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HomeClergies in Contact during the Age of Confessional Division (16th-17th century)

Clergies in Contact during the Age of Confessional Division (16th-17th century)

Clergés en contact à l’ère des divisions confessionnelles (XVIe-XVIIe siècle)

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Published on Thursday, October 24, 2013


This interdisciplinary symposium (history, literature, anthropology, theology, etc.), which forms a part of the "men and women of God" – project of the CRULH-team "History of religious facts", seeks to foster communication and promote collaboration between scholars of Roman Catholicism and of Protestantism in an effort to surmount their all too frequent isolation in academia.



The sixteenth-century confessional divide that shook western Christendom would have a lasting effect in revolutionizing the place of the Catholic and Protestant clergies within their respective contexts as well as their grip on the believers who were entrusted to their care, creating new and complex relationships. The ‘universal priesthood’ (or ‘priesthood of all believers’), which originated as a Lutheran principle and spread from there to the Reformations of the Swiss territories, was largely undermined by the institution of a Protestant clergy class, although it still created a breach that can be traced throughout the era of confessional polemics and that still represents a fundamental difference continuing to separate the two camps today. The competition between the various confessions that occurred in cities and at other meeting points frequently touched upon the very legitimacy of the respective clergies, leading to displays of anticlericalism on both sides of the Catholic and Protestant divide. Nevertheless, there is also evidence for reciprocal influence and convergence in places where these competing confessions coexisted. As such, border areas in particular can function as case studies par excellence for improving our understanding of these phenomena within a comparative perspective as evidenced in the work of such German historians as Luise Schorn-Schütte, who have shown the value of analysing these reciprocal influences between the clergies that extended as far as the interpretation and understanding of their pastoral ministry.

Using a broad definition of ‘borders’ (as confessional or geopolitical) and ‘contact’, this symposium encourages the submission of proposals from a wide variety of angles, including the formation of clergies, their organization and activities, the opposition they had to face, their interaction, their points of commonality, and the entire range of social practices in which their members engaged. As the influence between the different clergies could pass along any number of channels, we are interested in papers that focus on various practices ranging from sermons, debates, controversies, and the social customs of the erudite, to the programs of educational institutions, correspondences, and political or ecclesiastical theories. Paper proposals may relate to any European place or territory that experienced this confessional divide and saw the coexistence of differing religious communities, so as to cultivate a more precise definition of the times (e.g. the need to differentiate was no doubt stronger when the Reformation first broke out than it was later on, when reciprocal influence became more clearly visible) and places where this phenomenon could be witnessed more clearly.

Submission guidelines

Paper proposals (1500-2000 characters) should be sent

before March 2014

by email to Julien Léonard :


These will be forwarded to the scientific committee for evaluation.

The conference will be held on October 17 & 18, 2014 in Nancy.

Scientific Committee

Laurent Jalabert, Frédéric Meyer and Stefano Simiz (Université de Lorraine), Yves Krumenacker (Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3), Joseph Bergin (Manchester), Anne Bonzon (Paris 8).


  • Université de Nancy 2 - Campus des Lettres et Sciences Humaines
    Nancy, France (54)


  • Saturday, March 01, 2014


  • clergés, influences, divisions confessionnelles, catholicisme, protestantisme.


  • Julien Léonard
    courriel : julien [dot] leonard [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr

Information source

  • Julien Léonard
    courriel : julien [dot] leonard [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Clergies in Contact during the Age of Confessional Division (16th-17th century) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, October 24, 2013, https://calenda.org/262517

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