14 October - Grace and favour; The reception of religious converts at the University of Tübingen, 1553-1634

School of History, UCC

Dr Richard Kirwan, Department of History, University of Limerick

Thursday, 14 October 2021, 16.00 (4 PM); 

The paper will be delivered though MS Teams. Please, contact Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel, School of History, UCC, to obtain a Teams link: j.aandewiel@ucc.ie

Paper As a consequence of the Reformation, the universities of the Holy Roman Empire became divided along confessional lines. The religious settlement that was the Peace of Augsburg embedded these divisions and intensified the concern for confessional orthodoxy in the universities. This in turn led to efforts to ensure the conformity of university scholars to prescribed orthodoxies. One category of scholars that was especially vulnerable in these environments of scrutiny comprised those who wavered in their religious beliefs and confessional allegiances. Such figures often fled or were purged from incompatible host institutions. The fact that the universities of the Empire were divided by faith, however, opened the possibility of a new start to scholars willing to adhere to an alternative confessional orthodoxy. In this paper, I will examine the efforts of the Lutheran University of Tübingen to establish itself as a refuge for religious exiles with a focus on converts.

I will consider the motivations that led the university to offer succour to these scholars. I will examine the institutional structures that were put in place to house, re-educate and discipline religious exiles. Finally, I will discuss how refugee converts negotiated this regime of scrutiny and interacted with suspicious host communities. Dr Richard Kirwan is a Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick. Dr Kirwan specialises in early modern European history with a focus on the German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. His research interests include the social and cultural history of the early modern world of learning, early modern print culture, and Reformation history. Dr Kirwan's publications include Empowerment and Representation at the University in Early Modern Germany: Helmstedt and Würzburg, 1576-1634 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009), the edited volume Scholarly Self-Fashioning and Community in the Early Modern University (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), and the co-edited volume Specialist Markets in the Early Modern Book World (Leiden: Brill, 2015).

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