Keeping the faith : Devotional images and text in the service of Catholic confessionalization and piety in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century Münster
This thesis explores the relationship between image and text in four devotional books printed in Münster Germany between 1589 and 1660, and shows how this relationship supported the Catholic confessionalization programs of the three prince-bishops of those years. These confessionalization strategies, though varied, all emphasized the reinforcement of religious conformity leading to the consolidation of the authority of the ecclesiastical and secular leadership of the prince-bishop. The success of the confessionalization strategies of the three prince-bishops through this medium were the result of three contributing factors. The first of these was the printer of the works, the Raesfeldt printing house, which held a printing monopoly from all three of the prince-bishops. The second factor was the Jesuits who were responsible for education and indoctrination in Münster and shaped a significant portion of this literature. The last contributing factor was the readers, a group with a relatively wide spectrum of abilities in literacy who bought, read, and exchanged the books. Among the readers were a significant number of women readers who took up the confessional message of these books, wound it into their devotional lives, and strove to perpetuate Catholic piety within their homes. Although conventional wisdom suggests that images played a minor role in such programs, images were crucial elements in the communication of Catholic orthodoxy. This thesis shows how images were an equal partner in the conveyance of a nuanced Catholic confessional message in which the text directed a specific Catholic viewing and reading experience. The majority of the images do not carry an intrinsic Catholic message but rather present a traditional visual vocabulary that established an unbroken lineage between the Catholic Church and the pre-Reformation Church. These images provided the standard recurring theme around which the confessionalization message of the text was fashioned. As a distinctly regional literature, these devotional works reveal a localized Catholic response to Protestant polemic. They give valuable insight into the influence of confessionalization programs on regional devotional practices. The lasting effects of these confessionalization programs are still visible in Münster’s Catholic character today.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeKlaassen, Frank; Holmlund, Mona; Deutscher, Tom; Hayden, Michael
Copyright DateApril 2014
Catholic devotional books
Catholic devotional images
Ernst von Bayern
Ferdinand von Bayern
Christoph Bernhard von Galen
Marian pilgrimage to Telgte
Catholic polemic images
late sixteenth century Münster
early seventeenth century Münster
Raesfeldt printing house
Jesuit's in Münster
Catechismus Und Betboeklin
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