2004-07-12Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/27819
Calvinist and Catholic cities – urban architecture and ritual in confessional Europe
Urban history, at least in Germany, has mainly concentrated on the Medieval and Reformation cities on the one hand and Industrial and Contemporary cities on the other. However, recent debates among Early Modernists have produced the view that ‘confessionalization’, that is the formation of three or four modern church systems based on specific confessions of faith, was one of the most influential factors in producing the fundamental changes that occurred between 1550 and 1650 in Europe. This had a huge effect on the cities of Europe and their inhabitants. This paper compares Catholic and Protestant cities in Europe around 1600 with regard to their specific architecture and their religious and civic rituals. Rites and other religious functions or institutions have always been an important part of urban life. Lewis Mumford refers to religious funeral rites in his magisterial analysis of urban life in a universal perspective: ‘The city of the dead antedates the city of the living. In one sense, indeed the city of the dead is the forerunner, almost the core, of every living city.’ In Europe, the relationship between the Church and the towns or cities was especially close and, in a sense, fundamental because of the medieval history of the European towns and the structure and profile of pre-modern European societies in general. We start with a brief overview of these preconditions for urban life during Europe's confessional period, and then go on to take a closer look at the confessional city itself.
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This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.