This article seeks to contribute to the scholarly literature on confessionalization by showing how private confession served as an important marker of official confessional identity in the German Reformation. The discussion focuses on Nördlingen, a Swabian imperial city that has received very little attention from English-speaking Reformation scholars. The article begins with a discussion of the efforts of Kaspar Loner, the city’s senior pastor, to implement private confession in Nördlingen, part of his larger effort to “Lutheranize” the imperial city. The analysis then turns to examine the Nördlingen city council’s opposition to Loner’s intended reforms. Finally, the article examines the unexpected series of events that led to the formal adoption of private confession in Nördlingen, and it concludes with a discussion of how this decision both influenced and reflected the confessional stance of the city’s lay and clerical leaders.
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