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Remembering the ReformationAn Inquiry into the Meanings of Protestantism$

Thomas Albert Howard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754190.001.0001

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1617, 1717

1617, 1717

Commemoration in a Confessional Age

(p.11) 1 1617, 1717
Remembering the Reformation

Thomas Albert Howard

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the first two centenary jubilees of the Reformation in 1617 and 1717 and argues that they are similar in many respects. It makes clear that these commemorations were largely restricted to German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It also shows that these were highly confessional affairs, in which theologians, ecclesiastical figures, and secular princes worked together to commemorate the Reformation. Accordingly, the jubilees exhibited considerable confessional strife between Lutherans and Catholics, but also between Lutherans and Reformed Protestants. Finally, this chapter makes clear the central role the memory of Martin Luther and his 95 Theses played in these commemorations.

Keywords:   1617, 1717, 95 Theses, Martin Luther, Dream of Friedrich the Elector, Ulm, confessionalism, Wittenberg, Protestant League, Saxony

The eternal, all-powerful God has looked upon us graciously and delivered us from the horrible darkness of the papacy and led [us] into the bright light of the Gospel.

(Abraham Scultetus, from a sermon in Heidelberg calling for the first Reformation centenary jubilee, 1617)

And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee year for you…

(Leviticus 25: 10)

The first centennial of 1617 marks a decisive turning point in the social memory of the Reformation, one that would shape future commemorations, even if later ones also came to evince significant discontinuities. At the time, central Europe was characterized by what historians in recent decades have called “confessionalization,” a tight connection between state and faith (whether Lutheran or Catholic), in which the duties of the secular prince and theologians and clergy dovetailed in enforcing religious orthodoxy within their borders. This reality bore testimony to the Peace of Augsburg (1555) and its well-known dictum cuius regio, eius religio (“whose land, their religion”), which allowed the prince to determine the confession of his territories.1

Not surprisingly, then, matters of religious identity stood at the center of commemorations in 1617: questions of biblical exegesis, theological polemics, and eschatological speculation pervade the events of this year. What is more, in the complex realities of the Holy Roman Empire, the line between religion and politics blurred greatly, (p.12) and we might do better to think of the events of 1617 as religio-political in character.2 The commemorations of this year also represent an important moment in the formation of European historical consciousness more generally, and, not least, they solidified the view of Martin Luther in the Protestant imagination as the definitive “great man” of the Reformation, the “Moses” or “Noah” of Christianity in his times.

Commemorating the Reformation in 1617 did not take place without precedents. In the late sixteenth century, a patchwork of different dates had been set aside for annual remembrance. The cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Braunschweig were among the first to introduce regular commemorations of the Reformation. The first two celebrated it in late spring on Trinity Sunday while the latter marked it on the first Sunday of September. In Eisleben, the town where Luther was born and died, the date of his death, 18 February, had been ceremoniously observed since his passing in 1546. Several other areas observed the date of Luther’s birth or baptism each year. Electoral Brandenburg with several other territories singled out for commemoration the acceptance of a new Protestant church order (Kirchenordnung) and/or the first Protestant worship service. Still other places annually marked the formal presentation to the Emperor of the Augsburg Confession (25 June 1530).3 The vast majority of commemorations prior to 1617 either focused on the birth, baptism, or death of Luther or a date marking a territory’s embrace of Protestantism. The date of 31 October 1517 and the “posting of the 95 Theses” (Thesenanschlag) played virtually no role in the earliest commemorations.4 In fact, the only known mention in the sixteenth century of the posting of the 95 Theses—which later became the focus of commemorations—came in a brief “vita” of Luther penned shortly after his death (1546) by Philip Melanchthon and published in the first collected edition of Luther’s writings.5

The circumstances and events of 1617, however, hoisted 1517 into the historical limelight, where it has stayed ever since. Were it not for the occurrences of 1617, in fact, the quincentenary of the Reformation would likely not be designated to occur in 2017.

As the seventeenth century dawned, Protestant territories within the Holy Roman Empire were confronted by several realities that would shape the memory of the Reformation. The first was the threat of an increasingly assertive Tridentine Catholic Church; the second, (p.13) division in their own ranks between Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist) areas. Finally, there existed divisions within Lutheranism—between stricter traditionalists (“Gneiso-Lutherans”) and more moderate (“Philippist”) positions. The former cleaved to the Formula of Concord (1577) as the benchmark of Protestant (read: Lutheran) identity; the latter, the Philippists, inspired by the irenic outlook of Phillip Melanchthon, desired greater openness to the thought of the Swiss reformers, Calvin and Zwingli, especially on the topic of the Eucharist. These complex confessional dynamics fundamentally structured the social environment of the commemorations in 1617.6

In 1607, with other Catholic territories’ nodding approval, Maximillian I of Bavaria reimposed the Catholic faith on the small city of Donauwörth, stirring alarm in many Protestant quarters. This act precipitated in short order the formation in 1608 of the so-called Protestant Union under the (Reformed) leadership of Elector Friedrich V of the Rhineland Palatinate.7 In the years leading up to 1617, leaders and representatives from several Protestant territories, Lutheran and Reformed, met annually to discuss the Catholic threat along with other matters of common concern.

Among the earliest known calls for a centenary celebration came in 1617 in a new year’s sermon given in Heidelberg by the royal chaplain, one Abraham Scultetus (1566–1625), who opined that one hundred years ago “the eternal, all-powerful God has looked upon us graciously and delivered us from the horrible darkness of the papacy (schrecklichen finsternuß deß Bapstthumbs) and led [us] into the bright light of the Gospel.”8 In April 1617 at the Protestant Union’s annual meeting in Heilbronn, Friedrich V followed up by suggesting that a grand commemoration take place between 31 October and 2 November to mark the beginnings of the Reformation. Signatories to his proposal at the assembly included the territorial princes or their deputies of the Palatinate, Anhalt, Brandenburg, Baden-Durlach, and Württemberg, and the imperial cities of Strasbourg, Nuremberg, and Ulm. For the Elector a driving force behind the initiative was the desire to reduce tensions between Lutheran and Calvinist members of the Union. At this time, the latter were not legally recognized in the Holy Roman Empire and, in light of the Catholic threat, desired to build bridges to their Protestant co-religionists, differences and acrimony notwithstanding.9 Exactly what commemorative events were to (p.14) take place was left up to the individual territories, but in a joint resolution from 23 April 1617 the signatories affirmed that during the celebrations all bitterness and personal attacks among Protestants should be suspended and a general thanksgiving offered to God for the recovery and maintenance of the true evangelical faith some 100 years before.10

But the Calvinist–Lutheran rupture could not be elided so easily. As the conciliatory plans of the Protestant league and Elector Friedrich V were being hatched, scholars in Saxon Wittenberg had seized upon the moment to assert their own custodial leadership of Lutheran orthodoxy and rally together the “pure” territories—those that had officially accepted the Formula of Concord (1577) as the benchmark of confessional Lutheranism.11 Already in November of 1616 and again in April of 1617, the dean of the philosophical faculty at Wittenberg, Erasmus Schmidt (1570–1637), made reference to a “jubilee year” (Jobeljahr) or “celebratory year” (Halljahr) year in 1617, recognizing one hundred years since Luther’s initial actions.12 From the outset, inter-Protestant irenicism was not the goal in Wittenberg. Quite the opposite: the then circulating catchphrase “God’s word and Luther’s writings are poison to Papists and Calvinists alike” better captures the mood.13

On 22 April 1617, Wittenberg’s theological faculty wrote to Georg I, Elector of Saxony, requesting that “the first Luther jubilee” (primus Jubilaeus Lutheranus) be “celebrated with festive and heartfelt worship.”14 The Elector heartily approved and the decision was supported by the highest church authorities, the Saxon High Consistory (Oberkonsistorium) in Dresden, which as a body enjoined all other orthodox Lutheran territories in the Empire to observe the centenary. What is more, the Consistory made know that Saxony’s theologians stood ready to provide printed material to all “pure” clergymen to help them correctly celebrate the event.

Wittenberg’s theologians also requested that Georg I issue an official “Order and Instruction” to set things in motion. This transpired on 12 August 1617 when the Elector after consulting with church officials in Dresden called for the first centennial “evangelisches Jubel-Fest” and outlined the time and place of the celebrations, including a list of biblical texts on which the sermons over three days (31 October–2 November) were to be based.15 Deeming many (p.15) preachers ill-fit to reckon adequately with the significance of the occasion, the Dresden court preacher Matthias Hoë von Hoënegg (1580–1645) contributed exegetical guidelines of the biblical passages.16 Among the passages-cum-exegeses, two stand out in significance. The first is Daniel 11: 36, interpreted as a prophecy against the papacy: “[H]e [i.e. the Pope] shall exalt himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation [i.e. the Reformation] is accomplished; for what is determined shall be done.” The second passage is Revelation 14: 6, in which Luther is interpreted as an avenging angel of the Apocalypse: “Then I saw another angel [i.e. Luther] flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.”17 Practically all exegeses equated devout Lutherans with the faithful remnant, “the elect,” and the papacy as the despoiling “Babylon” and/or the seductive Anti-Christ of the Last Days.18

Printed copies of Georg’s “Order and Instruction” and other directives were sent out to Lutheran territories. Saxony manifestly saw 1617 as an opportunity to shore up its authority both against the Catholic threat and against the perceived dilution of the Protestant faith by Calvinists and by the Lutherans who had rebuffed the Formula of Concord. (The latter, “Philippists” were also sometimes derided as “crypto-Calvinists.”) As sermons and pamphlets indicate in the preparation before and during the events between 31 October and 2 November, the first evangelical jubilee was conceived as a commemoration of corrected faith—in contrast to the false and superseded jubilees of the Jews and the Catholics. Rome was the corrupting innovator, it was repeatedly maintained; Luther, heroically, had only returned things to the way they were supposed to be.

Neither Catholic territories within the Empire nor Rome took Protestant developments in 1617 kindly. The Protestant appropriation of the term “jubilee” proved especially vexing. In 1300, as mentioned in the introduction, the first Catholic jubilee had taken place at the instigation of Pope Boniface VIII.19 Originally, these were to take place every 100 years. Later that was reduced to fifty years (following the biblical example in Leviticus 25), but in 1470, it was officially reduced to every twenty-five years. Prior to 1617, highly triumphalist, Tridentine jubilees had taken place in 1575 and 1600; (p.16) the next was scheduled for 1625.20 But faced with the specter of a Protestant jubilee, Pope Paul V, indignant, declared on 12 June 1617 that the remainder of the year was going to be observed as a year of extraordinary jubilee for the Catholic Church. No single period was set for the holy days, but it was to be a time, as the papal bull indicates, of prayer and penance, so that God would protect the true faith from the malice and heresy of its enemies and bring peace and unity to all true Christian princes.21 In short, then, because of the actions of Protestants and retaliation of Catholics, 1617 became a year, we might say, of “dueling jubilees”; to the political and religious battles between Protestants and Catholics in the Empire was now added a symbolic battle over the Christianized meaning of the erstwhile Jewish “jubilee.” The German Jesuit Peter Roest spoke for many of his co-religionists when he called the Protestant celebrations a “pseudo-jubilee” fundamentally displeasing to God.22 A fellow Jesuit, Adam Contze, derided the Protestant divisions on display in the 1617 jubilee, comparing them unfavorably to the “constant” nature of the Catholic Church.23 Roest, Contze, and others also recycled many earlier Catholic images of Luther as an antinomian glutton, minion of Satan, corrupter of the youth, and arch-heresiarch.24

Alas, the Catholic “counter jubilee” will have to fall outside of the scope of this inquiry.25 But what actually happened in Protestant lands between 31 October and 2 November 1617? And what is the general significance of these events for subsequent jubilees and commemorations and for shaping interpretations of the Reformation? A trove of evidence has been left behind in the form of official ordinances and reports, sermons, academic addresses, debates, poems, plays, prayers, pamphlets, broadsheets (Flugblätter), woodcuts, pictorial biographies of Luther’s life, and commemorative coins and medals. Such artifacts made possible what memory theorists call “commemorative rituals” or “rituals of memory,” which have as a key aim “to make the past emotionally present” to the living.26 While the ordinances and records are mostly prescriptive in character, telling us little about how ordinary people experienced the jubilee, they do have much to tell us about how elites planned and orchestrated the celebrations and what they hoped to accomplish through them.

The instructions (Verzeichnus) for the Lutheran imperial city of Ulm are representative of the larger phenomenon; these are particularly (p.17) important, in fact, as the published version recounts some retrospective details of what actually took place—and these do give at least some hints of the popular experience.27 As was the case in other areas, the jubilee in Ulm was celebrated over a three-day period, from 31 October to 2 November. A few days prior, however, on 26 October, the ecclesiastical superintendent of Ulm, one Conrad Dieterich (1575–1635), informed the town’s citizens that for the coming jubilee they were to comport themselves as virtuous Christians, and not be found drinking, disturbing the peace, or in any other disorderly behavior. Instead, they were to listen to sermons, pray, partake of the Eucharist, and reflect on God’s grace for bringing the purified faith to their city. The focal sites of the jubilee were Ulm’s main parish cathedral, the Münster, and the Spitalkirche, or the Hospital Church of the Holy Spirit. Because of the expected large number of participants, additional clergy were brought in from the countryside.28

The entire period was to be treated as a time of high feast: bells were rung before and after services; a full choir with organ was employed during services. The sermon delivered on 31 October at the city cathedral recalled and derided the indulgence trade, while the one on 1 November proclaimed the proper purpose of worship and inveighed against the papal abuse of the mass. Three sermons were delivered on the day of the celebration proper, Sunday, 2 November. The morning sermon took its biblical cue from Psalm 44: 1–4: “God, we have heard with our own ears, our ancestors have told us of the deeds you performed in their days, in days long ago, by your hand.… You it was my King, my God…through you we trampled down our enemies.” This passage served as a touchstone to celebrate Luther and Ulm’s embrace of the evangelical faith. The midday sermon had as its text Psalm 79: 1–9: “God, the pagans [read Catholics] have invaded your heritage, they have desecrated your holy temple.… Pour out your anger on the pagans.” The evening sermon, based on the passages on jubilee from Leviticus 25, drew a sharp contrast between the evangelical jubilee that Ulm was observing and the misguided jubilees of the Jews and Roman Catholics. On the afternoon of 2 November, the record indicates, children were examined in their knowledge of the catechism, and later they received a special medal with a copy of a jubilee prayer in memory of the occasion.29

(p.18) The official instructions for Ulm indicate that similar services with the same biblical texts took place at the Spitalkirche and in all rural parishes under the supervision of the Ulm church council; children in even the smallest villages were given a commemorative keepsake coin. The jubilee trickled into the week following. On Monday, the rector of the Latin school read a poem on the life of Martin Luther, composed for the occasion. On Tuesday, the rector’s assistant delivered an oration on Luther and the Reformation. Later in the week, several orations in Latin were delivered by students, focusing on the topics of Luther’s birth, his studies, his conversion to the evangelical cause, praiseworthy deeds during his life, and his death.30

The record from Ulm provides a glimpse into what took place in other Protestant territories, although differences in detail and emphasis abounded.31 Again, most of the records are prescriptive or else homiletic, illustrating more what elites intended for the jubilee than how commoners experienced it. Despite the differences and recognizing the limitations of the evidence, several common themes recur.

First, and not surprisingly, the person of Martin Luther takes center stage in both the written and visual artifacts from 1617; he emerges as the undisputed hero of the Reformation. Like Moses, he was interpreted to be a chosen messenger, God’s man or instrument (Gottesmann, Gotteswerkzeug), to liberate the faithful from the bondage of “Egypt,” i.e. the papalist false church. Luther was also compared to Elijah or Noah, called by God to speak truth to the world and save a believing remnant. Another stock reference likened Luther to Samson slaying a lion. The Reformer’s image appeared on broadsheets and commemorative medals and coins, and countless references to him occur in sermons from 1617. Mirroring medieval hagiographies of saints, sermons and images recounted key turning points in Luther’s life, such as his decision to become a monk, his anger at indulgences, his burning of Pope Leo X’s bull condemning him, his defiant appearance in 1521 before Charles V at the Diet of Worms, his translation of scripture at the Wartburg castle, his marriage to Katherina von Bora, and his death and burial. Much was made of the disparity between Luther’s stature—“one little monk”—and the bloated, corrupt papalist system that he attacked. The disparity in fact was regularly seen as prima facie evidence that only God could have been behind an (p.19) occurrence of such implausibility.32 David had risen up against Goliath, to mention another frequent biblical analogy from 1617.

1617, 1717Commemoration in a Confessional Age

Figure 1.1. Medals minted for the first centennial jubilee in 1617. Reproduced by permission of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Second, and related, symbols already associated with Luther in the sixteenth century received wide circulation in the jubilee festivities of 1617, influencing subsequent commemorations and shaping Protestant historical consciousness more generally. Three are particularly noteworthy. The first is the so-called “Luther Rose,” an open white rose on a blue field, at the center of which was a red heart emblazoned with a black cross. Luther himself had devised this symbol, adapting it from his family’s coat of arms, and had given it a theological interpretation. The black cross signified death and suffering; the red heart, life; the white rose, peace through justification; and the blue field, heavenly joy. Already in wide circulation in the sixteenth century, the Luther Rose appeared on numerous broadsheets, coins, and medals in 1617.33 The second image is that of a swan. During the heady 1520s and 1530s, the story gained wide currency that the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus from his prison cell had said that, although he might be a weak goose, a more powerful bird would come after him to reform the church. In his funeral sermon for Luther, Wittenberg’s Johannes Bugenhagen (1485–1558) made the coming bird a swan and attributed this line to Hus: “You may burn the goose, but in a hundred years will come a swan that you will not be able to burn.”34 The third symbol was the image of a lamp or light derived from Matthew 5: 14–16: “You are the light of the world.… Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light and life to all in the house.” Frequently, in jubilee artifacts from 1617, the two symbols, swan and light, are joined. In many commemorative medals, for instance, the image of a swan appears on one side, signifying the fulfillment of Hus’s prophecy, while on the other side appears a light or an image of Luther removing a lamp from under a bushel, symbolizing the recovery of the true Gospel from centuries of papalist darkness (Figure 1.1).35

1617, 1717Commemoration in a Confessional Age

Figure 1.2. Luther and Melanchthon with the Electors of Saxony. Artist, Balthasar Schwan, broadsheet from Nuremberg in 1617. Reproduced by permission of University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center, Popular Imagery Collection, image number 301.

Third, as one might expect in a confessional age, a firm link between theological and political authority recurred as a motif in 1617. Absent the Catholic hierarchy in Lutheran lands, the prince came to function first as an “emergency bishop” (Notbischof) and then as the summus episcopus, the titular head of the church and its armed protector.36 In Saxony, a direct connection was made between the (p.20) past support and protection offered to Luther by Elector Friedrich the Wise and the current protection of the church by the elector in 1617, Georg I. A striking example of this relationship appears in an etching done by Balthasar Schwan, as part of a series of broadsheets published in Nuremberg in 1617 (Figure 1.2). Luther and his key ally, Philip Melanchthon, both stand by an altar with Luther pointing to the open Bible with the phrase, “The Word of God remains forever.” The two reformers are flanked by Friedrich the Elector on the left with his sword resting on the altar, a sign of his past protection of the pure faith, and by Georg I on the right, his sword raised in the air, symbolizing his ongoing protection in the present. Variations on this etching were frequently produced for 1617; numerous coins and medals show Friedrich the Wise on one side and Georg I or another Protestant territorial prince on the other.37 As Charles Zika has summed up, “The Jubeljahr [of 1617] links and legitimates the unity of political and religious purpose which is characteristic of the confessional states of the seventeenth century. It is a theme which…[became] even more pronounced in the verbal and visual images used in the centenary celebrations of the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.”38

1617, 1717Commemoration in a Confessional Age

Figure 1.3. The Dream of Friedrich the Wise as depicted in 1617. Artist unknown. Leipzig, 1617. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Many of the jubilee’s symbols and themes powerfully came together in a widely circulated broadsheet from 1617 titled “The Dream of Friedrich the Elector.” The story behind the broadsheet was widely (p.21) (p.22) believed to go back to actual dreams of the Elector of Saxony just before Luther first challenged the indulgence trade. In the dream, the Elector saw a monk, “a true son of the Apostle Paul” and presumably Luther, who, encouraged by a saintly throng, promised to do wonderful things for souls in purgatory—a pressing concern of Friedrich, as the dream occurred just before All Saints and All Souls (1 and 2 November). The saints asked the Elector if the monk could write a special message on the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Friedrich consented and the monk wrote Vom Ablass (Concerning Indulgences). The quill he wrote with was so large that it pierced the ear of a lion (Pope Leo X), tipping the papal tiara from his head—a detail nicely captured in the broadsheet. Various authorities, ecclesiastical and secular, tried to place the tiara back on his head, but to no avail. In a second dream, the Elector saw the lion (Leo X) assembling the estates of the Holy Roman Empire together (upper left in the broadsheet) to plot revenge against the monk. A third dream witnessed many attempts to break the monk’s quill, but since it came from a Bohemian goose, this was a fruitless effort. This reference is, of course, to the story of Hus, who is depicted in the broadsheet (bottom right) being martyred at the stake. What is more, the quill had the property of begetting other quills, which the learned of Europe gathered to spread the monk’s message.39

The story of the dreams had been told many times in the sixteenth century, and in each telling Luther was regarded as the monk of the Elector’s dream. It first appeared in written form in a sermon printed in 1604 by the aforementioned Dresden court preacher, Matthias Hoë von Hoënegg. But the jubilee broadsheet of 1617 (Figure 1.3) represents the first time that it was actually illustrated and widely circulated. Significantly, this was also the first visual image of Luther that explicitly made an association between him and the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church—an image that later became and remains iconic.40 In written or visual form, this image appeared in subsequent jubilees and commemorative occasions and, in the nineteenth century, it “went viral,” as we might say today.

The Reformation jubilee of 1617 set precedents that have enjoyed a long life—and not only with respect to remembering Luther and (p.23) (p.24) the Reformation. Historians of public commemoration in general have credited the first centenary jubilee of the Reformation as having helped inaugurate the modern custom of celebrating 100th anniversaries—in German, Säkularfeier or Säkularfest—of events and institutions with great fanfare.41 This was borne out quickly, for following shortly on the heels of 1617 came 1630, when the Augsburg Confession (1530) was festively remembered in Lutheran cities and territories despite the ravaging of the Thirty Years War.42 In 1639, the Electorate of Brandenburg lavishly commemorated the planting of Protestantism there in 1539; several other territories followed suit. In 1655 the Peace of Augsburg was remembered, whereas a number of areas marked the 150th anniversary of the Reformation in 1667. In all of these jubilees, celebrants often recycled images and motifs from 1617.43

At the sesquicentennial in 1667, it bears mentioning, the then Elector of Saxony, Johann Georg II, first decreed an annual “Reformation Day” (Gedenktag der Reformation) to be observed on 31 October; this became the basis of the annual remembrance—sometimes observed as “Reformation Sunday” on the following Sunday—in many Lutheran countries and churches worldwide.44

In 1717, when the 200th anniversary of the Reformation arrived, some patterns of commemoration had begun to have a fixed character. In preparation, many cities and universities, quite literally, dusted off the planning memoranda and records from 1617 and sought to implement similar “rituals of memory” again, albeit with a new cast of characters and under changed historical circumstances. And yet if we glance forward momentarily, the circumstances in 1717, in fact, shared more in common with 1617 than either year did with 1817, the 300th anniversary, which took place after a series of truly watershed events—the European-wide Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806.

But before pressing ahead to 1817, it is worth pausing briefly to consider several distinctive aspects of the 200th anniversary.45 For starters, the 1717 jubilee took place after Calvinism had become a recognized religion in the Empire as a consequence of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.46 Although the significance of the year was not altogether lost on Calvinists areas, 1717 was much more a confessional (p.25) Lutheran affair than 1617—the idea of a unified Protestantism being largely a thing of the past. What is more, political Catholicism had receded as a force by 1717; Lutheran and Reformed communities, therefore, enjoyed more secure and separate identities than had been the case in 1617 prior to the Thirty Years War—which included among its complex set of causes the Habsburg monarchy’s desire to root out all forms of Protestantism from central Europe. More parity between the confessions existed in 1717, in short; the political urgency of commemoration had lessened even if it had by no means subsided.47

A medal minted in Nuremberg for the 1717 jubilee nicely illustrates the altered situation of Protestantism. On the side representing the first jubilee of 1617, a female figure symbolizing the (Lutheran) Church stands on the crescent of the moon with twelve stars around her head, looking up anxiously to a sun covered by clouds. On the side representing 1717, by contrast, she sits in serene certainty with palm branches in hand.48 The relative novelty of Protestant confessions, facing a host of threats, had given way to their taken-for-granted existence. The Lutheran sense of security manifested itself in the popularity of a rhyme: “The Word of God and Luther’s Teaching will never pass away” (Gottes Wort und Luthers Lehr wird vergehen nimmermehr). At the same time, an entrenched anti-Catholic sentiment threaded the events and rhetoric of 1717 as it had earlier in 1617.49

The person of Luther remained at center stage in 1717. While much stayed the same on this score, some things had changed. A particularly intriguing novelty was the prominence of the so-called “incombustible Luther” (unverbrannter Luther) motif during the bicentennial jubilee year. In the seventeenth century, a number of stories had arisen of the miraculous survival of images of Luther in fires that had consumed houses and churches. The first of these occurred in 1634, when the study of a pastor near Mansfeld burned to ashes with the exception of an engraved image of Luther. This story was joined by another in 1689 when the house in Eisleben where Luther was born partially burned; a portrait of Luther was found in the debris purportedly wholly untouched by the flames. The accumulation of several similar stories led the Eisleben pastor Justus Schoepffer in 1717 to record them in a book, The Incombustible Luther: Stories of the Image of Luther Miraculously Preserved from Fire by the Special Providence of God, first published in Latin; a second, German edition appeared later in the (p.26) century.50 Widely attributed to God’s miraculous intervention, these occurrences, in the eyes of the faithful, gave ongoing, assuring evidence of Luther’s special role in the drama of history and salvation.

In 1717, political absolutism, buttressed intellectually by belief in the so-called “divine right of kings,” stood at its apex across Europe. While state power and dynastic ambitions were certainly apparent in 1617, they were arguably even more on display in 1717. On coins, medallions, and other memorabilia from the jubilee, family coats of arms and images of reigning princes positively appear to compete for attention with images of Luther and other religious symbols.51

At the same time, the inertial force of confessional divisions placed limits on what a prince could or could not do. The (Reformed) Prussian king and Elector of Brandenburg, Friedrich Wilhelm I (r. 1713–40), for example, did not observe the 200th jubilee at court, but he made allowance for his Lutheran subjects to do so.52 Even so, some Reformed pastors sought to strike a note of irenicism, at least between Calvinists and Lutherans. One pastor in Berlin, for example, used 1717 to advocate for both “civil peace” and “ecclesiastical peace.” “Nothing brings the Church more misfortune,” he argued, “than conflict and bickering, while nothing…helps spread religion more than harmony and peace.”53

Astoundingly, the Saxon Elector Friedrich August (r. 1694–1733) had converted to Catholicism in 1697, but cognizant of the fear that this provoked among Lutherans, he had transferred to a government board, the Privy Council, the authority over churches and universities, which until then had been exercised substantially by the sovereign. The Privy Council in turn largely ceded matters to the Lutheran High Consistory in Dresden, which made clear that it planned to mark the occasion in 1717 “just as it had 100 years ago.”54 Oddly then, the vast majority of people in the territorial birthplace of the Reformation, the Electorate of Saxony, robustly observed the 1717 jubilee while an aloof, Catholic ruler—still nominally the head of the church there!—looked on.55

The 200th anniversary jubilee stood on the cusp of several major intellectual developments in European thought that would greatly impact future commemorations of the Reformation and interpretations of Protestantism. The early Enlightenment (Frühaufklärung) had begun to make its presence felt in some central European (p.27) universities and cities. Intellectuals such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) and Christian Thomasius (1655–1728)—figures hardly conceivable from the rigidly confessional standpoint of 1617—had begun to transport ideas from the emergent natural sciences into the domains of theology, politics, and history. In Leibniz, one even finds proto-ecumenical strains of thought. In his outlook, Reformation-era divisions had wounded the universal, “catholic” mission civilisatrice that Europe ought to advance.56 Restoring lost unity, not interminable theological polemics, was for him the imperative of the day.57

Equally important, the emergence of the reforming spiritual currents known as Pietism in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, notably at the new University of Halle (1694), had begun to call into question, on religious grounds, the strict confessionalism of the times. In the late seventeenth century, two innovative church histories appeared: Historia Lutheranismi (1694) by Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf and History of the Church and Heresy (1699) by Gottfried Arnold. Evincing both enlightened and Pietist elements, these two works adumbrated a historiographical approach to the Reformation that moved beyond the dogmatic and hagiographical tendencies of earlier works.58 What is more, both authors—in a different, more explicitly religious key than Leibniz—gave voice to the concern for Christian reunion, striking an irenic tone uncharacteristic of their age.59 “What could I more desire,” Seckendorf wrote, “than [if]…foes and persecutors became brothers and fellows, acknowledging with us the pure faith with pure hearts and lips, and in common zeal restoring piety.”60 In a 1717 jubilee sermon, August Hermann Francke, Pietism’s leading light, made a sharp distinction between Luther per se and the spiritual message that he had transmitted, encouraging his listeners to concentrate on the latter, not the former.61

Such accents of thought made their presence felt in the jubilee events of 1717 (Figure 1.4). But, one hastens to add, they did so only faintly. In the final analysis, neither the Enlightenment nor Pietism ruled the day; older strains of Lutheran confessionalism still provided the keynote for the 200th anniversary. The “spirit of the Enlightenment” can be detected here and there in 1717, Hans-Jürgen Schönstädt has concluded, but in its “essential characteristics” 1717 followed dutifully from the script of 1617.62 From his analysis of the (p.28) (p.29) coins and medals minted in 1717, Hugo Schnell has echoed that “a uniform witness of the uninterrupted dominance of Lutheran orthodoxy, of the traditional categories of interpretation of the Reformation, and of the boundless reverence for the person of Martin Luther” persisted between 1617 and 1717.63 “Motifs of an enlightened or Pietist provenance found scant entry in the sources from 1717,” Harms Cordes has even more firmly concluded; “it is much more the case that…the attempt was undertaken to ratify the values and ideas understood as orthodox-Lutheran.”64 1717 demonstrated how firmly precedent had become protocol.

1617, 1717Commemoration in a Confessional Age

Figure 1.4. Title-page of Ernst Saloman Cyprian’s Hilaria Evangelica, oder Theologisch-Historischer Bericht vom andern Evangelischen Jubel-Fest (1719), an overview of all 1717 commemorations in Europe. Photo courtesy of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library.

In summary, then, while different historical circumstances were present in 1717, and several new intellectual sensibilities had begun to trickle into view, the jubilee of 1717 by and large was cast in the same mold as 1617.65

The 300th anniversary jubilee of 1817 cracked the mold.



(1.) On confessionalization in general, see Heinz Schilling, Konfessionalisierung und Staatsinteressen (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2007); Joel F. Harrington and Helmut Walser Smith (eds) “Confessionalization, Community, and State Building in Germany, 1555–1870,” Journal of Modern History, 69 (1997): 77–101. For an evaluation (and criticism) of the so-called “confessionalization thesis,” see Hans J. Hillerbrand, “Was there a Reformation in the Sixteenth Century,” Church History, 71 (2003): 525–53. For confessionalization and German national identity in the modern era, see Wolfgang Altgeld, Katholizismus, Protestantismus, Judentum: Über religiös begründete Gegensätze und nationalreligiöse Ideen in der Geschichte des deutschen Nationalismus (Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald, 1992); Helmut Walser Smith, German Nationalism and Religious Conflict: Culture, Ideology, Politics, 1870–1914 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995); Heinz-Gerhard Haupt and Dieter Langewiesche (eds), Nation und Religion in der deutschen Geschichte (Frankfurt a.M.: Campus Verlag, 2001); and Keith H. Pickus “Native Born Strangers: Jews, Catholics and the German Nation,” in Michael Geyer and Hartmut Lehmann (eds), Religion und Nation, Nation und Religion: Beiträge zu einer unbewältigten Geschichte (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2004), 141–56.

(2.) R. J. W. Evans et al. (eds), The Holy Roman Empire, 1495–1806 (Oxford: OUP, 2011), 8–11.

(3.) The publication of The Book of Concord (1580), an authoritative compendium of Lutheran confessional teachings, was intentionally done to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (1530). See Paul Timothy McCain et al. (eds), Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord (St Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), xviii. (p.30)

(4.) Hans-Jürgen Schönstadt, “Das Reformationsjubiläum 1617: Geschichtliche Herkunft und geistige Prägung,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 93 (1982): 5–6.

(5.) “In hoc cursu cum esset Lutherus, circumferuntur venales indulgentiae in his regionibus a Tecelio Dominicano impudentissimo sycophanta, cuius impiis et nefariis concionibus irritatus Lutherus, studio pietatis ardens, edidit Propositiones de Indulgentiis, quae in primo Tomo monumentorum ipsius extant, Et has publice Templo, quod arci Witebergensi contiguum est, affixit pridie festi omnium Sanctorum anno 1517.” See Philippi Melanchthonis Opera, ed. C. G. Bretschneider, in Corpus Reformatorum, vi (Halle, 1839), 161. In addition, Luther made an indirect reference to the theses (although he mentions nothing about the castle church door) in a letter dated 1 Nov. 1527 to his friend, Nikolaus von Amsdorf, remarking to him that he and some friends had celebrated in his house on 31 Oct. 1527 ten years since the “trampling down of indulgences.” See Luthers Werke: Briefwechsel, iv 4 (Weimar, 1933), no. 1164, 75.

(6.) For an overview of the confessional situation in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, see Thomas A. Brady, German Histories in the Age of the Reformation, 1400–1650 (Cambridge: CUP, 2009), 259–318. On the theological arguments that divided Gneiso-Lutherans and Philippists, see Eric W. Gritsch, A History of Lutheranism, 2nd edn (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010), 91–106 and R. Kolb, “Dynamics of Party Conflict in the Saxon Late Reformation: Gnesiolutherans vs. Philippists,” Journal of Modern History, 49 (1977): 1289–305.

(7.) Catholic territories founded their own Catholic League in retaliation in 1609. On the founding of the Protestant Union and Catholic League, see Axel Gotthard, “Protestantische ‘Union’ und katholische ‘Liga’—subsidäre Strukturelemente oder Alternativentwürfe,” in Volker Press (ed.), Alternativen zur Reichsverfassung in der Frühen Neuzeit? (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1995), 81–112.

(8.) Quoted in Gustav Benrath, Reformierte Kirchengeschichtsschreibung an der Universität Heidelberg im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Speyer: Veröffentlichung des Vereins für Pfälzische Kirchengeschichte, 1963), 37–8.

(9.) On the origins of the Lutheran split with Swiss Reformed Protestantism, see B. A. Gerrish, “Discerning the Body: Sign and Reality in Luther’s Controversy with the Swiss,” Journal of Religion, 68 (1988): 377–95.

(10.) Hans-Jürgen Schönstädt, Antichrist, Weltheilsgeschehen und Gottes Werkzeug: Römische Kirche, Reformation und Luther im Spiegel des Reformationsjubiläum 1617 (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1978), 13–15.

(11.) In effect, this meant the desire to exclude not only Reformed territories, but those, such as the cities of Nuremberg and Strasbourg, which had not signed the Book of Concord. See Eric W. Gritsch, A History of Lutheranism, 2nd edn (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010), 91ff.

(12.) Schmidt’s utterances are the first known evidence of awareness of the historical significance of 1617. See Schönstädt, Antichrist, 12–13.

(13.) “Gottes Wort und Lutheri Schrift sind des Papst und Calvini Gift,” noted Andreas Öhler, “Martinus nach Maß,” Christ & Welt, 52 (2014).

(14.) Quoted in Schönstädt, Antichrist, 16. Cf. Friedrich Loofs, “Die Jahrhundertfeier der Reformation an den Universitäten Wittenberg und Halle 1617, 1717, 1917,” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Kirchengeschichte in der Provinz Sachsen, 14 (1917): 5. (p.31)

(15.) Quoted in Schönstädt, Antichrist, 18. An English translation (with commentary) of this order was made; see W. Jones, The Duke of Saxonie his iubilee: with a short chronologie of God. Both shewing the goodnesse of God, in blessing the Gospel of Christ, since Luther first oppossed the Popes pardons (London, 1618).

(16.) On Hoënegg and his role during 1617, see Wolfgang Sommer, Die lutherischen Hofprediger in Dresden: Grundzüge ihrer Geschichte und Verkündigung im Kurfürstentum Sachsen (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2006), 137–65.

(17.) In 1617, a broadsheet was printed, depicting Luther as the avenging angel causing terror in the faces of the Pope and clergy. See Wolfgang Harms, Illustrierte Flugblätter aus den Jahrhunderten der Reformation und der Glaubenkämpfe 24 Juli bis Oktober 1983: Kunstsammlung der Veste Coburg (Coburg: Kunstsammlung der Veste Coburg, 1983), 86–9.

(18.) Ibid. 144–5. The association of Luther with the Angel of the Apocalypse can be traced to Luther’s funeral sermon delivered by Johannes Bugenhagen. E. W. Zeeden, Martin Luther und die Reformation im Urteil des deutschen Luthertums: Dokumente zur inneren Entwicklung des deutschen Protestantismus von Luthers Tode bis zum Beginn der Goethezeit, ii (Freiburg im Bresigau, 1952), 15.

(19.) Stricher, “L’Année jubilaire et la tradition catholique,” Foi et Vie, 99 (2000): 73–86. A well-known painting of the proclamation of the 1300 jubilee by Giotto is found in the Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome.

(20.) On the first Catholic jubilee after the Council of Trent in 1575, see Barbara Witsch, “The Roman Church Triumphant: Pilgrimage, Penance, and Processions. Celebrating the Holy Year of 1575,” in Barbara Witsch and Susan Scott Munshower (eds), Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1990), 82–117. Cf. Christopher Hibbert, Rome: Biography of a City (New York: W. W. Norton, 1985), 165ff. On the Catholic jubilee tradition in general, see Herbert Thurston, The Holy Year of Jubilee (New York: AMS Press, 1980). On the biblical roots of the jubilee, see Leonardo De Chirico, “The Biblical Jubilee,” Evangelical Review of Theology, 23 (1999): 347–62.

(21.) See Ruth Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel: Form und Funktion der illustrierten Flugblätter zum Reformationsjubiläum in ihrem historischen und publizistischen Kontext (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 1982), 30–3, and Charles Zika, “The Reformation Jubilee of 1617: Appropriating the Past through Centenary Celebration,” in D. E. Kennedy (ed.), Authorized Pasts: Essays in Official History (Melbourne, 1995), 84.

(22.) Peter Roest, Pseudojubilaeum, anno septimo decimo supra millesimum sexcentesimum, calendis novembribus, insolenti festivitate a Lutheranis tum ob dari coeptas majorum nostrorum religioni in Germania tenebras, tum ob memoriam Martini Lutheri, apostatae selectissimi, celebratum... (Molsheim, 1618); quoted in Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel, 236.

(23.) Adam Contzen, Iubilum iubilorum iubilaeum: Et pies lacyrmae omnium Romano-Catholicorum ad imperatorem aug. reges, principes, respublicas, populos (Monguntiae, 1618).

(24.) There were also several Catholic medals minted in 1617 disparaging Luther and the Reformation. See Frederick J. Schumacher, “Luther’s Greatness Reflected in Numismatic Art,” TAMS [Token and Medal Society] Journal, 24 (Oct. 1984): 176–7.

(25.) The anti-Lutheran activities of the 1617 Catholic jubilee are treated in some detail in Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel, 29–33, 226–47. Cf. Joseph Schmidlin, Die (p.32) katholische Restauration im Elsass am Vorabend des Dreissigjährigen Krieges (Strassbourg: Herder, 1934), 305–30.

(26.) Jeffrey M. Blustein, Forgiveness and Remembrance: Remembering Wrongdoing in Personal and Public Life (Oxford: OUP, 2014), 205. Cf. Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: CUP, 1989). On the fascinating use of drama recounting the life of Luther and shoring up confessional identity, see Detlef Metz, Das protestantische Drama: Evangelisches geistliches Theater in der Reformationszeit und im konfessionellen Zeitalter (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2013).

(27.) Ulm, it should be noted, was firmly in the Gnesio-Lutheran camp and a signatory to the Formula of Concord; different emphases occurred at cities inclined toward “Philippist” currents and in Reformed areas.

(28.) See the Verzeichnus wie auf christliche anordnung eines Ersamen Raths das Evangelische Jubelfest allhier zu Ulm 1617.2 Novemb. Freylich begangen, in Conrad Dieterich, Zwo Ulmische Jubel und Danckpredigten (Ulm, 1618). Cf. Schönstädt, Antichrist, 64–7.

(29.) Dieterich, Zwo Ulmische Jubel und Danckpredigten, 9ff. Cf. Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel, 62–3.

(30.) Zika, “Reformation Jubilee of 1617,” 86.

(31.) Schönstadt, Antichrist, 20–85, and Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel, 34–102.

(32.) Zika, “Reformation Jubilee of 1617,” 96.

(33.) Kastner, Geistlicher Rauffhandel, 183.

(34.) Quoted in Robert Scribner, Popular Culture and Popular Movements in Reformation Germany (London: Hambledon Press, 1987), 327. Cf. A. Hauffen, “Husz eine Gans – Luther ein Schwan,” in Untersuchungen und Quellen zu germanischer und romanischer Philologie, Prager deutsche Studien, 9 (Prague, 1908), 1–28.

(35.) Heinrich Gottlieb Kreussler, Luthers Andenken in Jubel-Münzen (Leipzig, 1818), plate 2, and Scribner, Popular Culture and Popular Movements, 342–3. Cf. Schumacher, “Luther’s Greatness in Numismatic Art,” 171–9.

(36.) Lewis Spitz, “Luther’s Ecclesiology and his Concept of the Prince as Notbischof,” Church History, 22 (1953): 113–41.

(37.) John Roger Paas, The German Political Broadsheet: 1600–1700, ii (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1986), 111 (plate 302). The imperial city of Nuremberg was not a signatory to the Formula of Concord and hence more open to portraying Melanchthon, whose legacy was then sharply criticized by the Gneiso-Lutherans in Saxony and elsewhere.

(38.) Zika, “Reformation Jubilee of 1617,” 99.

(39.) Harms and Schilling, Deutsche Illustrierte Flugblätter, ii. 222–3. Cf. Hans Volz, “Der Traum Kurfürst des Weisen vom 30./31. Oktober 1517: Eine bibliographisch-ikonographische Untersuchung,” Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 45 (1970): 174–211.

(40.) Hartmut Lehmann, Luthergedächtnis 1817 bis 2017 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012), 17.

(41.) Zika, “Reformation Jubilee of 1617,” 78. Prior to the Reformation jubilee of 1617, there had been a number of centenary anniversaries of the founding of German universities. The custom appears to have migrated from marking a university’s 100th anniversary to that of the Reformation at large. On this point, see Flügel and Dornheim, “Die Universität als Jubliäumsmultiplikator in der Frühen Neuzeit,” Jahrbuch für Universitätsgeschichte, 9 (2006): 51ff. (p.33)

(42.) Angelika Marsch, Bilder zur Augsburger Konfession und ihren Jubiläen (Weißenhorn: Anton H. Konrad, 1980), 55ff., and Alfred Galley, Die Jahrhundertfeiern der Augsburgischen Konfessionen von 1630, 1730 und 1830 (Leipzig: Dörffling & Franke, 1930).

(43.) Hans-Jürgen Schönstadt, “Das Reformationsjubiläum 1717: Beiträge zur Geschichte seiner Entstehung im Spiegel landesherrlicher Verordnungen,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 93 (1982): 58–61. Cf. Justus Kutschmann, Ein Dithmarscher Wandteppich: Biblische Szenen zum Reformationsjubiläum 1667 (Berlin: Verein der Freunde des Museums für Deutsche Volkskunde, 1988).

(44.) Karl-Heinrich Bieritz, “Reformation Day,” in Religion in Past and Present, 4th edn, x (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 709. (Hereafter RPP.)

(45.) The events of the 1717 commemoration are well-documented in a large work that appeared in 1719 by the theologian and librarian Ernst Saloman Cyprian, who also served as a Privy Councilor to Duke Friedrich II of Saxony-Gotha. Cyprian was also an influential planner of the 1717 jubilee, commissioned in fact by the Duke to compile various ordinances and instructions from the 1617 jubilee. See his Hilaria Evangelica, oder Theologisch-Historischer Bericht vom andern Evangelischen Jubel-Fest. Nebst III. Büchern darzu gehöriger Acten und Materien, deren das erste, die obrigkeitlichen Verordnungen, und, viele historische Nachrichten, das andere, Orationes und Programmata Jvbilaea, das dritte, eine vollständige Beschreibung der Jubel-Medaillen begreiffet [von Christian Schelgeln] mit Kupffern, Summarien und einem nützlichen Register (Gotha: M. G. Weidemann, 1719).

(46.) Bernd Hey (ed.), Der westfälische Frieden 1648 und der deutsche Protestantismus (Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, 1998).

(47.) Harm Cordes, Hilaria evangelica academia: Das Reformationsjubiläum von 1717 an den deutschen lutherischen Universitäten (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006), 13.

(48.) Hugo Schnell, Martin Luther und die Reformation auf Münzen und Medaillen (Munich: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1983), 65, 181 (image 156).

(49.) Cyprian, Hilaria Evangelica, 47ff. Sometimes anti-Catholic sentiment erupted into intimidation of and even violence against Catholics as demonstrated by an episode from Leipzig in 1717 when a group of rowdy Protestant students roughed up a Catholic priest. See Cordes, Hilaria evangelica academica, 66. However, some princes, who had sizeable Catholic minorities in their land or else Catholic neighbors, sought to moderate anti-Catholic polemics. See Ruth Kastner, “The Reformer and the Reformation Anniversaries,” History Today, 33 (1983): 24.

(50.) Justus Schoepffer, Lutherus non combustus sive enarratio de D. M. Luthero eiusque imagine singulari providentia dei T. O. M. duplici vice ab igne miraculosa conservata (Wittenberg, 1717). The 2nd edn appeared as Unverbrannter Luther, oder historische Erzählung von D. Martin Lutheri und dessen Feuer erhaltenen Bildnissen (Wittenberg, 1765–6). See Scribner, Popular Culture and Popular Movements, 323–30, and Stephan Horst, “Das evangelisch-Jubelfest in der Vergangenheit,” Deutsch-Evangelisch—Monatsblätter für den gesamten deutschen Protestantismus, 8 (1917): 10.

(51.) Schnell, Martin Luther and die Reformation, 153–88.

(52.) Schönstadt, “Das Reformationsjubiläum 1717,” 79. On the conversion of the Hohenzollern monarchy from Lutheranism to Calvinism in the early seventeenth century, see Rudolf von Thadden, “Luther in Preussen,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 79 (1988): 5–26, and Bodo Nischan, Prince, People, and Confession: The Second (p.34) Reformation in Brandenburg (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), 81–110.

(53.) Eine Predigt von der geistlichen Einigkeit und Kirche-Frieden über die Worte Pauli Eph[esian] 4 v. gehalten an dem Reformations-Jubel-Fest den 31. October 1717 (Berlin, 1717). Only the pastor’s initials, F. S., are provided.

(54.) Quoted material taken from Schönstadt, “Das Reformationsjubiläum 1717,” 79.

(55.) The Saxon electors were also traditionally the head of the corpus evangelicorum in the Holy Roman Empire. Friedrich August and his Catholic successors remained in this seemingly incongruent role until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806. See Joachim Whaley, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, ii. From the Peace of Westphalia to the Dissolution of the Reich, 1648–1806 (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 76–7.

(56.) Ruth Rouse and Stephen Charles Neill (eds), A History of the Ecumenical Movement, 1517–1948 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954), 113.

(57.) Michael J. Murray, “Leibniz’s Proposal for Theological Reconciliation among the Protestants,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 76 (2002): 623–46.

(58.) Ernst Walter Zeeden, The Legacy of Luther, tr. Ruth Mary Bethell (London: Hollis & Carter, 1954), 55ff., 90ff.

(59.) An earlier exception to the strict confessionalism can be found in the irenic thought of Georg Calixtus, who taught at the University of Helmstedt. See Thomas Albert Howard, Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 79. Cf. E. L. T. Henke, Georg Calixtus und seine Zeit, 2 vols. (Halle, 1853, 1860).

(60.) Quoted in Zeeden, Legacy of Luther, 61. Cf. A. G. Dickens and John M. Tonkin, The Reformation in Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 114ff.

(61.) Francke, “Der Zuruf Christi: An seine jubilirende Evangelische Gemeine” (31 October 1717), noted in Cordes, Hilaria evangelica academica, 44. Cf. Gérald Chaix, “Reformation,” in Etienne François and Hagen Schulze (eds), Deutsche Erinnerungsorte, ii (Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2001), 13. For a fuller treatment of Francke’s views on Luther and Lutheranism, see Erhard Peschke, Bekehrung und Reform: Ansatz und Wurzeln der Theologie August Hermann Franckes (Bielefeld: Luther-Verlag, 1977), 136–49.

(62.) Schönstädt, “Das Reformationsjubiläum 1717,” 69, 107–9.

(63.) Schnell, Martin Luther und die Reformation, 71.

(64.) Cordes, Hilaria evangelica academica, 308.

(65.) Rainer Fuhrmann, Das Reformationsjubiläum 1817: Martin Luther und die Reformation im Urteil der protestantischen Festpredigt des Jahres 1817 (Bonn: V+V Sofortdruck, 1973), 19.