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Religious Institutions and Religious Practices in Tridentine Catholicism


International Workshop

March 19th 2015, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm.

Board Room, 1st Floor, Faculty of History

Organized by Dr Christian Kühner

This workshop will look at religious practices in the age of Tridentine Catholicism as contested and highly political subjects. It will ask how authorities, both political and ecclesiastical, tried to shape religion on the ground, and how the population reacted to these elite projects - and contributed their own ideas and practices to the re-shaping of Catholicism in the wake of the Council of Trent. Moreover, the workshop will look at those groups of persons who acted as mediators of ideas and practices between clerical and secular elites and the mass of the believers (parish priests, religious orders, episcopal commissioners, missionaries) and at those institutions which could serve as multipliers of new religious practices (pious lay people, lay confraternities, new religious orders like the Jesuits). The workshop will also take into account the materiality of early modern religion, linking questions of power and religious reform to devotional objects.

On a theoretical level, the workshop will explore the potential of a stronger integration of questions about the institutional and structural side of early modern Catholicism, which have been examined by the theory of confessionalization, and questions about religious practices and religious everyday life, which have been explored by the cultural history of religion.


Confirmed international speakers include Professor Andreas Holzem (Tübingen), Dr Florian Bock (Tübingen) and Professor Markus Friedrich (Hamburg).

 To register for this free workshop please e-mail Christian Kühner () by 16 March 2015Tridentine1

The workshop will be supported by the George Macaulay Trevelyan Fund.



Introduction: Dr Christian Kühner (Freiburg/Cambridge)


Panel 1: Clergy and laity: leaders and followers?

Chair: Dr Janine Maegraith (Cambridge)

Prof Markus Friedrich (Hamburg): The Jesuit and the Nun - spiritual direction and the production of religious vocation. A case study

Dr Florian Bock (Tübingen): Pastoral Strategies between Confessionalization and Enlightenment (1650-1800). Catholic Sermons and their Implicit Listeners


Coffee break


Panel 2: Religious reform, administrative reform, and religious practices

Chair: Dr Matthew Champion (Cambridge)

Dr Christian Kühner (Freiburg/Cambridge): The confession of sins in Bavaria and Austria after the Council of Trent

Dr Ceri Law (Queen Mary, University of London): Forbidden Networks: Universities and Catholicism in Post-Reformation England




Panel 3: Institutions and Devotions

Chair: Prof Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge)

Prof Andreas Holzem (Tübingen): Tridentine Catholicism in Pictures of Faith. The "Ship of the Church" Symbolizing Institution and Devotion

Suzanna Ivanic (Cambridge): Material and Visual Strategies used to control Domestic Devotion during Recatholization in Prague (1600-1700)


Coffee break


Commentaries and final discussion

Chair: Dr David van der Linden (Cambridge)


Prof Richard Rex (Cambridge)

Dr Mary Laven (Cambridge)