„Vohr das arme wendische PawersVolck gut rein Evangelisch predigen“. Geistlichkeit und ländliche Gesellschaft in der frühneuzeitlichen Oberlausitz
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For some time German historical research has, not without reason, identified the Protestant parsonage as a German „Realm of Memory“ („Erinnerungsort“). However, the comparably high level of territorial and regional fragmentation of the Early Modern Protestant Church in Germany has rarely been considered in this context so far. In this study, I aim to sketch the social contours of the Sorbian (Slavic) Protestant clergy in Early Modern Upper-Lusatia (eastern Saxony) with special regard to its relationship with the predominantly rural Sorbian population – thus examining its historical role in the bi-lingual and bi-denominational environment of this province. Special attention is, therefore, given to the social background of the Sorbian priests, their economic status, their collective self-consciousness as well as their work on the Sorbian language. In the past decades, this issue triggered some controversial discussions among regional historians, despite a striking lack of basic research on the topic. The appraisal of the Sorbian protestant clergy fluctuated especially in the second half of the 20th century between „Sorbian national elite“ and „henchmen of targeted cultural Germanisation of the Sorbian populace“. A diachronic, collective biographical analysis shows, however, that the relationship between Sorbian protestant priests and the local rural population was – in social, economic and cultural matters – much more ambivalent, also much less „national“, than these two most polarised positions seem to suggest.
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