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Reviewed by:
  • Orden und Klöster im Zeitalter von Reformation und katholischer Reform 1500-1700
  • Dennis D. Martin
Orden und Klöster im Zeitalter von Reformation und katholischer Reform 1500-1700, Band 2. Edited by Friedhelm Jürgensmeier and Regina Elisabeth Schwerdtfeger. [Katholisches Leben und Kirchenreform im Zeitalter der Glaubensspaltung, 66.] (Münster:Aschendorff Verlag. 2006. Pp. 232. €22.80 paperback.)

This second volume in a projected three-volume reference work on Catholic religious orders during the era of the Protestant and Catholic reformations follows the pattern of volume 1, which was reviewed in The Catholic Historical Review, 92 (July, 2006), 315–17.The set of disparate religious orders covered in volume 2 comprises Dominican friars (presumably Dominican nuns will be covered in volume 3), Augustinian Hermit friars and nuns, Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite friars, Poor Clares, "Scottish" [Irish] Benedictines in Germany, Carthusians, [Belgian] Holy Cross canons (Crosiers), Jesuits, and the Jesuit-modeled women's order, the Congregatio Jesu, founded by Mary Ward. Some entries are by members of religious orders: Karl Suso Frank, O.F.M., † wrote the entry for the Poor Clares; Ursula Dirmeier, C.J., wrote on her own order, the Congregatio Jesu; Michael Klaus Wernicke, O.S.A., wrote on his O.E.S.A. confrères and consoeurs. The remaining authors—Helmut Flachenecker, Michael Müller, Nicole Priesching, Klaus-Bernward Springer, James Hogg,and the volume's two editors—are university-related scholars from Mainz,Erfurt,Würzburg,and Salzburg. Noteworthy is the "insider"portrait of the Augustinian Eremites, which avoids the Oberman school's focus on highly visible Augustinian hermit controversialists in favor of a well-rounded survey of the order as a whole in the context of other religious orders of the era.

Because the book is devoted to Germanic regions (including the Flemish Netherlands), it offers a perspective on, e.g., the Discalced Carmelites, Dominicans, or Jesuits, differing from that found in standard accounts of early modern Catholicism. Klaus-Bernward Springer can conclude his chapter on the Dominicans (reviewer's translation): "While the Dominican Order in the rest of the world continued to be counted among the intellectual elite of the Catholic Church, the Reformation narrowed and fenced in the intellectual impetus of the German Preaching Friars. They still included solid pastors and theologians but none of international or even national significance."The Irish Benedictines—numbering only five houses—offer a very different picture from that of all the other orders in this volume,having been almost completely superseded in their monasteries by reforming German Benedictines during the century leading up to the Protestant Reformation.

The religious orders covered here range from the modest—in numbers and self-presentation—Crosiers,who produced "not a single personality significant beyond their own order" yet who illustrate well the impact of the Tridentine reforms as their focus shifted toward increased parish pastoral work, to the wide stream of Jesuits, who were not merely affected by but helped to shape the Catholicism of the era. In this manner Orden und Klöster offers the reader a valuable overview of the entire Catholic Reformation period. [End Page 360]

As in the first volume,the maps and lists of dissolved, reestablished, and surviving houses for each order permit a differentiated sense of the ebb and flow; for instance, the Poor Clares suffered sizable losses in the upper Rhineland but survived better in central and northern Germany. With its bibliographies and sketches of spirituality as well as scholarly and cultural contributions of each order, the volume offers truly a valuable reference resource. [End Page 361]

Dennis D. Martin
Loyola University Chicago
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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 360-361
Launched on MUSE
2008-05-30
Open Access
No
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