Professor Bridget Heal of the School of History will give her Inaugural Lecture on Faith and Survival: Writing a Religious History of the Thirty Years War.
The Thirty Years War (1618 to 1648) was Germany's first 'Great War'. Europe had experienced nothing like it before and would experience nothing like it again until the twentieth century. It brought with it a population loss of up to two thirds in parts of the Holy Roman Empire and an unprecedented level of economic disruption and material destruction.
The war was primarily about governance, politics, and the balance of power within Europe. But religious divisions also played their part. Indeed, the Thirty Years War has been seen as Europe's last 'religious war', as the final and bloodiest of the conflicts precipitated by the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century.
Bridget's lecture will argue that during this Great War religion played a key role not only in fomenting conflict but also in facilitating survival. Focussing on one Lutheran pastor and his congregation, it will be structured in three parts: the first will consider the disruption of everyday life during the war; the second will focus on resilience, analysing the beliefs and practices that helped individuals and communities to endure prolonged crisis; the third will ask what religious recovery looked like, exploring the new stability of the post-war period.
The lecture will serve as a call to augment the study of religion's role in precipitating and prolonging war with a recognition of its importance for survival and recovery.
For more information email Administrative Assistant to the Master's Office, Sandra Hughes, on [email protected].