Associate Professor at the History Department of the University of Durham
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:June‒September 2017
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»The re-invention of confession in the confessional age and beyond«
Justification by grace alone was the ground-breaking point of departure of Luther’s new theology. He arrived at it not only through scholarly speculation, but also driven by his profound anxiety over the means of salvation offered within the framework of traditional western Christianity which he increasingly considered to be insufficient and illusory. Following through with his new discovery and unpicking sacramental theology led him eventually and logically to demolishing the edifice of the old Church hierarchy, in which, through the »power of the keys«, papal authority and individual salvation were bound together through the penitential cycle, and at its heart, sacramental confession. While Lutheranism maintained confession as a means of unburdening the soul, but not as a sacrament, the Roman Church strove to maintain and strengthen both – sacramental confession and papal authority, despite (or because?) of its patent failure to define either in a clear-cut fashion at the Council of Trent. The fact that the »confessional« and the Holy See are still the most recognized and tangible symbols of Catholic confessional identity arguably speaks to the success with which both institutions were re-invented not necessarily by, but in the aftermath of the Council. While it is undeniable that the sacrament was and is used for disciplining purposes, the »Whig«-interpretation that it was the sign of Catholic moral »enslavement« no longer holds up. My project will focus on the transformation of the understanding of confession, historiographically as well as historically, and to explore how the sacrament was used flexibly across the globe as a tool to expand and consolidate Catholic reform. Based on the analysis of confession manuals and adjoined material, I hope to show that confession was not only a means of top-down disciplining, but that it was also embedded in a process of devotional learning that shaped Catholic confessional identity and through which clergy and laity constructed a sense of »self«. (Nicole Reinhardt)
Research partner:Nicole Reinhardt follows the invitation of Luise Schorn-Schütte (Professor of Modern General History with particular emphasis on the history of the early modern age).
Scholarly profile of Nicole Reinhardt Nicole Reinhardt is associate professor at the department of history at the University of Durham. She was professeur invité at the University Paris-Sorbonne and was a Elizabeth and J Richardson Dilworth Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Nicole Reinhardt is also member of the Comité de lecture for the publications of the research centre at the Palace of Versailles.
Please find more information about Nicole Reinhardt here.
Main areas of research:Interaction of religion and politics; norms, ethics and institutions in Europe during the early modern time
- Voices of Conscience.Royal Confesors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
- »How individual was conscience in the early modern period? Observation on the development of Catholic moral theology«, in: Religion 45, no. 4, 2015, 409–28.
- »Das königliche Gewissen im Prisma jansenistischer Kritik«, in: D. Burkard und T. Thanner (eds.), Der Jansenismus– eine ‘katholische Häresie‘? Das Ringen um Gnade, Rechtfertigung und die Autorität Augustins in der Neuzeit, Münster: Aschendorff,2013, 349–73.
- »Der Beichtvater in der Frühen Neuzeit als Berater, Richter und Prophet«, in: B. Oberndorfer und P. Waldmann (eds.), Machtfaktor Religion. Formen religiöser Einflussnahme auf Politik und Gesellschaft, Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau Verlag 2012, 59–90.
- (ed., with A. Pecar and M. Völkel), Fürst und Land. Das illustrierte Buch in den Beständen der Universitätsbibliothek Rostock, Rostock: Universität Rostock, 2002.
- Macht und Ohnmacht der Verflechtung. Rom und Bologna unter Paul V. Studien zur frühneuzeitlichen Mikropolitik im Kirchenstaat, Tübingen: Bibliotheca Academica Verlag, 2000.