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  • Die doppelte Konfessionalisierung in Irland: Konflikt und Koexistenz im 16. Jahrhundert und in der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts
  • David Lederer
Die doppelte Konfessionalisierung in Irland: Konflikt und Koexistenz im 16. Jahrhundert und in der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhunderts. By Ute Lotz-Heumann. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 2000. Pp. xi, 510. DM 198,00.)

Traditionally, historiography represented early modern Ireland in two ways. The "faith and fatherland" tradition viewed the island as an essential historical category, unfathomable in terms of the Renaissance and Reformation. A "unionist tradition" located Ireland in three kingdoms of the British Isles. Both traditions relegated early modern Ireland to insular status, beyond the Pale of European affairs. Lotz-Heumann's study is a concerted effort to integrate Ireland into the mainstream of European historiography.

Her chosen method, the confessionalization paradigm, draws upon a German tradition. In the works of Ernst Walter Zeeden on confessionalism and Gerhard Oestreich on social disciplining, a Weberian model was employed to emphasize social change over theological polemics. Both authors paralleled the religious upheaval of the Reformation with processes of state-building partaken of equally by all confessions. Wolfgang Reinhard and Heinz Schilling subsequently molded their ideas into a comprehensive research program integrating cultural, political, and religious life as constituent elements of modernization. Lotz-Heumann's dissertation (supervised by Schilling) is a direct product of this German tradition.

Her book consists of three parts, addressing theory, periodization, and social engineering. Lotz-Heumann cogently identifies subtle interpretive shifts in Irish historiography since the 1930's. The Canny-Bradshaw debate of the 1970's ushered in two revisionist orthodoxies, a colonialist interpretation and the new British history. Lotz-Heumann recognizes theoretical limitations inherent in revisionism: A positivist over-reliance on political narrative disconnected from cultural and social movements; partisan ecclesiastical history ignoring mutual exchanges and parallel developments between early modern churches; an inspired belief in an Irish Sonderweg, hindering comparative analysis; and arbitrary periodization. Confessionalization is proffered as a conceptual solution.

Part two reconsiders periodization from 1534 to 1641 (Supremacy to Cromwell) in a comprehensive synthesis of secondary literature. Confessionalization is broken into five phases, reflecting reactions to crown policies. In this sense, confessionalization designates social processes, not a cuius regio eius religiooutcome. Lotz-Heumann adjudicates on religion and rebellion (e.g., the O'Neills, [End Page 549] Desmond, and Baltinglass), on recusancy and plantations, and on church papistry and conformism. The advent of a Second (Calvinist) Reformation assured that the unresolved "double" confessionalization of Ireland led to the perpetuation of social conflict under religious aegis fully comprehensible within a comparative European framework.

Part three focuses on social disciplining. The peculiarities of the Irish case enable her to confront criticisms of confessionalization as top-heavy. Protestant confessionalization from above contrasted with Catholic confessionalization from below. Both Reformations "succeeded," contributing to social disintegration and the failure of a unified state. Lotz-Heumann surveys confessional literature (e.g., the histories of Stanihearst, Campion, and Spenser), social networking through an analysis of marriage patterns and coterminous educational developments (i.e., the foundation of Trinity College and the Irish College in Salamanca in 1592). In the final analysis, a lack of prior political integration prevented England from successfully homogenizing confessional identity in Ireland, as it had successfully done in Wales.

This is a laudable re-examination of early modern Ireland from a fresh perspective. Although I am not convinced that the hegemony of a German model is necessarily preferable to an essentialist or a British one, this book pluralizes debate and will advance it. Its reception is currently hindered by its price, continued misunderstanding about the confessionalization paradigm in Anglo-Irish historiography, and, most of all, its appearance in German. The final matter can and should be dealt with. Lotz-Heumann's book deserves full translation for a wider public, among whom it would undoubtedly generate enthusiastic discussion. Were one to offer a suggestion, the bibliography should be revised. At present, it is subdivided by subject. However, the citations are abbreviated, offering no clue as to which subsection contains the full reference. Despite that minor critique, it represents a major theoretical challenge that must be dealt with squarely in any future study...


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