, and Parishioners’ Sensory Perception, c. 1470 to 1640.” Archiv Für Reformationsgeschichte 105, no. 1 (January 2014): 5591 .

64 Duo Scripta, A 6/v: “Postulant autem superstitiosi non tantum recipi et obseuari caermonias, sed etiam superstitiones caeremonijs annexas, sicut ipsi obseruant sua sacra, ita ab alijs obseruari mandant, si aliter obseruentur, sine opinione cultus, et meriti, perinde id habebunt, ac si non obseruentur, nec ferent publicam doctrinam et confessionem repugnantem impijs appendicibus, quae caermonias contaminant idolatria.”

65 Ibid., C 3/r–C 3/v [sic: In the original edition there is typo that repeats C2 for C3]: “Siquidem utcunque uerbis et promißis, literis et syllabis repurgentur Caeremoniae a suis sordibus, tamen reuehunt damnatas superstitionies et errors. Non dubium est, plaerosq; ritus, cum primum instituterentur fuisse experts et incontaminatos a superstitionibus, tamen progressu temporis contaminatos esse peßimis additamentis.”

66 CR 7, 373.

67 Ibid., 377. These impia are the “will-worship” [ἐθελοθρησχεία] mentioned above in note 22. It is worth noting that many of them are instances of speech acts such as vows and consecrations.

68 The most important examples are the prayers that make up the Canon of the Mass. Consult note 21 above.

69 Duo Scripta, C 3/r–C 3/v. See the explanation for the dangers of “human ceremonies” according to the Magdeburg Centuriators in Sexta Centuria Ecclesiasticae Historiae (Basel: Johann Oporinus, 1562), 6,

70 For an analogous point with regard to the metaphor of plague, see Jones, Colin, “Plague and its metaphors in early modern France,” Representations 53 (Winter 1996): 112.

71 An example of Melanchthon's orientation toward the pollution of corrupted theological language comes in his debate with Bishop Julius Pflug about the Canon of the Mass just before the outbreak of the adiaphora controversy (CR 7, 234–247). See Olson, Oliver K. (Matthias Flacius and the Survival of Luther's Reform [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2002], 123) who writes that “Melanchthon was convinced that by preventing the use of the Eucharistic prayer he had saved the Reformation.”

72 Duo Scripta, A 7/r. See Flacius, Liber de veris et falsis adiaphoris, E 3/r.

73 Duo Scripta, B 2/r.

74 Ibid.: “Reiecti dignitas baptismi et sacrae coenae, turba caeremoniarum plurimum est obscurata, nec tamen pericula mouent, quo minus denuo admisceantur sacrosanctis signis traditiones humanae, quae breui tempore iterum obruant promißiones Dei, signis annexas, unde uirtus et dignitats Sacramentorum pendent.”

75 Primus, The Vestments Controversy, 3–16.

76 Bucer, , “Bucer's Letter to à Lasco, October 20th (?), 1550” in Martin Bucer and the English Reformation, ed. Hopf, Constantin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1946), 152153 , 156; Primus, The Vestments Controversy, 53.

77 Hopf, Constantin, “Hooper's ‘Notes’ to the King's Council 3 October 1550,” The Journal of Theological Studies 44, no. 175–176 (July-October 1943): 198: “Atque idem manifeste docet Aaronis sacerdotium, in Christi sacerdotio esse abolitum. Hebr. 7. 8. 9. 10. cum omnibus suis ritibus, vestibus, rasionibus, vnctionibus, Consecrationibus, et similibus.”

78 Bucer, Martin Bucer and the English Reformation, 155.

79 Primus, The Vestments Controversy, 58.

80 “Iam aliquid esse notam Antichristi, in nulla inest re in hoc enim nullae res conditae sunt a Deo: Sed pendet totum a consensu atque in Antichristianismum, et eius professione: quo consensu quaque professione commutatis consensu ac professione Christianismi, nihil potest in rebus ipsis haerere notae Antichristianismi.”

81 Duo Scripta, A 6/r: “Quod si magna amittere nolumus, necesse erit principijs obstare, et conseuare parua, ne maga cum paruis eripiantur, et propter maijora pro minimis retinednis pugnare necesse erit.”

82 See Eire, Carlos, The War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (New York: Cambridge, 1986), 235258 ; as well as Eire, Calvin and Nicodemism: A Reappraisal,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 10, no. 1 (Spring 1979): 4469 .

83 Appendices ad libellos de vitandis superstitionibus,” in Omnia Opera, ed. Cunitz, Edouard, Baum, Johann-Wilhelm, and Reuss, Eduard Wilhelm Eugen (Brunswick: C. A. Schwetschke, 1867) 6:617644 .

84 Ibid., 629.

85 Reinhardt, Henning, “Das Itinerar Des Wolfgang Musculus (1536),” Archiv Für Reformationsgeschichte 97, no. 1 (December 2006): 5051 .

86 Dellsperger, Rudolf, “Leben und Werk,” in Wolfgang Musculus (1497–1563) und die oberdeutsche Reformation, ed. Dellsperger, Rudolf, Freudenberger, Rudolf, and Weber, Wolfgang (Berlin: Akadamie Verlag, 1997). See Bodenmann, Reinhard, Wolfgang Musculus (1497–1563): destin d'un audodidacte lorrain au siècle des Réformes (Geneva: Droz, 2000).

87 For a list of vernacular translations, consult “Druckverzeichnis des Wolfgang Musculus,” in Wolfgang Musculus, ed. Dellsperger, Freudenberger, and Weber, 395–398.

88 Originally published under the pseudonym Eutychius Myo. Proscaerus: Liceat ne homini Christiano, euangelicae doctrinae gnaro, papisticis superstitionibus ac falsis cultibus externa societate commnicare. Dialogi quatuor (Basle: Jakob Kündig, 1549), The pseudonym refers to the character of Eutychius from Acts 20:7–12, a young boy who falls asleep in a window sill listening to Paul's discourse, falls, and sustains what seems to be a life-threatening injury. The biblical text implies that Paul heals the boy, without spelling this out literally. This image of falling asleep, injury, and healing may be read as encapsulating the drama experienced by those who remained in Augsburg and were tempted to choose dissimulation in ritual matters, experienced doubt and despair, like Proscaerus, and were revived by authentic Christian fellowship and teaching.

89 Proscaerus, A 5/r. Musculus explains in his introductory epistle that the name of this character is a Latinized form of the Greek word for “temporizers,” which appears in Matthew 13 (A 2/v). The German rendering of the “temporizer” is Wetterhahn, the weathercock that blows with the wind.

90 Ibid., D 6/r–D 6/v.

91 Ibid., A 6/v and B 1/r.

92 Ibid., A 8/v. Asebius is the Latinized substantive form of the Greek word ἀσέβεια, ungodliness or impiety, in direct opposition to εὐσέβεια, that is, reverence or piety toward gods and parents. A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., s.v. “ἀσέβεια.”

93 Ibid., B 4/v.

94 Ibid., B 5/r.

95 Ibid., B 6/r–B 6/v.

96 Ibid., C 4/r: “Vnum, quo in ipsa sententia, siue illa uera sit, siue falsa, deinde & eodem affectu & spiritu: alterum, quo externo tantum opere ac ritu communicatur.”

97 Ibid., C 4/r.

98 Buc, Philippe, The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton, 2001), 164202 ; Rein, Nathan, Chancery of God: Protestant Print, Polemic, and Propaganda Against the Empire, Magdeburg, 1546–1551 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 106107 .  See Asebius's remarks on A 8/r–A 8/v.

99 Ibid., C 1/r–C 1/v. For the importance of ritual life in the formation of the Christian subject, see Proscaerus, E 7/v. A clue we have as to what Musculus considered to be the ideal form of communal worship and Christian pedagogy comes in his account of the singing of vernacular songs among his congregation at Augsburg. See Dellsberger, “Leben und Werk,” in Wolfgang Musculus, ed. Dellsperger, Freudenberger, and Weber, 33.

100 Proscaerus, C 2/r.

101 Ibid., C 4/v.

102 Ibid.

103 Ibid., C 5/v: “Quia illic gentilis erat adoranda statua, hic uero iuxta quorundam sententiam aliud habetur adorationis genus.”

104 Ibid., C 5/v–C 6/r.

105 Ibid., C 6/r.

106 Ibid., C 6/v: “Quid hoc ad nostram quæstionem facit, quae non concernit res liberas & licitas, sed illicitas? Deinde, in eo quod facio, licet ipsa papstica sacra non probem, meipsum tamen non iudico: hoc est, factum meum non damno.”

107 Ibid., C 6/v.

108 Ibid., C 6/v: “Verum mente illa non atingo, sed corpore duntaxat.”

109 Stollberg-Rilinger, Barbara, “Kneeling before God—Kneeling before the Emperor: The Transformation of a Ritual during the Confessional Conflict in Germany,” in Resonances: Historical Essays on Continuity and Change, ed. Petersen, Nils Holger, Østrem, Eyolf, and Bücker, Andreas (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 149172 ; Seligman, Adam B., Weller, Robert P., Puett, Michael J., and Simon, Bennett, Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), esp. “Introduction,” 3–6, and “Ritual and Sincerity,” 103–130.

110 Pettegree, , Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 8.

111 Ibid., 53, for the communal power of singing in opinion formation.

112 Proscaerus, C 7/v.

113 Ibid., C 8/r: “Igniculum fidei prorsus extinguat.”

114 Ibid., E 6/r.

115 Naaman, the Syrian, receives the protection of the prophet in order that he may serve his master in pagan services without offending God. He converted to the religion of the Israelites after being healed of leprosy by Elisha in 2 Kings 5.

116 Ibid., E 6/v. See Proverbs 26:11, 2 Peter 2:22.

117 Ibid., G 1/v.

118 Proscaerus, E 7/r: “Et huius sese exemplo tuebuntur Christiani, in fide Christi non solum doctrina, sed & mysterijs imbuti, & cognitionem ueritatis ante annos non paucos adepti?”

119 The dialogue notes two famous examples of backsliding Evangelicals who are tormented by the devil and consumed by their conscience on Proscaerus, G 3/v, that is, Francis Spira and Johannes Hoffmeister. The former was especially prevalent in Protestant popular literature. See Hall, David D., Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), 132147 .

120 Proscaerus, G 3/v.

121 Ibid., G 4/v.

122 Ain Sendbrieff Dess Herrn W. Meüszlins Geschrieben inn Bern / an einen Augspurger / im Monat Nouember (Augsburg: Hans Zimmermann, 1551),

123 Musclus, Ain Sendbrieff Dess Herrn W. Meüszlins, A ij/v.

124 Ibid.

125 See Williams, George Huntston, The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed. (Kirksville, Mo.: Truman State University Press, 1992), 989.

126 Ryrie, Alec, “Congregations, Conventicles and the Nature of Early Scottish Protestantism,” Past & Present 191, no. 1 (May 2006): 53.

127 Heschel, Susannah, “Race as Incarnational Theology: Affinities between German Protestantism and Racial Theory,” in Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies, ed. Nasrallah, Laura and Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress, 2009), 211234 . My thanks to Adam Y. Stern for bringing Heschel's work to my attention. For an example relating to liberal Protestant practices of healing, see Klassen, Pamela E., Spirits of Protestantism: Healing, Medicine, and Liberal Protestantism (Berkley: University of California Press, 2011).

128 See Caroline Bynum, Walker, Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); in addition to her article, The Sacrality of Things: An Inquiry into Divine Materiality in the Christian Middle Ages,” Irish Theological Quarterly 78, no. 1 (January 2013): 318 .

I received invaluable feedback for this article from Constance Furey, Amy Hollywood, Mark D. Jordan, David Lamberth, Adam Y. Stern, Travis Stevens, and Kirsten M. Wesselhoeft, all of whom I wish to thank here. Research for this article was conducted with the financial support of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and the Sinclair Kennedy Traveling Fellowship. I received valuable feedback for an early version of this paper from my fellow presenters and the audience during a session of the History of Christianity Unit at the American Academy of Religion's Annual Meeting in San Diego on November 22, 2014.


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