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Marriage Notes

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Marriage Revision

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Preliminary Meeting

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Conservative/radical compared to what?
Events and texts e.g. his marriage
Anabaptist comparison
Is he applying secular ideas of marriage to the clergy or is he rethinking the concept of
marriage in some way?
Changes
‣ Priests can marry
‣ Marriage becomes more holy -­‐ ordination and marriage are no longer
sacraments => secular authorities are in charge of it
‣ Housefather
- How much of this is in Luther?
Interested in personal view
Plummer -­‐ Priest's whore and articles
Use of marriage as a metaphor
Negative views of the flesh
Radical v. conservative -­‐ in relation to traditional
To the Christian Nobility -­‐ a woman may commit adultery in certain circumstances
Anabaptist polygamy
Engagement v. marriage ceremony -­‐ less important as it is no longer a sacrament
‣ Luther has sex with Katerina von Bora first and then the ceremony afterwards
Introduces divorce with remarriage -­‐ new
‣ Catholic Church -­‐ separation from bed and board
‣ Luther -­‐ innocent party can remarry => radical, huge change
- Can only be done if you don't see marriage as a sacrament
Letters -­‐ Luther speaks about his own marriage
Sermons
Additional material from Luther


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VD 16, German Luther's Works and the digitised American edition

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! Passionate love -­‐ could be caused by witchcraft

‣ Luther -­‐ no idea of a soul mate
! Promises of engagement -­‐ must go back to your first partner
‣ Escapes a lot by saying marriage is not a sacrament
! Further radicalism in other groups
‣ Anabaptist bloodfriends
! Goes back to Leviticus -­‐ list of prohibited relations
‣ How do his views change over time?


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! What happens once you get clerical marriage?


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Reordering Marriage and Society in Reformation Germany -­‐ J. F. Harrington
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
pp. 1-­‐283

! Validity of term 'Reformation' has come under attack

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‣ Against periodisation of intellectual history
‣ In favour of social history
Gerald Strauss -­‐ questions social impact or 'success' of religious reforms => minimal
effect of Lutheran indoctrination
Annales school => try to look for social context when discussing religion
Bernd Moeller -­‐ 'socialization' of Reformation scholarship has gone too far
Social change -­‐ great 'revolutionary' men v. gradual, evolutionary change
Difficult to categorise marriage
‣ Social, economic, religious and legal institution
‣ Link between public and private -­‐ basis of social order


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The historiographical perspective
! Limited access to perspectives
‣ 2 kinds of sources -­‐ legal / administrative records and published literary or
intellectual sources
! Teleological inclinations
! Polarised approach
‣ Theorise broadly using limited primary sources => revolutionary version of the
Reformation's effects on marriage
‣ Evolutionary explanations of changes in marriage -­‐ individual reformers and
the Reformation only play minor or peripheral roles
! Argument that the Protestant Reformation produced a marriage doctrine and practice
fundamentally different from Catholicism
‣ Initiated a long process of 'confessional formation' in German society (Ernst W.
Zeeden)
! Historians have looked beyond marriage law and theology => even more source biased
'social' representation
‣ Steven Ozment -­‐ weighted towards self-­‐conscious assessments by
contemporary observers
- Argues for the widespread emergence of a new Protestant married
religious ideal -­‐ in place of the traditional Catholic celibate ideal => fewer
clerical abuses and a more affectionate view of the family overall
✦ Role of emotion in the Reformation
! Jean Leclerq -­‐ Monks and Marriage: A Twelfth Century View
! James Brundage -­‐ 'Carnal Delight: Canonistic Theories of Sexuality'
! Steven Ozment -­‐ When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe
‣ Criticism of source use in reviews by Thomas Safley and Lyndal Roper
! Thomas Safley -­‐ has rejected confessional distinction based on theology => distinction
based on law enforcement
‣ Protestant introduction of divorce
‣ Issue that regulation of marriage compares sprawling Catholic diocese of
Constance with highly centralised Reformed city-­‐state of Basel


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! Scholarship on demographic and economic dimensions of marriage has flourished
‣ Evolutionary interpretation of the Reformation
‣ Long-­‐term European marriage patterns
‣ Age, social status, property transactions (dowry and inheritance), role and
interests of parents and relatives and the importance of the community
! Early modern period (15th-­‐18th centuries) was a time of crucial transition in marital law
and practice -­‐ tied to new economic and demographic forces of market capitalism
! Lawrence Stone and Edward Shorter -­‐ most controversial theory of the 'great
transformation' of European marriage and family
‣ Economically induced change from a communal or 'open lineage' family
structure to that of the modern nuclear family => dramatic transformation of
marriage and family life in England
- Innovative concepts of romantic love, domesticity and maternal love
- General changes in kinship
Criticisms of the general 'European' marriage pattern

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! Others consider the most crucial component in shifting marriage patterns to be dowry
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and inheritance
Anthropological approach -­‐ connections between legal authority, social restrictions,
religious ideology and popular culture
‣ John Bossy -­‐ 'Blood and Baptism: Kinship, Community and Christianity in
Western Europe' (Sanctity and Secularity: The Church and the World)
In contrast to the confessional formation approach, the roles of religious reformers in
such long-­‐term change are often handled in an overtly mechanistic and even dismissive
manner
Protestant Whig approach -­‐ Ozment
Negative view of Ariès


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! Social impact -­‐ looks at reformers themselves => nature, origin and effect of their
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marriage reforms
‣ Still issue of the elite-­‐popular distinction
Goals of reformers provide criteria for evaluating success of reform
Builds on strongest primary sources -­‐ legal and religious elites
Combination of short-­‐term and long-­‐term perspectives
‣ 1555-­‐1619
‣ 12th-­‐17th century
'Secular or religious, Protestant or Catholic, all reformers shared a remarkably similar
view of not only the religious and social ideal of marriage but of the institutional means
to implement such an ideal' (p. 12)
Marriage represented a connection between public and private spheres
‣ Saw a dangerous new individualism at work
- Marriages of minors and sexual morality as a whole
'All marriage reformers also responded with the same solution: ostensibly a restoration
of traditional paternal authority but simultaneously an attempt to redefine 'society' in
terms of Church and State with rulers and pastors as the paternalistic heads' (p. 12)
Not convinced of Roper's argument that 'gender relations . . . were at the crux of the
Reformation itself' (p. 13)
‣ Holy Household

! Reformers remained faithful to an inherited traditional ideology -­‐ 'The true focus of
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Protestant and Catholic marriage reform was not traditional standards and ideals but
their legal enforcement' (p. 14)
Second Reformation of marriage -­‐ that of the State
‣ Secular courts and bureaucracies were more developed in the 15th century =>
challenged ecclesiastical legal authority over marriage
‣ 'Whereas the contemporary religious reformation in most ways represented
the apex of ecclesiastical influence over marriage, the simultaneous
bureaucratic expansion of State authority over marriage marked the starting
demise of ecclesiastical legal jurisdiction' (p. 14)
John Bossy -­‐ gradual social and institutional change => associates this with the decline
of local communal and familial authority during the late medieval and early modern
periods
Uniform high moral standards + underdeveloped bureaucracy (inadequate means of
enforcement) => continuing local authority in both the moral and legal aspects of
marriage
Medieval Christian ideal of holy, consensual and indissoluble marriage
Newer objectives -­‐ greater legal uniformity and sexual discipline


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! Gerald Strauss and other historians have questioned the 'success' of Protestant reforms
! Apart from married ministry of Lutherans and Calvinists, confessional differences seem
to be less important than bureaucratic ones in terms of social impact
! No immediate triumph of governmental or ecclesiastical authority over marriage
! Yet Protestant reformers did succeed in planting at least 2 seeds of legal and ideological
innovation -­‐ divorce and the elimination of the celibate religious ideal

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The geographical perspective
! Holy Roman Empire and Swiss Confederation -­‐ more than 250 independent states
‣ Palatine-­‐Electorate -­‐ Calvinist after 1560
‣ Prince-­‐Bishopric of Speyer -­‐ Catholic throughout the period
‣ Imperial city of Speyer -­‐ officially Lutheran after the Augsburg Peace of 1555

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The nature and origins of 16th century marriage reform
Marriage reform and reformers

! Georg Spalatin -­‐ 'The estate of marriage is the spring from which all authority originates
and flows' (p. 25)
! Beginning of 16th century in Germany -­‐ growing proliferation of tracts and dialogues
satirising state of marriage
‣ Issue of sexual promiscuity
! 'Compared with the dramatic religious and political transformations of the times,
marriage reform might be assumed a peripheral concern among secular and religious
authorities. In fact, it stood by implication at the heart of almost every major legal,
religious and social reform of the period. Marriage and the household, as many early
modern scholars have noted, served not only as the models for all social order, but as its
fundamental building blocks as well' (p. 26)
‣ Luther -­‐ marriage is 'the mother of all earthly laws'
- Grosser Katechismus (1529) -­‐ WA 30/I:152

- Sermon at wedding of Gmund von Lindenau in Merseberg (1545) -­‐ WA

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49:297
✦ 'es ist der eltist stand unter allen der gantzen welt, ja, alle andere
komen aus dem her'
‣ Calvin -­‐ 'inviolable law' of the estate provided the basis for all social order
Strauss -­‐ Luther's House of Learning
‣ Connection between disciplined household and social order
Ubiquitous theme of literature -­‐ linkage of marital, familial and social order
Melanchthon's discourse on the fourth commandment (p. 27) -­‐ Catechismus (1543)
‣ 'What a fine and useful thing it is, this admirable association of people linked in
their several groupings, namely wedlock, civic assembly, government, justice,
law and good discipline'
- Extremely popular hierarchical view of social order
Disintegration of marriage and the family -­‐ frequently linked to crises confronting
religious and political authorities
‣ Historians look at large institutions
‣ 16th century critics consistently saw the problem to be at the level of the
household
- Early Lutheran reformers blamed the Church and its laws

Marital and social disorder
! Until the Reformation, publications calling for legal and religious reform of the
institution were outnumbered by traditional satires
! Third genre -­‐ works calling for legal and spiritual reform => largely an innovation of the
16th century
‣ Attacked Church's handling of marriage as unjust and immoral
‣ Most often -­‐ focused on the pope and his 'false' teachings
! Two worst violations of the natural social order
‣ Marriage of minors without their parents' consent or knowledge
‣ Sexual promiscuity and marital discord
! Source of contemporary breakdown was seen by Lutherans to be due to canon law
‣ Doctrine of clerical celibacy in particular
Origins of popular resentment -­‐ 12th century
Church's formal assumption of exclusive
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legal jurisdiction over marriage
‣ Social institution subjected to authority of religious celibates
! 16th century critics -­‐ accumulated Canon law of marriage was confusing, inequitable,
impractical, arbitrary and easily abused
‣ Enforcement was even worse -­‐ sporadic, ineffective and often corrupt
! Luther -­‐ one of his earliest public indictments of the Canon law of marriage (pp. 28-­‐9)
‣ 'The pope [has made] marriage a sacrament, free yet caught and entangled in
countless strings'
- 'Misuse of the Mass' (1521) -­‐ LW 36:213
- Clandestine marriages -­‐ \Von Ehesachen' (1530) -­‐ WA 3-­‐/III:205-­‐24
‣ Legal system made it both too easy and too difficult to contract marriage
- 'Too easy' -­‐ overly simple consensual basis for validity
- 'Too difficult' -­‐ network of impediments and legalisms
Basis for complaints was
Canon law's recognition of simple vows of consent between
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the marrying couple as the sole requirement for a legitimate and binding union

‣ Marital validity based on word alone -­‐ disobedient minors or unscrupulous
philanderers -­‐ could freely enter or leave a marriage


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! Apparent ineffectiveness of civil and ecclesiastical prohibitions
! Most concurred with Luther's diagnosis that the main culprit was clearly the 'fool's fame'
(Narrenspiel) of the verba de presenti and de futuro formulas -­‐ both represented medieval
canonical attempts to brings gap between worldly marriage contract and sacramental
definitions of 12th century theologians
‣ Simple consent in present tense -­‐ valid union
‣ Vows exchanged in the future tense required consummation for validity -­‐ still
no additional rituals, publicity or parental approval
! Luther -­‐ 'Everything is in such dire confusion that one does not know where to begin,
how far to go and where to leave off'
‣ 'Babylonian Captivity' (1520) -­‐ LW 36:97


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! Issue of impediments -­‐ seen by many as sheer avarice
! Luther -­‐ Church legal authorities are '[sellers] of vulvas and genitals -­‐ merchandise

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indeed most worthy of such merchants, grown altogether filthy and obscene through
greed and godlessness' (p. 32)
‣ 'Babylonian Captivity' (1520)
‣ 'Snares' of impediment are for money
Popular perception of an ever widening gap between marriage in law and in practice
Celibate -­‐ degraded marriage as a second class institution and undermined it in practice
by putting spiritual leaders in unnatural, unbearable and hypocritical situations
‣ Clerical concubinage and adultery
‣ Old topos of the confessor as seducer
‣ Effective polemical tool for early evangelicals -­‐ image of the conscientious
cleric tortured by his or her own religious vows
- Luther's attacks on the inhumanity of the celibate ideal
✦ Also sought out and published sympathetic stories from conflicted
clerics
Erasmus -­‐ concurred with those who found the solitary life 'sad and more suited to
animals than humans, rendering a man more often crazy than pious' (p. 36)
Eberlin -­‐ 'The Lamentations of seven pious but disconsolate priests'
Erasmus -­‐ very 'impossibility' and 'inanity' of celibate vows rendered all clerics, in
conscience if not in action, hypocritical => mockery and 'ruin of [true] Christian piety'
‣ From a letter to Roger Servetus (1514) p. 36
Perception of a hypocritical double standard among self-­‐avowed religious leaders
‣ 'Complaints' of Hans Schwalb

Reordering marriage and society
! 'Attacks on Canon law, Church courts and clerical celibacy seemingly leave little room for
either legal or theological continuity in the reforms to follow. In fact, though, their
guiding idealisation of marriage reflected well-­‐established theological topos from at
least the time of Saint Augustine' (p. 38)
‣ Protestant made extensive use of the same canonical legal tradition so
vehemently condemned in popular literature
- 'The explanation for this apparent contradiction lies in the true nature of
all sixteenth-­‐century marriage reform, namely, improvement of

enforcement rather than rejection of legal and theological heritage' (p.
39)
2 important innovations
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‣ Typically Protestant merging of the secular and the religious into a new,
common standard for all Christians
- Marriage reform was not just done by the clergy -­‐ included lay jurists and
moralists as well
‣ New confidence in legal coercion as an effective means of reform -­‐ endowed
the State with a new moral authority and the Church with a new power of
enforcement
- Earlier reforms had focused on individual reform -­‐ 16th century reforms
aimed for institutional and legal reform as well
‣ More general and gradual ideological transformation of traditional paternal
control over marriage to include both the Church and the State as well


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! Lawyers and theologians -­‐ core of marriage reformers
! Paternal authority -­‐ basis for expanded governmental and ecclesiastical authority over
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marriage
Luther -­‐ 'the three orders of Christian society'
‣ ecclesia -­‐ Church
‣ politica -­‐ State
‣ oeconomia -­‐ household
- 'Ein Sermon von dem Sakrament der Taufe' (1519) -­‐ WA 2:734 and WA
36:504-­‐5
‣ Scriptural sanction and appeals
Ideal of the strong paterfamilias as a remedy to marital and social disorders
By the time of the Reformation, the ancient ideological identification of the authority of
the head of the household with that of the head of government had become so
commonplace in popular literature that the terms themselves -­‐ Hausvater and
Landesvater -­‐ appeared virtually interchangeable at times
‣ Lyndal Roper -­‐ 'obsession' of Augsburg magistrates with tracing such crimes as
prostitution back to improper parental guidance
‣ Roper and Merry Wiesner emphasise the paternalistic tone and language of
almost all German municipal legislation of the period
References to 'fatherly love'
Popular religious reform literature -­‐ missing of political and familial metaphors
‣ Andreas Musculus -­‐ Against the Marriage-­‐Devil (1556)
Increased references to the Gottesvater


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! 'Unlike his medieval predecessors, though, the magistrate or prince of the sixteenth
century was now increasingly presented -­‐ like his household counterpart -­‐ as the source
of authority as well as its instrument of enforcement' (p. 43)
! 3 pillars of early modern society -­‐ Hausvater, Landesvater and Gottesvater
‣ Embodied best hopes of religious and secular reformers in restoring a
disintegrating social order at 3 concentric levels
! Catechistical literature made particularly frequent use of the child-­‐subject analogy
! Marriage reform -­‐ both patriarchal and paternalistic


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