chapter  15
8 Pages

Parish Churches in the Early Modern World: An Afterword

ByBeat Kümin

The first feature likely to strike readers of this collection is its confessional, social and regional range. They will find essays about Anglican, Calvinist, Catholic, Lutheran, Unitarian and Zwinglian contexts; discussions of nobles, burghers, country people and slaves; and contributions focusing on northwestern / central / eastern Europe, southern parts of Asia and the Americas. The arguments are supported with over a hundred illustrations and the volume as a whole is fittingly dedicated to a scholar who would have loved to engage with new works at the intersection of religious, political and cultural history over the course of the ‘long’ Reformation.1 A second impressive aspect is the editorial achievement, not only in assembling this international group of authors, but also of making the field of comparative parish church studies very much his own over the last decade. Alongside anthologies on sacred space, a monograph on Calvinist places of worship and a collaborative research project on ‘The Early Modern Parish Church and the Religious Landscape’, he took charge of a collection on Lutheran churches before widening the horizon to Catholicism and colonial perspectives in this latest venture.2 His initiatives form part of a general surge in parish studies (in the broadest sense of the term) reflected in numerous conferences and regional / national / thematic surveys, but as yet no European-wide (not to

1 Following doctoral research on the German Palatinate, Trevor Johnson’s interests expanded in similar directions, see e.g. ‘Gardening for God: Carmelite Deserts and the Sacralisation of Natural Space in Counter-Reformation Spain’, in W. Coster and A. Spicer (eds), Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 193-210.