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Journal > Volumes > 40 (2009) / 3 (Autumn)
Protestants as Agents of the Counter-Reformation in the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg
Richard Ninness
Touro College, New York City

In the prince-bishopric of Bamberg during the Counter-Reformation, Protestant officials were often called upon to convert their coreligionists to Catholicism. These officials were from noble familes who had traditionally filled those offices. The prince-bishop and the canons of the cathedral chapter who appointed officials were also from these same noble families and continued during the Counter-Reformation to appoint their own Protestant relatives to office. The paradox of Protestant officials’ acting as agents of the Counter-Reformation, without themselves converting, can only be resolved by understanding how the nobility dominated Bamberg, their place within the Holy Roman Empire, and their outlook on confession. Because confession was only one of several bases of power and identity for the nobility, members of the competing confessions, far from being inevitably in conflict, could cooperate in enforcing a uniform confession on commoners as a means of preserving the traditional powers and privileges of their estate.

Pages: 699 - 720