Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Reformation Era

Beth Plummer's picture

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July 18, 2017 to July 21, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Early Modern History and Period Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies

The conference “Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Reformation Era,” jointly organized by the Verein für Reformationsgeschichte & The Society for Reformation Research, will be held 18-21 July 2017 at the Eckstein Haus in Nuremberg, Germany. For more information about the conference and to register, please visit

Description: The Reformation, as the communis opinio of research goes, emerged out of an internally pluralistic, medieval church that spawned a new plurality of early modern confessional churches in Europe. These developments were described in older research by negative terms such as “Schism” or “splintering,” and in more recent work using positive terms such as the “differentiation” and “diversification.” While the Reformation perhaps did not change so much the degree of religious plurality within Christianity, it certainly changed its form. Yet, religious pluralism certainly is and was not just an internal Christian issue. Christianity already was engaged in ongoing processes of exchange with, and differentiation from, other religions, especially the two other major world religions, Judaism and Islam.

The working hypothesis of this conference, jointly organized by the Verein für Reformationsgeschichte and the Society for Reformation Research to mark the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, is that the establishment of internal distinctions within Christianity in the wake of the Reformation also altered the relationships and points of reference between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The upcoming anniversary seems an auspicious moment, for both scholarly and political reasons, to undertake a closer examination of the topic of “Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the era of the Reformation.” In order to permit as inclusive and interdisciplinary a conversation as possible, researchers from diverse specializations and research interests related to this topic will be placed into direct conversation with one another. At the same time, the chronological scope of the "Age of Reformation" in Europe would be broadly conceived to include the entire sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The two central questions of the conference are: 1. How did the interactions and relationships of Christians, Jews, and Muslims change as a result of the Reformation? 2. How was the Reformation socially and discursively influenced by the religious pluralism that already existed with the presence of Judaism and Islam? These questions will be examined from a variety of different perspectives: by analyzing contemporary scholarly discourses, polemic and propaganda as well as social practices. The explorations of discursive strategies will be juxtaposed with an analysis of social integration and everyday coexistence. In this way, questions can be asked about the demarcation and transgression of boundaries, about interreligiosity and interculturalism, hybridity and appropriation processes, while at the same time considering the possibilities and limits of tolerance and religious pluralism in the early modern period.

Conference Schedule

Tuesday, July 18

17:00 Reception with Dr. Klemens Gsell, Bürgermeister Nuremberg

Wednesday, July 19

8:00-8:30 Welcome and Opening Comments

Introduction: Anselm Schubert (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Thomas Kaufmann (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Verein für Reformationsgeschichte
David Whitford (Baylor University), Society for Reformation Research

8:30-10:00 Plenary One 

 Chair: Matthias Pohlig (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
 “Die Wahrnehmung des Islams im Europa des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts. Textsorten der Turcica und ihre Druckorte im Kontext der europäisch-osmanischen Beziehungen”
Almut Höfert (Universität Zürich)
“The Renaissance Crusade: Turks and Persians at the Papal Court”
Margaret Meserve (University of Notre Dame)

10:00-10:30 Coffee Break

10:30-12:00 Session One

1A: Europeans in the Ottoman World
 Chair: Otfried Czaika (Norwegian School of Theology)
“Anglo-Sephardic Relations in Constantinople, 1585 to 1597”
Daniel J. Bamford (Independent Scholar)
“The Protestant Reformation and the Confrontation Between Faiths: The Ottoman Empire as a Case Study (17th-18th Century)”
Felicita Tramontana (University of Warwick)
“Intra-Islamic Challenges as an Eurasian Phenomenon?”
Christiane Czygan (Bundeswehruniversität München)
1B: Comparison of Confessional Groups
 Chair: Christoph Strohm (Universität Heidelberg)
“Wie die Heiden—wie die Papisten. Religiöse Polemik und Vergleiche vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Konfessionalisierung” (Part I)
 Sita Steckel (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
“Wie die Heiden—wie die Papisten. Religiöse Polemik und Vergleiche vom Spätmittelalter bis zur Konfessionalisierung” (Part II)
Christina Brauner (Universität Bielefeld)
“,Die newe Judaszunfft’ und ‚die lutherischen Machometisten’ – Synonymisierung der Evangelischen mit Juden und Muslimen in jesuitischen Predigten und Schauspielen des 16./17. Jahrhunderts als Modus eines konfessionellen Sündenbockmechanismus”
Joachim Werz (Universität Tübingen)
1C: Creating Separation 
 Chair: Amy Nelson Burnett (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
“Whose ‘Holy Land’? The Contested Representation of Israel/ Palestine in Early Modern Cosmographies and Regional Maps”
 Jeffrey Jaynes (Methodist Theological School in Ohio)
“Cum nimis absurdum: Jews and the Urbanism of Oppression in Early Modern Europe”
 Matthew Knox Averett (Creighton University)
“Perception of the Lost Tribes and the Reformation of the World (16th-17th centuries)”
 José Alberto R. Silva Tavim (Centro de História, Universidade de Lisboa)

12:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Session Two

2A: Living with Religious Minorities
 Chair: Markus Wriedt (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)
 “Jews and Lutherans: Two Successful Religious Minorities in Early Modern Amsterdam”
 Sabine Hiebsch (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
“Christliche Obrigkeiten, christliche Bevölkerungen und die jüdische Minderheit in der Reichsstadt Nürnberg 1500-1670”
 Stefan Ehrenpreis (Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck)
“Judaism and Jews in Early Danish Protestantism”
 Tarald Rasmussen (University of Oslo)
2B: Discourses on Religious Diversity
Chair: Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto)
“The Confessionalization of Plague: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Early Modern Plague Discourse”
 Charles D. Gunnoe (Aquinas College)
“Skepticism, Interreligious Dialogue and Sexuality in Reformation Europe”
 Umberto Grassi (ARC Center of Excellence for the History of Emotions, University of Sydney)
“Gefahren für Seele, Geldbeutel und Gemeinwohl: Juden und Osmanen als ökonomische Drohbilder der Reformationszeit”
 Hiram Kümper (Universität Mannheim)
2C: Mutual Influences
 Chair: Brian C. Brewer (Baylor University)
“Islamic Influence in the Establishment of Reformed Protestantism in the Dutch East Indies in the Early Seventeenth Century”
 Yudha Thianto Tjondrowardojo (Trinity Christian College)
“A Productive Misunderstanding? Reassessing the History of Iberian Christian Hebraism against Confessional Frameworks, 1514-1650”
 Jesús De Prado Plumed (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
“‘Jewish’ Muslims in Reformation-Era Rhetoric”
 David M. Freidenreich (Colby College)

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-17:30 Plenary Two 
 Chair: Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer (Western Kentucky University)
“The Rabbinate and Jewish Communal Structures in Reformation Germany”
 Dean Bell (Spertus Institute​)
“Lokale Koexistenz von Juden und Christen: Alltagspraktiken und Konflikte”
Sabine Ullmann (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt)

19:00 Conference Dinner (Optional). Advance reservations required

Thursday, July 20

8:30-10:00 Plenary Three

Chair: Kaspar Von Greyerz (Universität Basel)
 “What Luther Could Have Known of Judaism”
Stephen Burnett (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
 “Christliche Kabbala. Transformationen der Religion zwischen Judentum und Christentum”
 Anselm Schubert (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

10:00-10:30 Coffee Break

10:30-12:00 Session Three

3A: Considering Other Religions
 Chair: Wolf-Friedrich Schäufele (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
“Islam through Confessional Eyes: European Orientalists in the Age of Reformation on the Sunni-­Shi’a Divide”
 Asaph Ben-Tov (Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt)
“Zwischen Altdorf und Jerusalem. Salomon Schweigger im Kontext der lutherischen Orientalistik um 1600”
 Alexander Schunka (Freie Universität Berlin)
“The Ethnographic Writing about the Jews and the Reformation”
 Yaacov Deutsch (Hebrew University, Jerusalem and David Yellin College, Jerusalem)
3B: Religious Diversity and Boundaries
 Chair: David Luebke (University of Oregon)
“The Scholarship of New Religious Movements as a Post-Christian Alternative to the Confessionalization Model of Religio-Political Change”
 Michael Driedger (Brock University)
“Experimenting with Religious Diversity: Anabaptists, Mennonites, Jews, and Muslims in the Dutch Republic, c. 1570 to c. 1630”
 Gary Waite (University of New Brunswick)
“Spatial and Sensory Catechisms: Raising and Violating Boundaries between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Reformation Italy”
 Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto)
3C: The Other in Sermons 
 Chair: Charles D. Gunnoe (Aquinas College)
“The Apocalypse in Sixteenth-Century Nuremberg and Prussia: Jews and Turks in Andreas Osiander’s World”
 Andrew L. Thomas (Salem College)
“Reformation Preaching and the Destruction of the Temple: Historical Jews as Examples for Christian Audiences”
 Paul Strauss (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
“Juden und Türken in Calvins Predigten: Metapher oder aktueller Bezug?”
 Görge K. Hasselhoff (TU Dortmund/UA Barcelona)

12:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Plenary Four

 Chair: Ute Lotz-Heumann (University of Arizona)
 “The Jewish Culture War in Nuremberg: Albrecht Dürer and Devotional Anti-Judaism”
 David Price (Vanderbilt University)
 “Ottoman imaginations of Christian Reformation politico-religious schisms”
 Claire Norton (St. Mary's University​)

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:30-18:30 Afternoon Break

19:00-20:00 Public Lecture Kartäuserkirche/Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Introduction: Daniel Hess (Stellvertretender Direktor des Germanischen Nationalmuseums)
“Judenfurcht und Türkenhoffnung—Christliche Sichtweisen auf die fremden Religionen”
Thomas Kaufmann (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Friday, July 21

8:00-9:30 Plenary Five

 Chair: Kathryn Edwards (University of South Carolina)
 “Embodiment and Religion: ‘Turks’ within the Holy Roman Empire”
 Carina Johnson (Pitzer College)
 “Interaction between Islamic and Canon Law: Testimony of Ottoman Appointment Documents for Orthodox Patriarchs”
 Hasan Çolak (Universiteit Leiden)

9:30-10:15 Coffee Break

10:15-12:00 Plenary Six

 Chair: Irene Dingel (Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte)
 “Jüdisch-christliche Endzeiterwartungen im Zeitalter der Reformation”
 Rebekka Voss (Goethe University Frankfurt)
 “The Road to Armageddon: Islam and Eschatology in Luther and the Lutheran Tradition to 1700”
 Gregory Miller (Malone University)

12:00-1:00 Concluding Remarks

Thomas Kaufmann
David Whitford
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