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The Personal Is Political: Convents In The Holy Roman Empire

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Chapter Summary

Studying monasteries and convents takes us into one of the main arenas of the reformation. The religious institutions were at the forefront of both spreading the new gospel and offering some of the most vigorous opposition to it. One of the hardships of studying the Holy Roman Empire is its infamous political "particularism". Scholars have long bemoaned the decentralized nature of the empire and lamented that the Germans did not emerge from the middle Ages with a centralized national state, as had Spain, France, or England. Reformers, including Luther, had already suggested turning the convents into schools, with the nuns as teachers and the idea gained some momentum in Nuremberg. Protestant magistrates and Catholic nuns could come to some sort of agreement, based on utility, personal association, and sympathy, that allowed for their joint survival.

Keywords: Catholic nuns; England; France; Holy Roman Empire; Martin Luther; political regimes; Protestant magistrates; reformation; religious institutions



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