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The Catholic Historical Review 87.2 (2001) 329-330

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Book Review

Bruderschaften und Liebesbünde nach Trient:
Ihr Totendienst, Zuspruch und Stellenwert im kirchlichen und gesellschaftlichen Leben am Beispiel Salzburg 1600-1950

Bruderschaften und Liebesbünde nach Trient: Ihr Totendienst, Zuspruch und Stellenwert im kirchlichen und gesellschaftlichen Leben am Beispiel Salzburg 1600-1950. By Rupert Klieber. [Schriftenreihe des Erzbischof-Rohracher-Studienfonds, Band 4.] (New York: Peter Lang. 1999. Pp. 634. $85.95.)

Recently renewed interest in early modern confraternities has sparked such masterful studies as Nicholas Terpstra's on Renaissance Bologna. While many works focus on the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, Rupert Klieber's thorough study of Salzburg's confraternities shifts both the geographic and chronological accent by taking us north of the Alps and emphasizing the centuries after the Council of Trent.

Rupert Klieber, whose dissertation analyzed development of political Catholicism in nineteenth-century Salzburg, begins his new study by emphasizing the importance of medieval confraternities as "death societies." Klieber looked in and around Salzburg at all voluntary associations which had clear emphasis on activities surrounding death, regardless of whether they referred to themselves as "brotherhoods." In so doing, he sets the stage for an extensive local analysis that sharpens our understanding of confraternities and allows us to witness transformations throughout the early modern and modern periods.

Almost three-quarters of this book involves a meticulously detailed, individual analysis of Salzburg's confraternities. This section will be a gold mine for local researchers; Klieber identifies all printed and unprinted sources for each confraternity, and he has effectively gleaned those sources for important and interesting nuggets of information about each confraternity's foundation, operation, indulgences, responsibilities, and members. He traces the survival of [End Page 329] Salzburg's medieval confraternities, as well as the brotherhoods affiliated with religious orders and with occupation groups, and the creation of new confraternities out of private initiative or from foreign influence. Klieber rescues the book from being of interest only to Salzburg specialists and antiquarians by framing this section of the book with insightful generalizations that confirm and augment many of the findings of recent studies on early modern confraternities. While the detailed individual case studies provide excellent glimpses of regular confraternal functions such as processions, Masses, patronage (of artists and musicians), and oversight of material resources, most readers will want to focus on the final hundred pages, which carefully summarize and synthesize the findings he has listed in such detail.

The Council of Trent dealt with confraternities with passing references in only two canons from Session XXII (September 17, 1562). Among the most detailed of subsequent regulations was Clement VIII's Bull Quaecumque in 1604, which strengthened the position of the local bishop over confraternities. The Tridentine emphasis on episcopal oversight threatened the independence and lay character of confraternities. Archbishop Markus Sittikus (1612-1619) carried out extensive visitations which included the existing confraternities and obliged these to follow new guidelines. In particular, he required all confraternities to submit their statutes and apply for indulgences. Moreover, Archbishop Sittikus provided considerable resources for the construction of a new system of confraternity affairs and set his sights on co-ordinating confraternal devotion as one mechanism of Catholic Reform. The most thorough analysis of any confraternity is Klieber's study of Salzburg's Corpus Christi Brotherhood, and this reconstruction of Corpus Christi well illustrates the transformation of a medieval confraternity in the aftermath of Trent's devotional concerns. Despite the seventeenth-century changes, Klieber finds that the confraternities did not give up their fundamental activities surrounding death.

This is an important book, but it is also dense and overly detailed. Partially because of the records provided in the aftermath of the 1613/14 visitations, Klieber's analysis is strongest in the seventeenth century. Nonetheless, his long-term survey reveals interesting trends (membership rates and gender, numbers of new foundations, shifts in activities, etc.) that correlate to external political and religious events such as the Enlightenment, Napoleonic wars, nineteenth-century anticlericalism, and World Wars...


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