The funeral sermons of the Electors of the Palatinate in the 1540s – 1570s: the first biographies?

Berezhnaya, N. A.
Nadgrobnye propovedi na smert’ pfal’tsskikh kurfyurstov 1540-kh — 1570-kh gg.: Pervye biografii? [The funeral sermons of the Electors of the Palatinate in the 1540s–1570s: the first biographies?], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture. 2017. Vol. 3 (2). P. 75108.

Natal’ya Aleksandrovna Berezhnaya, doctor of History, senior lecturer, Institute of History, St. Petersburg State University (199034, Rossiya, Sankt-Petersburg, Mendeleevskaya liniya, 5)

Language: Russian

The present article examines the funeral sermons on the death of four Palatine electors of the reformation: Louis V (Adam Bartlme (Bartolomäus), 1544), Frederick II (Hieronymus Rauscher, 1556), Otto Henry (Bartholomeus Wolffhart, 1559) and Frederick III (Johannes Schechsius, Daniel Tossanus, 1576). The author analyses the early biographical references and notes on what events in the life of the deceased princes the pastors emphasis, what virtues were considered worthy of nobility. Lutheran and Calvinist theologians, trying to influence the potential audience, described the religious choice of the Palatinate princes depending on the specific religious situation (Augsburg Interim, Peace of Augsburg, assistance to the French Huguenots). Most historians (R. Lenz, K. N. Moore, M. J. Haemig, R. Kolb) believe that biographies of the funeral sermons have individuality only in the middle or the end of the 17th century. The study of noble (M. J. Halvorson) and princely funeral sermons shows that many of individual details were also in the texts in the last quarter of the 16th century. Of great importance was the factor of the private acquaintance of the pastor with the deceased – if they knew each other well, they were coreligionists, the sermon would be more detailed and personal. This belief is well illustrated by the funeral sermon of Daniel Tossanus dedicated to the «father of the Calvinist Reformation» Frederick III: the first time we are dealing not just with religious polemics with occasional references to specific subjects, but with an attempt to create a full portrait of the prince, to tell not only about political events, but also about the youth of Friedrich, his interests, his family.

Key Words: funeral sermon (Leichenpredigt), biography, Reformation, electors of the Palatinate, Louis V, Adam Bartlme (Bartolomäus), Frederick II, Hieronymus Rauscher, Otto Henry, Bartholomeus Wolffhart, Frederick III, Johannes Schechsius, Daniel Tossanus


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